Ireland Player Ratings
Luke Fitzgerald 6
Should have been the perfect occasion to copper-fasten credentials as the first-choice full-back for next week, especially given that Rob Kearney's injury could rule him out. Not the day to announce his intentions.
Tommy Bowe 5
First touched the ball in a meaningful way in the 49th minute and it was difficult to remember if he had a second touch -- whether meaningful or meaningless. An appalling waste of attacking talent.
Brian O'Driscoll 4
The great man's obituary was prematurely written two years ago, even though he did concede that physical and psychological issues had burdened him in 2008. Two years later, can he bounce back again?
Paddy Wallace 5
Got ram-raided for the first try when he neglected to defend his own channel, arguably too selflessly. But that has been Wallace's problem in trying to nail down a starting berth in this team. Not ruthless enough.
Andrew Trimble 5
Another player not helped by the farrago in front of him. Trimble forced himself to try too many unlikely scenarios too often, which is a clear sign of a player striving to make a loud impression. Ronan O'Gara
Ronan O'Gara 6
Had two kicks unnecessarily blocked down and dropped a dolly in goal, but O'Gara probably did enough to confirm to Kidney, if not the rest of us, that he could start next week. Earns point for post-match candour. Peter Stringer
Peter Stringer 6
Delivery was as snappy as expected, despite laborious attempts of the Irish back row and others to clear the rucks. Playing for the 55th time with old Cork mucker O'Gara, that experience showed in the winning try.
Tom Court 6
Scrum problems appreciably improved once he moved to the tight-head side around the hour mark, and his carrying and physicality was prominent in Ireland's all too occasional bullocking drives. Sean Cronin
Sean Cronin 6
A strange one, this. Rory Best had a shocker last week and remained on pitch for the entire match. Cronin performs more than adequately, despite not being trusted last week, yet is taken off in the 61st minute John Hayes
John Hayes 3
Becoming quite sad to see such a venerable institution being run into the ground like this. To preserve The Bull's legacy as an Irish legend, he simply cannot be picked against the All Blacks. Donncha O'Callaghan
Donncha O'Callaghan 4
One senses that he's beginning to owe much of his preservation to the fact that there's little meaningful competition for his position, given continued overlooking of Bob Casey. Needs a big one next week.
Devin Toner 6
Did all that could have been asked of the 100th player from the Lansdowne club to represent his country.
Line-out responsibility seemed to harden his focus and must now start next week to secure set-piece. Denis Leamy
Denis Leamy 5
Performed a solid, redoubtable role but the blind-side from the opposite side -- formerly a winger (!) for Connacht -- utterly outplayed him and probably doomed his chance of starting next week. Sean O'Brien
Sean O'Brien 5
Those close to the camp say O'Brien has become grumpier this season. Sadly, that didn't translate on to the pitch in sufficient force to oust David Wallace from the starting blocks for next weekend's tie. Jamie Heaslip
Jamie Heaslip 5
Supposedly pack leader, though it was O'Callaghan who accompanied the front-row to the various summit meetings with the referee. Yet to make a big play this autumn and Kiwis remain puzzled by his reputation.
Stephen Ferris 5
Will start next week after last-quarter loosener, but heaven forbid he chooses next Saturday to indulge in those pitiful soccer theatrics. What would his former road-building colleagues think?
Rory Best 5
Remains the only option to start at hooker next week, especially as he will help secure the scrum -- presuming the management team selects the correct front row.
Cian Healy 5
Only eagle-eyed scrum experts can delineate whether it was Healy's arrival, or Court's switch to tight-head that really improved the Irish scrum. Could be a good impact sub next week.
Donnacha Ryan, Isaac Boss
Not on long enough to rate.
Declan Kidney 4
He seems a little dumb-struck at current malaise. Claiming that he was happy that Samoa weren't in our World Cup group betrayed someone who is suffering a crisis in confidence, which must be addressed as it's filtering through to his team.
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