Thursday 8 December 2016

REPLACEMENTS

Hugh Farrelly

Published 10/10/2011 | 05:00

ROB KEARNEY

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Outshone by Leigh Halfpenny but he has had a good tournament and did well. Put away brilliantly by O'Driscoll but should not have tried a tricky off-load off the ground.

TOMMY BOWE

The winger looked very sharp once again and was one of the few Irishmen to run onto the ball at good angles. Ireland needed to get him in possession more often.

BRIAN O'DRISCOLL

A sad occasion for Ireland's great warrior who, after four tournaments, departs the World Cup stage with a sense of unfulfilment. Gave his all, as usual, with moments of class.

GORDON D'ARCY

Constantly tried to ask questions in attack and made one superb line break but overall the Welsh had his measure and he struggled to contain Wales' rampaging midfield.

KEITH EARLS

Has shown himself to be one of the tournament's most lethal finishers but his try was off-set by a costly turnover and some shaky moments in defence by the young Munster player.

RONAN O'GARA

The focus of much hindsight thinking but O'Gara was the right selection for this match, if Ireland had played the right game. Forced to run too often due to lack of options.

CONOR MURRAY

Outplayed by Phillips but that's no disgrace. Slow to the ruck on occasion but another good display in a good tournament for him. Ireland missed his defence when he was replaced.

CIAN HEALY

Adam Jones used all his experience against Healy at scrum time and the loose-head did not have his usual impact around the park -- he was driven sideways on several occasions.

RORY BEST

Fantastic performance by a player who looked as though he was out of the tournament after injuring his shoulder the week before. Ireland's best player. Future Irish captain?

MIKE ROSS

Went about his business in his customary unfussy manner and though the scrum was not a decisive area of competition, Ross was secure on Ireland's ball and disruptive on Wales'.

DONNCHA O'CALLAGHAN

Took a big hit early on and found Luke Charteris and Jonathan Davies were a handful. Critical line-out turnover but it appeared to be a timing issue with throw and lift.

PAUL O'CONNELL

Had a tremendous battle with his old Lions partner Alun-Wyn Jones and the Irish line-out was put under severe pressure. Wales identified him as a primary ball-carrier and shut him down.

STEPHEN FERRIS

His performances at this tournament have been a bonus for Ireland given his extensive injury problems but the unheralded Dan Lydiate garnered the blind-side plaudits from this contest.

SEAN O'BRIEN

Wales had done their homework on Ireland's main source of front-foot ball, while Sam Warburton ruled the breakdown. Devastated at the end but O'Brien has a long Ireland career ahead of him.

JAMIE HEASLIP

With Ferris and O'Brien man-marked out of it, Ireland should have looked to Heaslip. Had his hands full in the close-in battle and was well shepherded when he did get ball.

JONATHAN SEXTON 7

(for O'Gara 55)

Tried everything he could to change the game but the Welsh were well set.

EOIN REDDAN 6

(for Murray 55)

Made a marked effort to raise the tempo but was caught out in defence.

ANDREW TRIMBLE, DONNACHA RYAN and DENIS LEAMY

Not on long enough to rate.

DECLAN KIDNEY

Tried to save the game by changing the half-backs with half an hour left, but could not extricate the same level of performance from his players that he had managed in the pool stages.

Irish Independent

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