Monday 27 February 2017

Ireland Player Ratings

David Kelly

David Kelly

Luke Fitzgerald 6

Arrived in Rome struggling for confidence and form. Leaves it relatively rehabilitated despite the general malaise; caught a huge ball in the 70th minute but video analysis may finger him for Italian try.Fergus McFadden

Fergus McFadden 5

Waited all day for a sniff of a chance and when it arrived, the ball had an air mail postage stamp on it as O'Driscoll's pass floated over his head. Thoroughly enjoyed his performance and ran the ball back well. Brian O'Driscoll

Brian O'Driscoll 4

Chose the most beautiful day in Rome to deliver one of his ugliest performances; yet still scored the try that moved him within one of the all-time championship record. Passing off his left hand was amateurish.Gordon D'Arcy

Gordon D'Arcy 3

Fears over the old firm in the centre have grown after O'Driscoll's junior partner also had a shocker. His handling was shocking and he dipped well below his standards. Concentration must improve -- if selected. Keith Earls

Keith Earls 6

Eased around the back three like a veteran, looking threatening when running the ball back. Indecisive on occasion as he searched for bodies rather than space. Dropped a pass which if held would have produced a try. Jonny Sexton

Jonny Sexton 6

Appeared bewildered to be taken off -- this perspective altered significantly once O'Gara got the team out of jail. Still, couldn't be held accountable for the brain farts going on outside or, indeed, inside him. Tomas O'Leary

Tomas O'Leary 3

Kidney's faith in O'Leary will be sorely tested, particularly as the clamour will increase for the restoration of Peter Stringer -- bombed out of both Irish squads last week. O'Leary was not in form and that remains the case. Cian Healy

Cian Healy 5

Struggled in the scrum, demonstrating yet again that he is still a couple of years away from being able to compete consistently against the giants of the propping game. Helped force a penalty for 3-3. Rory Best

Rory Best 4

Donned unusual head garb and his performance was similarly muffled. His scrum prowess was negated and he didn't get on as much ball as normal. Safe line-out calls cushioned his throwing from pressure. Mike Ross

Mike Ross

Effectively his international debut in the big time and a baptism of fire as he enjoyed a fascinating battle with Perugini and Lo Cicero. The home side clearly edged it -- but there were encouraging signs from the Corkman. Donncha O'Callaghan

Donncha O'Callaghan 7

One man who delivered under pressure. This was one of his best displays of recent times. Two off-loads decorated a gritty display; his line-out intervention set up platform for Irish try. Leading tackler too (16). Paul O'Connell

Paul O'Connell

With his captain going missing, it was tough to burden O'Connell with the primary leadership role. In terms of match fitness, this had all the hallmarks of the final stretch before hitting full tilt. We certainly hope so. Denis Leamy

Denis Leamy 4

His supporters had hoped that Leamy had cast his disciplinary issues behind him. Sure, his yellow card was a belated issue from the ref, but Leamy's constant chatter throughout had marked him out. David Wallace

David Wallace 5

Would be unfair to excoriate Wallace but he probably should not have been picked if Ireland were seeking to expand their game; within the back-row, his role looked the most redundant of the trio. Sean O'Brien

Sean O'Brien 5

Probed well for the final act and had a barnstorming first five minutes. But otherwise found himself very isolated and was more often than not frogmarched back by eager Italians. Exposed by unbalanced back-row.

Replacements

Eoin Reddan: Arrived into the fray not a moment too soon for the bewildered O'Leary and made an immediate impact in terms of shovelling ball. Defensively crucial moment when helping stem a typical Parisse surge late on. Delivered crucial pass for the winning drop. 5

Ronan O'Gara: Cometh the hour and all that. Seems almost content in his new role as deputy, if not complacently seeing himself set in stone as an understudy. Understands his role better, yet still retains the hunger to be primus inter pares. All of which bodes well for the collective. 6

Tom Court, Paddy Wallace, Sean Cronin, Leo Cullen -- Not on long enough to be rated.

Declan Kidney 5

Must take some culpability for the disparate tactics in the first half when Sexton didn't once make a tactical kick behind the Italians. Back three and front-row selection justified, but must look at back-row balance and address scrum-half crisis.

Irish Independent

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