How they rated
Published 06/02/2011 | 08:12
LUKE FITZGERALD 6/10: Good selection by Kidney. Some shaky moments, but there's no substitute for class. Tested by the Italians, but creative and threatening throughout. Has a real future at full-back.
DAVID WALLACE 6.5/10
Circumstances demanded 80 minutes from the veteran. Still has it in the legs to be an effective ball-carrier and revels in the physical stuff. Remains a key player.
FERGUS MCFADDEN 6/10
Another worthy selection, McFadden does the basics right and rarely seems to put a foot wrong; lack of opportunity from mishandling inside him. Another with a bright future.
DENIS LEAMY 5/10
What you see is what you get with Leamy, huge aggression, a tackling machine, and tireless work-rate; indiscipline remains a problem. Will struggle for selection with a full complement of fit back-rowers.
BRIAN O'DRISCOLL 6.5/10
First-half try was typical of him, but must take some responsibility for collective mind-set; needs to assert his captaincy, particularly in context of Kidney's conservatism around substitutions
PAUL O'CONNELL 7/10
Not quite the Paulie of old, but still a very strong performance by the pack leader. A towering presence at line-out, he was effective around the park before the legs, understandably, started to go late on.
GORDON D'ARCY 4.5/10
Not quite business as usual yesterday, to put it at it's most charitable — uncharacteristically high error-count. Difficult to put a finger on cause, but form is only temporary; still a vital cog in machine.
DONNCHA O'CALLAGHAN 6.5/10
Somewhat lucky, in my opinion, to have been selected and although still not at his best, significantly improved on recent form. Very solid and well-disciplined effort.
KEITH EARLS 6/10
Yet to really make a lasting impression on the international scene but can be happy with his shift. Selected in his best position, as with McFadden on other wing, handling errors inside ensured game didn't run for him.
MIKE ROSS 5/10
Struggled against a tough Italian scrum, and was never comfortable; this particular version of Rome won't be built in a day, a week, or even a month. Very much a work in progress, completion deadline World Cup 2011.
JONATHAN SEXTON. 6.5/10
Comfortably in command without really asserting himself, apart from some high-impact tackling; probably would have preferred Reddan's service. We're blessed to have two pivots of the quality of he and O'Gara.
RORY BEST 6/10
Yet another return from injury by Best, providing much-needed experience at this level for his rookie front- row colleagues. As usual, darts and scrum were solid, and relished the hard grind around the pitch.
TOMAS O'LEARY 5.5/10
Selected, presumably, for his physicality around the fringes and was not found wanting. Serios questions still linger around his service. His position will be under the microscope for next week.
CIAN HEALY 5/10
Struggled, as everyone does, against the immense Castrogiovanni. Several hairy moments there , but reasonably prominent around the park, without shaking off collective malaise.
SEAN O'BRIEN 7/10
His match-up with Parisse was captivating and it was another all action display from the Tullowman. Definitely the form back row in the northern hemisphere at the moment, could be a star of the tournament.
DECLAN KIDNEY 5/10
A mixed bag, in terms of selection, compounded by innate conservatism in use of bench, and an apparently unadaptable gameplan. Badly needs a 'special' next week against the French.