Tuesday 28 March 2017

Ireland Ratings

David Kelly

David Kelly

Geordan Murphy 5

Despite being tossed aside like a rag doll by John Beattie, the Leicester man must remain the first choice for Ireland because he is better equipped to understand the type of attacking game Ireland need to develop.

Tommy Bowe 7

Exempt from much of the criticism on the day, his intervention sparked the mini-revival of fortunes in the second half and in the early throes hit the line at some dazzling angles with lightning pace. Chased superbly.

Brian O'Driscoll 6

With his partner misfiring, O'Driscoll had a heavy burden to carry but still managed to snaffle a try in what has been an average campaign by his standards. Will be central to Ireland's re-evaluated gameplan.

Gordon D'Arcy 3

Patently unfit, although there was more than the coach involved in his selection. There was a bullseye on his jersey which the limited bruiser Graeme Morrison gleefully charged at all day long.

Keith Earls 6

Not his fault that he became entangled in the mazy helter skelter stuff early on; it's what he thrives upon and nobody would have expected such a young head to demand a better structure on the game.

Jonathan Sexton 5

Showed his class, after the disgraceful treatment meted out to him by the management, by insisting that Dan Parks keep his Scottish jersey afterwards. His kicking is undermining his general play.

Tomas O'Leary 5

Was inevitably going to struggle on a day when his pack was getting beaten up at set-piece time and his side struggled to secure ball in open play. Yet after two world-class performances, this was a poor effort.

Cian Healy 6

Former internationals couldn't agree whether Healy had a nightmare against Euan Murray or held his own; a straw poll revealed that he started terribly but gradually got better.

Rory Best 3

By our count, only three line-outs were his fault. Still, that is his job. Was being bored in he scrum too, and his confidence deteriorated, not helped by knowing that there was no adequate replacement on the bench.

John Hayes 3

At least Hayes was replaced earlier in Twickenham to preserve his dignity. No such grace was afforded the fading legend here. Even his line-out lifting was not as quick or as powerful as it needed to be.

Donncha O'Callaghan 7

Arguably did the work of two or three men all day, even if he gave away his usual three points. Overshadowed the Lions captain, which speaks volumes. His strength lasted right until the end.

Paul O'Connell 4

As he admitted, his line-out calls fanned the flames of the depleted set-piece. He continued his depressing sequence of handling errors, and wasn't able to carry forcefully. A huge dip for last year's Lions captain.

Stephen Ferris 5

Guilty of succumbing to the hype surrounding his and Ireland's progress. Missed two tackles one would normally expect him to make in his carpet slippers. Consistency at this level an issue.

David Wallace 7

Immense performance, but at 33, Wallace is closer to representing the past than the future, with the next World Cup in mind. That he lasted so long indicated how singular his performance was in the back-row.

Jamie Heaslip 4

Difficult to achieve much behind that scrum but Heaslip was notably absent from the game's big plays and didn't at any stage threaten to really impose his personality on the match.

Replacements

Rob Kearney 4

Again stood in for Murphy but this time it wasn't tactical and his impact was minimal. Conceded two penalties, including the ridiculous attempt at bravado towards the end.

Ronan O'Gara 5

Would have been delighted to nail that difficult conversion and maintain the only 100pc kicking record in the championship. Some will argue he could never replicate Sexton's work for try opener.

The rest 4

The bench deserve some element of rating given they did not receive much of an endorsement from their coach, who said that all had trained well and had pushed for selection. Then the majority are benched. Confusing.

Declan Kidney 4

Was visibly shocked in the aftermath. Made selection errors, displayed tactical naivety and the manner of his response to this setback will define whether 2009 was the end or the beginning of this squad.

Irish Independent

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