Thursday 8 December 2016

Ireland Player Ratings

Published 21/03/2011 | 05:00

Keith Earls 7

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Set the tone for his and Ireland's performance by darting down the left channel in the game's first attacking flourish, demonstrating the bountiful confidence sadly lacking in the previous occupant.

Tommy Bowe 7

Demonstrated once again the astounding finishing ability that he possesses and was encouraged to play infield much more, as if absorbing his team-mates' renewed sense of confidence.

Brian O'Driscoll 8

Build a platform and this man will stay playing like the world's best. The frightening thing is that aside from his attacking ardour, his defensive display retained its familiar edge.

Gordon D'Arcy 7

Will become one half of the most experienced midfield pairing ever this autumn after overcoming initial struggles in this campaign; rendered England's midfield the nonentity many suspected it was.

Andrew Trimble 7

Installed for his physicality against a formidably bulked-up English back-line, the Ulster man expressed his considerable power. Should have backed himself when set free in second half.

Jonathan Sexton 9

Confirmed that he is inordinately better when allowed to begin a game and dictate its flow; the opening five minutes, whether with quick-tap or raking touchfinder, demonstrated that.

Eoin Reddan 8

A second intercept this international campaign aside, Reddan delivered a consummate display full of energy and verve, which instilled the tempo needed in the rest of his team-mates.

Cian Healy 7

Defensively, he was awesome and doesn't deserve to be overshadowed by Ross and Best in the scrummaging stakes either. Carried occasionally but effectively. Needs work on the grubber.

Rory Best 8

Like many of his colleagues in the pack, ended the championship on a high note with a series of formidable displays, franking his berth as first-choice hooker in Jerry Flannery's absence.

Mike Ross 8

Laid down the gauntlet in the first scrum and Ireland were rarely threatened in the set-piece thereafter. Will be the rock upon which Ireland's World Cup hopes are based.

Donncha O'Callaghan 8

Responded well to diffident early displays in this campaign, the upward graph neatly concluded with his best performance on Saturday, beginning with the third-minute turnover that repelled England.

Paul O'Connell 8

On this evidence, O'Connell promises to be in peak physical condition at the World Cup and his phenomenal presence will be vital to Ireland's chances of taking a significant scalp in New Zealand.

Sean O'Brien 8

Continues to be a one-man wrecking ball and Ireland's shortened line-outs afforded him even more land and opponents upon which to trample. Hopefully, his appetite for improvement will remain voracious.

David Wallace 8

Possessed the wit to keep the ball in play when ripping and bursting clear in the first half; had he not done so, Ben Youngs would never have seen yellow. Continues to defy predictions of his demise.

Jamie Heaslip 8

Was justifiably carpeted after a few underwhelming displays but returned to his old self on Saturday and set the standard that must be attained when he seeks atonement on next visit to New Zealand.

Replacements

Ronan O'Gara 7

Arrived for his junior rival to huge applause, thumped the odd banana kick into touch, rumbled with the mouthy Chris Ashton and laughed through it all.

Tom Court 5

Replaced Ross in the 58th minute but unless Ross breaks a limb, this cannot happen again in a meaningful game because the scrums disintegrated upon Court's arrival.

Denis Leamy 6

Replaced Wallace in the 72nd minute but still needs to prove his credentials in a contest with Ireland's other back-row contenders to confirm credentials for match-day 22 against Australia in the World Cup.

Declan Kidney 8

Deflected all talk of personal pressure but the coach needed his team to deliver on Saturday and relief must be the abiding emotion that they did so. Humility will inform his quest for more consistency and fairer selection policy.

Irish Independent

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