Tuesday 21 November 2017

Ireland Ratings

Geordan Murphy 7

Unlucky to be summarily supplanted, after a small delay, as incumbent full-back following injury to Gordon D'Arcy. Apart from a skewed kick from a mark, had been solidity personified.

Tommy Bowe 7

Counter-attacked superbly on a day of limited opportunities and was occasionally available for some trademark searing runs from out to in. Supremely confident in every aspect of his game.

Brian O'Driscoll 7

Confided afterwards that the day was more emotional than even he expected so, characteristically, ceded the spotlight to others, struggled at the breakdown with new interpretations. Thunderous hit on Jamie Roberts late on.

Gordon D'Arcy 5

Having collided with the head of Lions colleague Roberts, D'Arcy was then unlucky enough to stymie his afternoon and potentially scupper his Six Nations Championship prematurely.

Keith Earls 8

The Moyross magician has sealed his place at the top table of European rugby in the past fortnight. Astonishing foot trap and gather from O'Driscoll's poor pass gilded a day of quality finishing.

Jonathan Sexton 7

Another capricious day with the boot and after Twickenham surely a matter of urgency for kicking coach Mark Tainton. Thankfully, general attacking and defensive display was unaffected.

Tomas O'Leary 9

After confessing that he feared the drop after Ireland's calamity in Paris, O'Leary has responded with gritty determination in the last two encounters; his pace and strength were a devastating combination.

Cian Healy 7

With every cap, the Clontarf giant is looking more at home in an Ireland jersey and delivered when it was needed in the scrum, contributing to Ireland's eight-man push in a decisive 49th-minute turnover.

Rory Best 7

His heft was a boon to the dominant forward effort and he was responsible for an astonishing turnover six minutes from the end which effectively destroyed any vain hopes of a Welsh comeback.

John Hayes 7

Looked to be in danger in the early throes, but when one big moment was needed, he delivered. Thought he had missed his chance when hitting the mark but when that 49th-minute scrum re-set, he repeated the trick.

Donncha O'Callaghan 7

It was O'Callaghan's imperious work from touch which ensured Ireland had a pliable platform from which to attack throughout and, in particular, for the perfectly executed second and third Irish scores.

Paul O'Connell 8

Dominant on Irish ball yet again, O'Connell effected a few significant carries and was boisterous in the collision areas. Wonderful off-load for O'Leary's try belied occasionally poor handling this championship.

Stephen Ferris 7

Another awesome display from a player you feel must remain fit this summer if Ireland are to have any chance of knocking over a southern hemisphere side. Footwork outstanding. Great decoy for final try.

David Wallace 8

After a relatively subdued campaign by his exalted standards, Wallace was on fire in Croke Park, kicking off a raucous day's physicality with a barnstorming, side-stepping run through the depleted Welsh cover.

Jamie Heaslip 7

Simply oozes class, experience and frightening physical menace. Astonishing try-defying tackle on Roberts in the first-half which rescued the only truly perilous defensive situation for his side.

Rob Kearney 7: (for D'Arcy, 23). Came into the fray for the unfortunate D'Arcy and, given his international form at full-back and subsequent injury, was offered immediate redemption by playing out the majority of the game at full-back.

Sean Cronin: (for Rory Best 79). Not on long enough to be rated.

Tony Buckley: (for John Hayes 74). Not on long enough to be rated.

Leo Cullen: (for Paul O'Connell 79). Not on long enough to be rated.

Shane Jennings: (for Stephen Ferris, 79). Not on long enough to be rated.

Eoin Reddan: (for Tomas O'Leary, 79). Not on long enough to be rated.

Ronan O'Gara: (for Keith Earls ,78). Not on long enough to be rated.

Declan Kidney 7

Another calm day at the coalface, but was probably panicking underneath given a week of refereeing distractions. Forced his team to needlessly shred its back-line structure after the loss of one player resulted in three positional changes.

Irish Independent

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