Thursday 14 November 2019

How they rated

Luke Fitzgerald 4/10: Has failed to develop in the full-back position; still suspect under the high ball, and was targeted in this area. Distribution also sub-standard.

Tommy Bowe 5/10

Like many of his backline colleagues largely anonymous in Murrayfield, and hoped for a big one on Welsh soil. Didn't get on the ball as much as he should have, and failed to threaten as a result.

Brian O'Driscoll 6/10

Opposite big Jamie Roberts, O'Driscoll took some punishment but stood up to it well. Only showed glimmers of his ability, apart from opening try.

Gordon D'Arcy 6/10

Form remains a difficulty -- improved but has yet to impose himself on this championship. No major errors, but his stamp of authority was still absent. In a setup where change was a factor, he'd be under pressure.

Keith Earls 5/10

Another yet to stamp himself on the championship, and this was another opportunity missed. As with others, he appeared to struggle with his footing, more than once.

Ronan O'Gara 7/10

What can you say? Broke the 1,000 point barrier in Test rugby yesterday and was remarkably called ashore after only 52 minutes. No blame can be attributed to him.Eoin Reddan, replaced by

Peter Stringer 6/10

Stringer continued his impressive form of late; scrum-half presents management with a major dilemna.

Cian Healy 5/10

Part of an Irish front-row that is improving every week and growing in confidence. The basics of his game are beginning to develop to match his talent around the pitch.

Rory Best 6/10

Took some flak after the Scotland game for the malfunctioning lineout, and unfairly so. Solid at scrum and improved in the lineout, a solid, if not spectacular, outing.

Mike Ross 5/10

Such a luxury to have a stable scrum. His fitness is of paramount importance between now and the World Cup. Improving with every game, particularly at lineout.

Donncha O'Callaghan 6/10

Has hit some form since the beginning of this championship and his grafting, as well as presence at the front of the lineout, are invaluable. Curbing tendency to concede penalties too.

Paul O'Connell 7/10

Visibly fitter with each game and had a great display around the pitch; varied the lineout well after some bad calls in Edinburgh. Back to near his best.

Sean O'Brien 7/10

A marked man by the Welsh back-row but nonetheless made some telling carries and helped get Ireland on the front foot at times. Will only get better with consistent exposure to this level of competition.

David Wallace 6/10

Against the up and coming Sam Warburton, carried and defended well -- still questions over his caoacity to last the full 80 minutes at this level.

Jamie Heaslip 6/10

Third game back from injury and difficult task against the more workman-like Ryan Jones opposite. O'Brien's emergence gives defences more to worry about, and Heaslip needs the extra space accruing as a result.

Declan Kidney 3/10

Bench-management again failing to pass muster. Amazing decision to substitute Sexton for O'Gara provided Wales with a 10-point swing, and the game. The microscope's focus is being widened.

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