Jim Glennon's player ratings
Rob Kearney 8/10: Solid as ever under high ball, and running off it; showed how much should be expected in attack, particularly without Brian O'Driscoll. More to come, hopefully starting next week.
Tommy Bowe 7/10
Defensively tested by Welsh three weeks ago and was never under similar threat here. Interesting late cameo in centre -- possible sign of things to come.
Keith Earls 7.5/10
Missed Welsh game, and needed thorough examination ahead of Paris. Good workmanlike shift against opposition of grossly inferior quality to next week.
Gordon D'Arcy 6.5/10
Senior player in team, continues to underperform when badly needed; showing his years rather than his experience. Withdrawal appeared injury-driven.
Andrew Trimble 7/10
Italian game always presents big opportunity for will o' the wisp type out wide, and last-minute try always likely; not conducive to establishing early patterns though.
Jonathan Sexton 8.5/10
Debate nailed -- in control personally, based on fundamental thesis of doing simple things well, and dictated game when colleagues eventually came on board, particularly in tandem with Reddan.
Conor Murray 6.5/10
Seems to have automatic starting role, and in this context could do more to occupy defence close-in. Relatively early (57 mins) substitution crucial to eventual outcome. May still be best starting option.
Cian Healy 7/10
Not the usual task against Italy in absence of old foe Castro, and relished the opportunity presented. Early knock put paid to that; solid workmanlike display nonetheless.
Rory Best 7.5/10
Real pillar of entire operation, on and off field; agricultural workrate in field. Occasional mistiming at lineout, while understandable in the circumstances, will be punished in Paris.
Mike Ross 7/10
Like Healy, spared the usually intense Italian examination; unlike him, offered little outside the basics. One-trick pony, second season syndrome; badly needed outing pre-Paris.
Donncha O'Callaghan 6.5/10
Playing for his international future, lucky to be given the chance, and another opportunity missed. May still be man to start in Paris though, with Ryan for impact.
Paul O'Connell 8.5/10
In outstanding form for Munster and playing captain's role to the full here too; one of his best games in green, and that's saying something. Ball-carrying was particularly eye-catching.
Stephen Ferris 7.5/10
Had score to settle with himself, and did so; high-intensity all-round performance -- could possibly find himself at number eight next week in re-balanced back-row.
Jamie Heaslip 6/10
Doesn't appear to be enjoying himself at all, and certainly not flourishing when pack struggles, as they have been doing. Comprehensively outshone by Parisse opposite. Vulnerable.
Seán O'Brien 6.5/10
Second-season syndrome appears to afflict even European Players of Year; probably suffering more than most in absence of midfield commander O'Driscoll.
Sunday Indo Sport