Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 27 December 2014

Six Nations: Wales v Ireland player ratings

Luke Fitzgerald
Luke Fitzgerald - 3
He made a tackle on Shane Williams and linked well with D'Arcy on a rare attack, but otherwise it looked dismal. Poor passing, dropped high kicks and a botched scoring chance all contributed to a horror show
Tommy Bowe - 5
Probably the only memorable moment of the game from an Irish perspective was when he came in on an angled run to give O'Driscoll his score. Aside from that he covered well and tried hard to get ball
Brian O'Driscoll - 6
Would obviously have taken the win rather than make his record-equalling Championship score. He tried everything to drag Ireland back into the game, but even his skill set wasn't enough to save the situation.
Gordon D'Arcy - 4
The dazzling footwork seems so distant now and instead we have a centre who busies himself in the tackle zone. It’s just not enough though to convince you that he is in a good place with this game
Keith Earls - 5
One excellent break and some decent tackles meant he had a reasonable outing. He was vainly screaming for the ball when Paddy Wallace chose to go it alone in the game’s dying seconds
Ronan O'Gara - 4
He needed to take control, but never managed it. Yes, he made all three kicks and got over the 1,000 points barrier and even made some tackles, but he was never at ease with the key components of his game
Peter Stringer - 4
Replaced Eoin Reddan, who left concussed within a minute so can't be fairly rated. Stringer promised so much with his service, but it let him down at crucial moments as did a kicking game that was somewhat wayward
Cian Healy -4
The scrums weren't too challenging and he really put himself about the place as a destructive ball carrier and tackler. Unfortunate to do a 'Sean Cronin' and knock-on in the game's frantic final moments
Rory Best - 5
Gave away a penalty, but he wasn't alone there and the lineouts went well. As the game descended into an ugly kicking fest it seemed to pass him by for considerable periods of time
Mike Ross - 4
Yes he's there to scrummage and that seemed to go relatively well. He even won a turnover, or two, but when it comes to dynamism around the park, well, it's not really there
Donncha O'Callaghan - 5
A high work rate wasn't translated into a dominant Ireland performance. Kept going, kept battling, but will be disappointed he could only supply Fitzgerald with a scoring pass that was forward
Paul O'Connell - 6
Needed to be dominant, but could only watch as things slipped away. Still, he kept trying to single-handedly rescue the situation and unfortunately knocked-on in a late attack as things began to get frantic
Sean O'Brien -5
One or two memorable charges, but the big impact that was needed just wasn't there. He gave away a couple of penalties, one of which looked very harsh. He also faded a bit as the game went on
David Wallace - 6
Prominent in nailing red jerseys and carried a fair number of times as well as winning one useful turnover off replacement prop John Yapp. Threw everything he could at it for his 70th cap
Jamie Heaslip - 4
It's hard to recall Heaslip being quite so ineffective in the past. Kicked one turnover away and never delivered. Looked almost overawed and had an unusually quiet outing
Replacements
Jonathan Sexton (for O'Gara, 46mins) - 3
A botched touch-finder that resulted in Phillips' illegal try and then a missed penalty
Denis Leamy (for Heaslip, 69 mins) - 4
At least made his physical presence felt, but was never likely to single- handedly rescue the situation
Tom Court (for Ross, 69mins) - 4
A couple of rumbles which was more than Ross managed with ball in hand
Paddy Wallace (for Fitzgerald, 72mins) - 3
Another uncomfortable Cardiff outing, he really should have given to Earls but tried to go himself and ... oh dear
Leo Cullen (for O'Callaghan, 75mins) - 4
Has never let Ireland down, but could hardly salvage too much in five minutes
Sean Cronin (for Best, 75mins) - 4
As with Cullen he couldn't make a dramatic impact

Ireland's RBS Six Nations Championship decline continued against Wales in Cardiff on Saturday.

>>Click More Pictures to launch gallery

Here, we rate how each player performed in the team's 19-13 defeat at the Millennium Stadium.

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