Belfast Telegraph

Monday 22 December 2014

Rugby World Cup: Ireland player ratings v USA

Geordan Murphy
Geordan Murphy - 5
It was a quiet outing with thankfully very few bombs coming at him in such horrible conditions. Did drop one and was lucky to get away with it.
Tommy Bowe - 7
Initially just couldn’t hold the ball but hit back with two valuable finishes. Naturally stepped a prop for his first and linked well with O'Driscoll for number two.
Brian O'Driscoll - 5
We needed some magic but we got another fitful effort. Hardly error free, but he did step up defensively and provided for Bowe's second. A big worry..
Gordon D'Arcy - 4
Still looks alarmingly blunt in attack and threw a horrible intercept to ex-Ulster player Paul Emerick in the game's last play. The Wallabies will hardly be worried.
Keith Earls - 5
Nice early break but clashed heads with Shane Jennings. After that there was little though did well to take an Irish up and under in the second half.
Jonathan Sexton - 5
Needed a composed performance but it wasn’t there. The conditions didn't help and his kicking was poor. Provided for Bowe's first but was eventually subbed.
Conor Murray - 5
Showed plenty of energy but as the game wore on he lost his way and the errors just grew. Taken off with Sexton his time will come.
Tom Court - 6
Carried a bit and generally had a good day at the setpiece where Ireland, for a change, were on top. He did concede two penalties, one from a scrum.
Rory Best - 7
The lineouts went really well and there was no stopping him for his try. He will be furious that Ireland lost a scrum on US line in the frantic closing stages.
Mike Ross - 7
A totally dominant Irish scrum meant that he put in a good evening's work. He also won't be happy after Ireland lost that late scrum.
Donncha O'Callaghan - 5
Pinged for the Eagles' penalty in the tackle area, he fought back to win a lineout turnover and a penalty. Still he looks a shadow of former self.
Paul O'Connell - 8
Again the totemic figure in Ireland's forward effort and the go-to man on the team. He led by example and his huge work rate carried them through.
Stephen Ferris - 7
Along with O'Connell was central to Ireland's game. The main ball-carrier, Ferris made the hard yards and injected essential momentum when it was needed.
Shane Jennings - 3
Here by default, rarely can a player have had a more anonymous role in proceedings. Other than a clash of heads with Earls, it's hard to recall anything of note.
Jamie Heaslip - 5
A nice carry, or two, but still looking off the pace and ringrusty. He did, though, nail flying winger Ngwenwa as he looked to break free but, overall, he was too quiet.

Ireland have faced much criticism following an unconvincing win against the USA in their opening Rugby World Cup game.

>>Click More Pictures to launch gallery

Here, we rate how the team performed in New Plymouth

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