Ireland v Italy player ratings

Man-for-man marking from the Six Nations match at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin

Following the contest between Ireland and Italy we take a look at how the individual players performed.

Do you agree with our ratings? Leave your thoughts and comments below.

Ireland

Cian Healy: Despite being knocked out cold in the first half by an errant knee, Healy contributed to a ding dong battle in the scrum and made his usual quota of gain line breaking bursts.  6

Rory Best: Has been Ireland’s Mr Consistent since the World Cup but not today. Decent in the loose but line-out overthrow which led to the solitary Italian touch down was indicative of a patchy day at both set pieces. 5

Mike Ross: Ireland’s best front row performer was the key difference in the scrum – note when he minced Rizzo in a set piece early the second half. But the 19 stone prop  has added dynamic loose running to his armoury. An important player becoming increasingly indispensible. 7

Donncha O’Callaghan: The Munster warhorse may be coming to the end of his almost endless stint as Ireland’s first choice number four. Worked tirelessly, as ever, but will be replaced by the more youthful dynamism, and form, of Donnacha  Ryan, possibly as soon as next week. 5

Paul O’Connell: Captain O’Colossus likely went in at half-time dissatisfied with his own first period performance which, like his team’s, was patchy and ill-disciplined. So in the second half he came out and smashed the Italians, pushing them back with unstoppable running, almost scoring a couple of tries and even managing an eye-catching ball rip from Azzurri talisman Parisse. Business as usual then. 8

Stephen Ferris: Ireland’s best back rower was a standout performer in an otherwise occasionally dubious team performance. Made about three or four sublime line breaks and really deserved a try of his own. Outstanding. 8

Sean O’Brien: Is it second season syndrome for last years European Player of the Year? May be too early to say yet, but in two games since the World Cup he’s gone from Ireland’s most potent ball carrier to their least effective. Will need to up it next week against Dusautoir and co. 5

Jamie Heaslip: Still not as visible with ball-in-hand as we know he could be – but still the Leinster number eight breaks the first tackle every time and  rarely wastes possession. Moreover ripped the ball from Italian  hands a couple of times for handy turnovers and became more prominent as Ireland’s dominance told late on. 6

Conor Murray:   Ouch. The young Munster scrum half has been on a stratospheric rise since the World Cup but fell to earth today during 50-odd uncertain and misfiring minutes. Poor, wasteful box-kicking and glacier-slow ball delivery, combined with Eoin Reddan’s immediate impact off the bench, surely ensures he won’t start in Paris. Hard lesson but he’ll be better for it. 4

Jonathan Sexton:   Struggled to get into the game in the first half but became more influential, particularly when Leinster team-mate Reddan was providing the ammunition. Had a crucial hand in Bowe’s game sealing try and point kicking was superb. 7

Andrew Trimble:   Was a little anonymous on the wing for long periods as Ireland struggled to get the back line going but managed to grab an opportunistic counter attacking try right at the death. 6

Gordon D’Arcy:    Needed a big game and delivered – kind of. Another player pinged repeatedly for ill-discipline by referee Craig Joubert, but brought the crowd to life with a scything break in the first half and caused the Italian defence plenty of headaches with non-stop clever running. Better. 7

Keith Earls: Long mooted to be O’Driscoll’s long-term successor, Earls today had the opportunity to prove why and took his try excellently. Struggled to exert influence throughout but another who became more prominent with better ball in the second half. 6

Tommy Bowe: Another who needed to prove a point – two tries later, his importance to this Ireland team is underlined. Popped up infield repeatedly and was a constant threat with sniping running. 7

Rob Kearney: Ireland’s best attacker throughout, this was vintage Kearney. Regularly punctured the Azzurri defence with lightening fast counter attacks and dependable as ever under the high ball. His best game for Ireland in some time. 9

Pick of the replacements – Eoin Reddan:   While it’s true ruck ball tends to quicken in the second half, Reddan’s introduction was still crucial in getting fast ball to the Irish backline. Replacing Murray’s slow delivery with pace allowed Ireland to go for the jugular and effectively end the Italian challenge. 7

Italy

Michele Rizzo:   Dominated in the scrum by Mike Ross. Italy will really miss Martin Castrogiovanni on this evidence. 4

Leonardo Ghiraldini: In the absence of Castrogiovanni, the hooker appeared fired up for this one, particularly in a fiery first half performance. But was eventually extinguished by clinical Irish scores. 6

Lorenzo Cittadini: Achieved parity with Cian Healy at the scrum and got though a mountain of work but quickly tired in the second half. 5

Quentin Geldenhuys: The South-African born lock successfully disrupted an inconsistent Irish line-out but couldn’t live with O’Callaghan, O’Connell and substitute Ryan in the second half. 5

Marco Bortolami: Another who looked useful in the line-out and worked extremely hard to halt the frequent excursions of Paul O’Connell and Ireland’s prime ball carriers. 6

Alessandro Zanni: Anonymous. Didn’t see much of the ball and appeared more visible when desperately hanging on to Stephen Ferris when the Ulster flanker powered forward as the game progressed. 5

Robert Barbieri: One of Italy’s best performers, the Canadian born flanker appears a great ball carrier and created the move for the Azzurri’s solitary try with an exceptional carry deep into Irish territory. 8

Sergio Parisse: Even more frustrating game than usual for the Italy captain. The effort of him and his team didn’t deserve a 32 point defeat. In typical fashion the Argentine born flanker claimed Italy’s try, which was as close as the Azzurri got. 7

Edoardo Gori: The functional scrum half  had a decent game but doesn’t seem  likely Gori will ever be a creative enough 9 to fire the back line. Oddly his fly-half partner today might. 5

Tobias Botes: South African  born scrum-half playing fly-half for Italy? Sure why not, thought Italy coach  Jacques Brunel (possibly). Well one primary reason is Botes ain’t much of a kicker. However he was often at the heart of Italy’s best moves, delivering accurate, snappy passes and making clever runs. Play him at scrum-half Jacques. 6

Luke McLean:   Had his hands full tracking a strong Bowe today, and saw very little of the ball in an attacking sense. Unfortunate since he’s a decent runner when given the opportunity. 6

Alberto Sgarbi:  Big bruiser at centre easily dwarfed Ireland’s pair of D’Arcy and Earls but failed to make any inroads of note. Popped up often in the first half when Italy were exerting some pressure but never threatened the Irish defence. 5

Tommaso Benvenuti:  Highly rated 21-year-old will have better days. Has decent skill but ran up too many blind alleys today. 5

Giovanbattista Venditti: Scored his first try for Italy last time out against England but never came within a sniff of  the try line in Dublin. 5

Andrea Masi: Ireland targeted him under the high-ball and he was fortunate not be out-caught once or twice. But a willing counter attacker who found his chances with ball-in-hand limited. 6

Pick of the replacements –Kris Burton :  None of Italy’s replacements were particularly noticeable but Burton gets the shout simply because he can kick a rugby ball a whole lot better than Tobias Botes. 6

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
TV The follow-up documentary that has got locals worried
Arts and Entertainment
Eminem's daughter Hailie has graduated from high school
music
Arts and Entertainment
Original Netflix series such as Orange Is The New Black are to benefit from a 'substantial' increase in investment
TVHoax announcement had caused outrage
Life and Style
Swimsuit, £245, by Agent Provocateur
fashion

Diving in at the deep end is no excuse for shirking the style stakes

News
One Direction star Harry Styles who says he has no plans to follow his pal Cara Delevingne down the catwalk.
peopleManagement confirms rumours singer is going it alone are false
Arts and Entertainment
Curtain calls: Madani Younis
theatreMadani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Arts and Entertainment
'Deep Breath' is Peter Capaldi's first full-length adventure as the twelfth Doctor
TVFirst episode of new series has ended up on the internet
Life and Style
Douglas McMaster says the food industry is ‘traumatised’
food + drinkSilo in Brighton will have just six staple dishes on the menu every day, including one meat option, one fish, one vegan, and one 'wild card'
Sport
Mario Balotelli, Divock Origi, Loic Remy, Wilfried Bony and Karim Benzema
transfersBony, Benzema and the other transfer targets
Life and Style
Once a month, waistline watcher Suran steps into a 3D body scanner that maps his body shape and records measurements with pinpoint accuracy
techFrom heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Caption competition
Caption competition
Daily World Cup Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq crisis: How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over the north of the country

How Saudi Arabia helped Isis take over northern Iraq

A speech by an ex-MI6 boss hints at a plan going back over a decade. In some areas, being Shia is akin to being a Jew in Nazi Germany, says Patrick Cockburn
The evolution of Andy Serkis: First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes

The evolution of Andy Serkis

First Gollum, then King Kong - now the actor is swinging through the trees in Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial: Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried

You thought 'Benefits Street' was controversial...

Follow-up documentary 'Immigrant Street' has got locals worried
Refugee children from Central America let down by Washington's high ideals

Refugee children let down by Washington's high ideals

Democrats and Republicans refuse to set aside their differences to cope with the influx of desperate Central Americas, says Rupert Cornwell
Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Children's books are too white, says Laureate

Malorie Blackman appeals for a better ethnic mix of authors and characters and the illustrator Quentin Blake comes to the rescue
Blackest is the new black: Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...

Blackest is the new black

Scientists have developed a material so dark that you can't see it...
Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

Matthew Barzun: America's diplomatic dude

The US Ambassador to London holds 'jeans and beer' gigs at his official residence – it's all part of the job, he tells Chris Green
Meet the Quantified Selfers: From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor

Meet the 'Quantified Selfers'

From heart rates to happiness, there is little this fast-growing, self-tracking community won't monitor
Madani Younis: Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Five-star reviews are just the opening act for British theatre's first non-white artistic director

Madani Younis wants the neighbourhood to follow his work as closely as his audiences do
Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

Mrs Brown and her boys: are they having a laugh?

When it comes to national stereotyping, the Irish – among others – know it can pay to play up to outsiders' expectations, says DJ Taylor
Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy: Was the otter man the wildlife champion he appeared to be?

Otter man Gavin Maxwell's bitter legacy

The aristocrat's eccentric devotion to his pets inspired a generation. But our greatest living nature writer believes his legacy has been quite toxic
Joanna Rowsell: The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia

Joanna Rowsell: 'I wear my wig to look normal'

The World Champion cyclist on breaking her collarbone, shattering her teeth - and dealing with alopecia
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef gives raw ingredients a lift with his quick marinades

Bill Granger's quick and delicious marinades

Our chef's marinades are great for weekend barbecuing, but are also a delicious way of injecting flavour into, and breaking the monotony of, weekday meals
Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014 preview: Why Brazilians don't love their neighbours Argentina any more

Anyone but Argentina – why Brazilians don’t love their neighbours any more

The hosts will be supporting Germany in today's World Cup final, reports Alex Bellos
The Open 2014: Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?

The Open 2014

Time again to ask that major question - can Lee Westwood win at last?