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

News
news

Emergency call 'started off dumb, but got pretty serious'

News
people

Britain First criticised for using actress's memory to draw attention to their 'hate-filled home page'

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
people

Thought you'd seen it all after the Jeremy Paxman interview?

Arts and Entertainment
On The Apprentice, “serious” left the room many moons ago and yet still we watch
tv

Greatest mystery about the hit BBC1 show is how it continues to be made at all, writes Grace Dent

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Voices
Funds raised from the sale of poppies help the members of the armed forces with financial difficulties
voicesLindsey German: The best way of protecting soldiers is to stop sending them into conflicts
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from David Ayer's 'Fury'
film

"History is violent," says the US Army tank commander Don "Wardaddy" Collier

Arts and Entertainment
Liam and Zayn of One Direction play with a chimpanzee on the set of their new video for 'Steal My Girl'
music

Animal welfare charities have urged the boy band to cut the scenes

News
The Edge and his wife, Morleigh Steinberg, at the Academy Awards in 2014
peopleGuitarist faces protests over plan to build mansions in Malibu
News
peopleFox presenter gives her less than favourable view of women in politics
Property
One bedroom terraced house for sale, Richmond Avenue, Islington, London N1. On with Winkworths for £275,000.
property
Sport
Erik Lamela celebrates his goal
football

Argentinian scored 'rabona' wonder goal for Tottenham in Europa League – see it here

Voices
Nigel Farage has backed DJ Mike Read's new Ukip song
voicesNigel Farage: Where is the Left’s outrage over the sexual abuse of girls in the North of England?
News
i100
News
Mario Balotelli has been accused of 'threateningly' telling a woman to stop photographing his Ferrari
peoplePolice investigate claim Balotelli acted 'threateningly' towards a woman photographing his Ferrari
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Anderson plays Arthur Shelby in Peaky Blinders series two
tvReview: Arthur Shelby Jr seems to be losing his mind as his younger brother lets him run riot in London
Voices
Don’t try this at home: DIY has now fallen out of favour
voicesNick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of it
Arts and Entertainment
Miranda Hart has called time on her award-winning BBC sitcom, Miranda
tv
Sport
Phil Jones (left) attempts to stop the progress of West Bromwich Albion’s James Morrison on Monday
Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo, writes Paul Scholes
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker