Following the contest between Ireland and Wales we take a look at how the individual players performed. Do you agree with our ratings? Leave your thoughts and comments below.
Outstanding first half from the Saracens prop at scrum time who acquitted himself well is the loose as well.
Whilst others must share the blame, Wales’ lineout failed to function and made life difficult for them in the middle period of the match. The front row injuries were a talking point before the game and one wonders if Matthew Rees would have had the same issues.
Always solid at scrum time and the usual bustle in the loose, Jones continues to justify his reputation as one of the world’s most consistent performers.
Carried an enormous amount of ball in the early part of the game where Wales were in charge. However, Davies was lucky to stay on the pitch after his tip-tackle on Donnacha Ryan, where a red would have certainly changed the complexion of the game in the dying minutes.
A less explosive display than his second row partner, but a decent effort from the Ospreys man.
Jones seized his opportunity in the absence of Dan Lyidate with a good display of tackling and work on the floor. The former captain could have had a try in the first half in a performance that reminded us of the kind of player he can be when on form.
The increased presence of the Irish back row after half time tells you all you need to know about the influence of Warburton on the Welsh side. After his withdrawal, Wales struggled to slow the ball down at the breakdown providing Connor Murray and his back row room to go forward.
Not the fireworks we’re used to from the big Tongan but a solid display nonetheless.
The big scrum half is a constant threat around the base and keeps the opposition guessing at all times. He may get stuck at the bottom of a few too many rucks at times, but when Wales are on the front foot he is a great player to watch as he pulls the strings with guile and confidence.
A game of internal contrasts from the young fly half who kicked exceptionally well out of hand at times, but whose goal kicking let him down badly, resulting in a loss of the duties in the second half. Had Wales not come out on top, the finger would have been pointed and the opportunities he spurned.
Absolutely outstanding from the teenage wing. Played a part in all three tries showing pace, power and high class handling to forcefully drag his side to victory.
Roberts’ direct style almost guarantees front foot ball for his side when he takes it up the middle. He continues to be the perfect target for his forwards and is the lynch-pin in the Welsh attack.
2 tries on the day from the centre who finished his first well and showed good pace to dive in for his second.
Cuthbert couldn’t quite exert himself on the game today and struggled to contribute as he would have liked before being withdrawn.
An outstanding display from halfpenny who ran the ball well and showed good composure to kick the winning goal at the death after taking the reigns from Rhys Priestland.
Pick of the replacements –James Hook:
Hook replaced Cuthbert and moved to full back, contributing immediately and offering willingly to carry the ball in the second half.
Healy was well matched with Adam Jones in a good contest upfront. The prop was, as usual, diligent in the loose making 9 tackles and carrying 10 times.
It’s always nice to see a big front rower go over for a try and Best was a deserving recipient of an easy walk-in after some good hands from the backs in the first half. The lineout functioned well in a generally solid display from the hooker.
Ross had a bit of a hard time against Rhys Gill in the first half but improved as the game went on.
Bullish stuff from O’Callaghan without really impacting the game in the loose as he can. In the lineout he did well to disrupt the Welsh in partnership with Paul O’Connell.
The captain will be disappointed with the result but can be reasonably happy with his own performance. He did well at line out time and carried strongly.
Ferris grew into the game but gave away the crucial penalty for another tip-tackle at the death. The sin bin was perhaps a bit harsh but was of little consequence due to the lateness of the incident. After the early dismissal of Bradley Davies, Ferris should have known better than to lift in the tackle at such a crucial moment of the game.
With the rest of the Irish back row, O’Brien grew into the game from roughly the 30 minute mark and made some meaningful yards for his team.
The pick of the Irish back row, Heaslip worked hard to get his side on the front foot. One wonders if the balance of the Irish back row could use a bit more of a scavenger though, as when faced with an out-and-out openside in Warburton they struggled to get the speed of ball that opened the game up after his substitution.
A very impressive second half performance from the tenacious scrum half who was at the heart of everything Ireland did well.
Sexton kicked well and steered the ship competently throughout this game, but wasn’t at his most incicive with ball in hand. A solid one nevertheless though.
A little quiet from the Ulsterman who can definitely provide more to this Irish side than he did today.
D’Arcy made an outstanding tackle on Bradley Davies when Wales were dominant in the first half that surely saved a try. Had wales moved scored another in their early period of pressure the Irish could have lost touch with their opponents. Elsewhere he was solid and diligent without really providing Ireland with the punch they needed in the midfield.
McFadden dared to stand in the way of George North and paid the heavy price for Jonathan Davies’ second try, and whilst playing the rest of the game competently, the Irish fans will be ruing the injury to their talisman, Brian O’Driscoll.
Bowe did good work for Bradley Davies’ first try and took his own with the typical tidiness we have come to expect from the big Ospreys winger.
Some impressive acrobatics under the high ball from the full back with some good running metres gained in a decent performance.
6/10Pick of the replacements – Donnacha Ryan:
Ryan’s raised the tempo in the loose after his introduction, making 4 tackles in quick succession. His work in the lineout also proved handy with a steal in a generally good explosive display.