• Home
  • /
  • Rugby
  • /
  • The Irish Player Ratings From A Depressing Defeat To Wales

The Irish Player Ratings From A Depressing Defeat To Wales

The Irish Player Ratings From A Depressing Defeat To Wales
By Gavin Cooney
Share this article

The roof was closed, and so too was the lid on Ireland's Championship bid.  Ireland have slipped to a 22-9 defeat away to Wales, after another one-dimensional attacking performance was exacerbated by sloppy errors and an injury to Conor Murray. Jamie Roberts hammered the final nail into the coffin late on, meaning we have nothing tangible to play for against England tomorrow week. The supposed Grand Slam decider could now be an English procession in Dublin.

Here are the Irish player ratings from an appalling experience under the Friday Night Lights, as Ireland played more Warrenball than the Welsh.

Rob Kearney
 - 6

Outstanding in the air, though struggled defensively with the physicality of the Welsh backs at times. Great hands on his own try line bailed out Sexton's hospital pass in the second half. Ball-carrying largely ineffective.

Keith Earls - 7.5 

Good with the ball in hand, consistently eating up a couple of valuable yards after each contact. His footwork was excellent, and was Ireland's outstanding attacker.

Garry Ringrose - 7

Found it exceedingly difficult to find space throughout, although that may be partly down to Ireland's one-dimensional attack. Defensively, he was solid.

Robbie Henshaw - 7

Extraordinarily physical early on, and was in contention to be deemed Ireland's best player before his lack of discipline meant Ireland's try was disallowed, an error that blemished much of his good work.

Simon Zebo - 6

Caught infield on the first Welsh try, and was AWOL on the second by dint of Ireland's numerical inferiority. Struggled to make an impact going forward.


Johnny Sexton - 6.5 

As per, Ireland struggled in his absence in the first half, despite it not being Sexton's best day. Wales exploited Ireland within a minute of his HIA departure: selling Jackson up the river to find a gap up the ten channel in the lead up to the opening try. The try-saving tackle that led to his yellow card was sensational, although perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty try for holding on. Will have nightmares over that Roberts try. Kicked a hell of a lot of ball away.

Conor Murray - 5 

A performance that can be divided into B.N. and A.N.: before and after North. Murray had his shoulder crushed by a falling North in the first half, inhibiting his performance from hence: he spent the next few minutes unable to pass, but somehow managed to make three tackles within a couple of minutes when targeted by the Welsh attack. He lasted 45 minutes before making way for Marmion.

Schmidt will face serious questions surrounding the fact Marmion's introduction took so long to happen.


Jack McGrath - 6.5

Outstanding turnover in the first minute set the tone for a solid performance in which McGrath was flawless in the fleeting scrums, and busy around the field, making 12 tackles. Made way for Healy on the hour mark.

Rory Best - 5 

Struggled to affect the game in the loose, and he presided over a total line-out malfunction prior to the introductions of O'Mahony and Henderson. Tough day for the captain.

Tadhg Furlong - 7.5

Bar an ugly knock-on in the first half, Furlong's performance was remarkable. His work rate was extraordinary, making 16 tackles.


Donnacha Ryan - 6.5


An outstanding second-half break added gloss to grunt: Ireland's top tackler, with 17.

Devin Toner - 5

Toner was part of a malfunctioning Irish line-out but was busy around the pitch, making 13 tackles. The fact it was Toner, rather than Ryan, who made way for Iain Henderson on the hour mark an indictment of a disastrous line-out.

CJ Stander - 7 

His usual rampant self, with his trademark sensational break and off-load the outstanding Irish moment from the first-half.



Surprisingly made way for Peter O'Mahony on the hour mark as Joe Schmidt made some running repairs to the line-out.

Sean O'Brien - 5.5

Another torpid performance by O'Brien, and the second Welsh try was preceded by his tossing the ball away. Will be fortunate to hang on to his spot against England, and the suspicion is that, were Van der Flier fit, we'd have seen him tonight.


Jamie Heaslip - 6

On his 100th test cap, Heaslip turned in one of his poorest first-half performances in recent memory, marred by two egregious knock-ons. His second-half was better, with his ball protection outstanding in Ireland's exhaustive 29-phase attack upon Sexton's reintroduction.



Paddy Jackson for Sexton (HIA) - N/A

Spent ten minutes on the field during Sexton's HIA, kicked a penalty, but was caught out on the first Welsh try.


Kieran Marmion (for Murray) - 6.5 

Schmidt persisting with a one-armed Conor Murray was not exactly a vote of confidence in the Connacht scrum-half, but his first involvement was outstanding: dragging Moriarty over the touchline as Wales loomed on the Irish line. His passing was sharp,

Cian Healy (for McGrath) - 6

Kept the scrum solid, didn't do a whole lot else.

Iain Henderson (for Toner) - 7 

Henderson was loosed upon proceedings on the hour mark as part of Schmidt's surgery of the forwards.

Peter O'Mahony (for Stander) - 7

O'Mahony should be in contention to start next week: his introduction saw the line-out fixed along with phenomenal work at the break-down.

Tommy Bowe (for Kearney) - N/A

Sad to see him depart injured late on, leaving with a wry smile. Likely the last we'll see of the great man in an Irish jersey.


Join The Monday Club Have a tip or something brilliant you wanted to share on? We're looking for loyal Balls readers free-to-join members club where top tipsters can win prizes and Balls merchandise

Processing your request...

You are subscribed now!

Share this article

Copyright © 2023. All rights reserved. Developed by Square1 and powered by PublisherPlus.com