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Dublin: 6 °C Saturday 23 August, 2014

How the Irish players rated after their narrow loss to England

There were some heroic showings for Joe Schmidt’s men at Twickenham but a lot of missed tackles.

Brian O'Driscoll has a disagreement with Mike Brown.
Brian O'Driscoll has a disagreement with Mike Brown.
Image: Andrew Matthews

Rob Kearney 7

Showed great hands to keep hold of Trimble’s stray pass as Ireland came mightily close to a try from a cross field kick. Used more as an attacking, running weapon today and was effective for the most part. Scythed through the English defence to score a memorable try on 42 minutes. Somewhat understandable, amid the adrenaline, that he lost out to Twelvetrees under the high ball from the restart. Failed to stop Mike Brown from offloading to Danny Care for his try.

Andrew Trimble 6

Gathered Sexton’s cross-field kick and stepped inside his man before being held up a yard short. Hared after high balls but his kicking from hand was below par. Gave away a late first-half penalty by edging offside.

Brian O’Driscoll 5

Early grubber attempt turned attack into desperate defence but he grew into the match. Was the victim of a thunderous Billy Twelvetrees hit in the first-half but bounced back sufficiently to initiate a drive up the left flank and annoy Mike Brown in the process. Guilty of pushing the issue and forcing passes that were not on before he limped off late in the piece.

Brian O'Driscoll hands off Danny Care

Source: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Gordon D’Arcy 6

Super breakdown steal early in the first half and was often employed in the dirty ruck work. Unable to prevent the Chris Robshaw offload in the lightning quick lead-up to the Care try. Made yards each time he drove into the white jerseys but is clearly lacking that yard of pace now.

Dave Kearney 6

Stupendous airborne take early on let the English know he was not for quaking. Guilty of ball watching, however, for the Danny Care try as he got stepped on his outside shoulder. Almost stole away for a late try but Launchbury’s tap tackle saved his team.

Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Jonathan Sexton 6

Found Trimble with a superb cross-field kick and pinned England back with some intelligent kicks behind Nowell and May on their wings. Tackled any white shirt in his corridor too and pitched into rucks when required. One poor restart when he kicked out, short and on the full. Kicked well off the tee.

Conor Murray 5

On the receiving end of a late Farrell hit but he showed no ill-effects and judged his box-kicks well for most of the afternoon. Played to set routines and tactics and failed to drive the English back, or think again, with snipes of his own. Eclipsed by his opposite number Danny Care.

Cian Healy 6

The Irish scrum held its own, apart from one penalty conceded in the first-half, and provided a solid attacking platform. No bullocking runs of note but a solid effort from Healy and important tackles around the fringes.

Rory Best 7 Badly missed tackle on Mike Brown in the first-half set Ireland on their heels. Throwing was a little shaky at times, causing his jumpers to focus purely on the catch rather than the set-piece play. A tyro at the breakdown again and won a clearing penalty for his side when Ireland were under the cosh in the second half. Repeated the trick soon after.

Source: ©INPHO/James Crombie

Mike Ross 5

Would have been eager to prove his worth at Twickenham and coped well with everything that was thrown at him. Threw himself about for 60 minutes before being replaced by Martin Moore.

Devin Toner 6

Needed every inch of his massive frame to cling onto a couple of line-out darts. Dragged Twelvetrees and Brown to the turf to quell threatening English attacks.

Paul O’Connell 6

Could not be faulted for effort but he found it hard to make his mark on the game. Missed one tackle badly on May, allowing the winger to make 20 metres up the centre. The rolling maul worked well until the latter stages of the match when it, like O’Connell, ran out of gas.

Source: ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Peter O’Mahony 7

Was needed in defence to put Jonny May off when he thought he had scored out in the right-hand corner. Shut May down again as England tried to respond to that excellent Kearney try. His ball carries were infrequent yet he made significant ground when he did offer himself up.

Chris Henry 6

Tackled feverishly and showed up in attack on a few occasions. Won a crucial penalty for his team in the immediate aftermath of that Kearney try. Faded in the second half and was replaced by Jordi Murphy near the end.

Source: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Jamie Heaslip 8

Ireland’s best player. Constantly looking for work and getting himself involved as a conduit for Irish attacks off set-pieces. Crucial tackle on Luther Burrell on 39 minutes prevented England from securing try-scoring momentum. Timed his pop pass perfectly as Kearney crashed through the English defence.

Replacements

Martin Moore 5

Held his own against the English forwards and clashed in the loose with Mako Vunipola and Chris Robshaw.

Fergus McFadden 5

Bristled with intent in his 16-minute cameo. Found himself isolated near the death, forcing a turnover to England.

Iain Henderson 6

Made the best impact of any of the replacements as he performed well in the lineout and broke the gainline on a handful of occasions.

Other players not on long enough to rate.

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