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Dublin: 5 °C Friday 19 December, 2014

Ireland v Wales, Six Nations Championship: Player ratings

Here’s what we thought of the individual performances of Declan Kidney’s men.

Ireland suffered a disappointing loss to Wales earlier.
Ireland suffered a disappointing loss to Wales earlier.

NOW THAT THE post-match hype has died down a little, we’ve allowed ourselves a deep breath and taken a long hard look at the Ireland side’s performance. Here’s how they rated:

Forwards

Cian Healy: One of Ireland’s better players, Healy carried the ball well at times before having to come off in the latter stages, as he was seemingly carrying an injury. 6/10

Rory Best: Found himself in the right place at the right time for the first Irish try, and performed solidly for the most part. 6/10

Mike Ross: One good run aside just prior to Bowe’s try, he seemed a little anonymous and was one of the many Irish players who played on the periphery of this game. 5/10

Donncha O’Callaghan: Many people, perhaps justifiably, felt he shouldn’t have started, but O’Callaghan partially justified his selection by demonstrating a tremendous work rate, before being replaced by Ryan. 7/10

Paul O’Connell: Showed impressive agility (as he normally does) on occasion, and contributed well in the build up to Bowe’s try, but by his standards, it was a disappointing performance. 5/10

Stephen Ferris: Like many of his colleagues, Ferris failed to show the kind of form he’s consistently been demonstrating at club level and conceded the all-important penalty to compound his woe. 5/10

Sean O’Brien: Declan Kidney must now seriously whether he is utilising O’Brien in the most effective manner possible following this uncharacteristically quiet performance. 5/10

Jamie Heaslip: One of his better performances, but still isn’t showing the kind of form he demonstrated a year or two ago. 6/10

Backs

(Rob Kearney was one of Ireland’s better performers – INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

Conor Murray: Looked hesitant and unconvincing on occasion. Murray failed to justify his status as Ireland’s first-choice scrum half. 5/10

Jonny Sexton: Performed solidly in defence and kicked well for the most part, but missed one or two crucial penalties. 6/10

Andrew Trimble: Solid but hardly spectacular, Trimble needs to do far more if he wants to make that position on the wing his own. 6/10

Gordon D’Arcy: A liability in defence at times, and lacking the attacking threat of old. He seems to be in the team by default more than anything else. 5/10

Fergus McFadden: Played reasonably well, considering the difficult circumstances that he was forced to adapt to. 6/10

Tommy Bowe: If it were based on his attacking play alone, Bowe would receive at least an 8, however he was also arguably at fault for two of the Wales tries. 6/10

Rob Kearney: The best of a bad bunch, Kearney made one or two immaculate takes under the high ball, looked a threat in attack and barely put a foot wrong in defence. 7/10

Substitutes: Ryan made an impact, while O’Gara and Reddan didn’t have enough time to exert their influence. 6/10

Declan Kidney: Kidney could get away with his innately conservative selection policy, along with his team’s unconvincing performances, at the start of his tenure as Ireland manager, because they were generally narrowly winning games. However, the team has encountered less success of late, and so serious questions must now be asked. 5/10

Read: As it happened: Ireland v Wales, Six Nations Championship>

Read: Player reaction: it came down to two mistakes, admits Paul O’Connell>

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