#RWC2011 Warm-up, Ireland v England player ratings

29 08 2011

Jonny Wilkinson tackled by Ronan O'Gara and Keith Earls. Pic: Ken Sutton

15 Geordan Murphy – 7
Great return to the international fold for the Tigers captain, showed he still has juice in the tank matching Manu Tuilagi for pace in a one on one situation. Assured under the high ball, Rob Kearney will have to watch his back!

14 Tommy Bowe – 6
First game of the warm-ups, took a long time to get into the game, This was not aided by Ireland’s repeated habit of drifting wide with no penetration in the center. Needs more game time.

13 Keith Earls – 5
Earls was at fault for Tuilagi’s almost unchallenged try early in the game but he was probably the only back that could break the line in attack. Multiple times he skipped passed tackles, but as he looked up he had no support to offload to.

12 Gordon D’Arcy – 3
Another anonymous game for D’Arcy, has not shown any improvement in the last 2 matches he has played. Made Mike Tindall look dynamic.

11 Andrew Trimble – 6
Another decent performance from Trimble, similar to Bowe hampered by the lateral play of the Irish backline. When he drifts infield he looks dangerous.

10 Ronan O’Gara – 6
Opting to kick for touch instead of taking easy points on offer was a big mistake in yesterdays must-win game. Other than this, he surprised everyone by opting to run with the ball on a couple of occasions and making some decent ground.

9  Eoin Reddan – 5
Did decently, was under quite a bit of pressure at the rucks as England were quite aggressive in this area and weren’t shy of letting their presence felt.


1  Cian Healy – 7
Industrious, took some real punishment from the English pack, seemed to be getting singled out for it quite often.  Unfortunate to sustain some damage to his eye socket which will mean he will miss Ireland’s first game against the USA in 2 weeks.

2  Jerry Flannery – 6
Looked comfortable, provide plenty of quality lineout ball for O’Connell and O’Callaghan to hoover up.

3  Mike Ross – 6
Scrums were on the whole, quite positive, winning one against the head in the first half should have been a big inspiration to the rest of the team but the scrum conceded a penalty 30 seconds later.

4  Donncha O’Callaghan – 6
Always looks a better player playing alongside Paul O’Connell, did well at the lineout and put in a good defensive performance.

5  Paul O’Connell (c) – 7
Extremely busy and committed, was Ireland’s best player on the day. Questionable decisions along with ROG on kicking for touch when points were on offer.

6 Stephen Ferris – 6
Ended up playing a full 80 minutes, was great to see him back with ball in hand, will need more game time to get up to match speed but looked in peak physical condition.

7  David Wallace – 6
Heartbreak for Wally, a seemingly innocuous tackle on the touchline for Tuilagi resulting in a serious knee injury has put an end to what was to be his 3rd World Cup.

8  Jamie Heaslip – 6
Only managed 34 minutes before being subbed off with a head injury. Unfortunate for Ireland as his ball-carrying abilities were missed.



16 Rory Best – 5
First action was a lineout throw which was crooked but made up for it with an audacious steal minutes later.

17 Tom Court – 6
Held his own against a strong English pack, needs more game time which he will probably get against USA.

18 Donnacha Ryan – 6
Early introduction due to Heaslip’s injury, decent shift but didn’t offer the same carries that Heaslip can.

19 Denis Leamy – 6
Introduced after Wallace’s injury, the Irish backrow was completely unbalanced after the two forced substitutions and this really affected the whole team. Leamy was busy in defense and managed a couple of carries.

20 Conor Murray – 7
Another good performance from Murray, introduced some pace into the attack when he came on.

21 Jonathan Sexton – 6
Kicked the ball more that ROG had done in the preceding 60 minutes, doesn’t seem to have the ability to change the game in the same vein that ROG can off the bench.

22 Fergus McFadden – 6
Came on for Trimble with 10 minutes to go, didn’t get too many opportunities to show what he can do.

Original article written for therugbyblog.co.uk


RWC2011 Warmup, Ireland v France – Ireland player ratings

22 08 2011





15  Felix Jones – 6

Had a cracking first half, but showed some nerves early in the second half, slicing a ball into touch on the full. Extremely unlucky to fall awkwardly on his ankle while contesting for a high ball, unfortunately his World Cup is over before it began.

14 Andrew Trimble – 6

For the third game running, Trimble has looked in good form, always looking for work and using his physicality to break the line.

13 Brian O’Driscoll – 6

Seemed to take a little too much on himself rather than distribute the ball a bit earlier. Utterly committed at the breakdown put his body on the line, to the gasps of the Irish supporters.

12 Gordon D’Arcy – 5

In his first game back since the Heineken Cup final, D’Arcy was off the pace and didn’t manage any line breaks. Rougerie and Heyman sliced D’Arcy and O’Driscoll open for their well taken try.

11 Keith Earls – 5

While providing a real attacking threat early on, when things started to go down-hill, panic set in. In his defence, the centers were drifting too far wide and not offloading earlier giving the wingers almost no room to operate in.

10 Jonathan Sexton – 6

Had a decent game, showed some great defensive play, was moved into center when ROG replaced D’Arcy. Acquitted himself well, was rewarded for his hard work with a try in the second half.

9 Tomas O’Leary – 2

Started brightly, great speed on the pass, nice distribution. Fell apart after the first 20 minutes, one brainfart after the next. One could be forgiven for thinking he doesn’t like New Zealand!?

1 Cian Healy – 7

Good performance from Healy, always looked lively in the loose and performed well in the scrum. Gave Kidney heart failure as he limped off the field with what turns out to be a bruised foot!

2 Rory Best – 6

Set-pieces were much improved this week for Ireland and the hooker is integral to that, seemed much more at ease and confident this week and it showed in his throwing.

3 Mike Ross – 6

Ross’ main job is the scrummage well, and that he did, His fist XV spot is nailed on and he knows it!

4 Donncha O’Callaghan – 5

Quiet day for O’Callaghan, claimed a couple of lineout balls and setup a nice rolling maul. Not sure if he has done enough to warrant a first XV spot?

5 Paul O’Connell – 7

Best 80 minutes Paul O’Connell has put in since returning from his long injury lay-off, Seemed willing to carry the ball more and was the decoy in the lineout all day. Needed to settle the team on the half-hour mark, instead they collectively lost the run of themselves.

6 Sean O’Brien – 7

The Tullow-Tank rolls on, great performance. Made more runs and tackles than anyone else on the team and was rewarded with a late try.

7 Shane Jennings – 3

Metres run with ball: 1, Tackles made: 1, 60minutes of ball-watching. Looked out of his depth.

8 Jamie Heaslip – 5

Went missing in the second half for long periods of time, Was partially to blame for O’Leary’s gift of a try to Trinh-Duc. Worked well in the lineout claiming two throws.


16 Jerry Flannery – 6

Keeps the tempo of the game up, his throw-ins are quick and accurate. Needs to get a hearing aid to avoid being penalised for not using the ball.

17 Tom Court – 5

Pretty anonymous around the park but held the scrum together well.

18 Mike McCarthy  – Not on long enough for rating

19 Stephen Ferris – 6

Delighted to see Ferris come through his 20 minutes, some nice carries and huge collisions, his trademark.

20 Eoin Reddan – 5

While O’Leary was diabolical, Reddan didn’t offer much more in attack, but managed not to make the same amount of mistakes as his counterpart!

21 Ronan O’Gara – 6

Actually combined quite well with Sexton in the center, A combination that I doubt will be repeated any time soon however!

22 Luke Fitzgerald – 6

Much improved performance from Fitzgerald, made beautiful runs from deep to setup both Sexton and O’Brien’s try’s.

6N:2011: Ireland Player ratings v Wales

14 03 2011

1. Healy – 6
On the positive side made some nice turnovers early on, but lack of discipline saw him concede a silly penalty on 28minutes taking Hook out off the ball.

2. Best – 6
Much improved throwing at the lineout, finding his man on every throw. Decent defensively.

3. Ross – 5

Didn’t have much to do in the scrums, and didn’t offer much else in the loose.

4. O’Callaghan – 6

Had a good day in the lineout, restarts need work, always involved in defense.

5. O’Connell – 7

Great cals in the lineout saw Ireland rob Welsh ball a couple of times, Awesome in defense.

6. O’Brien – 8
Easily the best player on the day, always makes yards, some superb breaks running great lines.

7. Heaslip – 6

Very quiet game by his high standards, Didn’t seem to get up to pace of the game. Replaced by Leamy after 69mins.

8. Wallace – 7

Showed great awareness when a penalty hit the upright, contributed well and created a couple of nice turnovers.

9. Reddan – Only lasted 38seconds, superb charge down and stopped the ball beautifully, with his face.

10. O’Gara – 6
Didn’t have his best day out, kicking from hand was lacking, worked the ball through the hands well on occasion to keep the back line moving. Very strange substitution on 50mins.

11. Earls – 8
Again, Ireland’s most creative player, gave a great performance in defense and attack, always looking for work.

12. D’arcy – 4
Was he even on the field in the first half? Had a couple of carries in the 2nd half, this was the only reason he didn’t have a negative rating.

13. O’Driscoll – 7
Defense as ever was superb, shot out of the line to thwart a Welsh attack when they had an overlap after 22mins.

14. Bowe – 7
Setup O’Driscolls try, had a very busy day, got through an amount of work.

15. Fitzgerald – 5
Took some big hits early on and never looked comfortable from then on. Thought he should have been subbed at halftime, instead played for 72mins!

16. Cronin – Only played 5 minutes but made two crucial throw-ins, looked less nervous than on previous appearances.

17. Court – Came on for Ross after 69mins, didn’t have much work to do in the line of scrums, but looked better in the loose than Ross.

18. Cullen – Only played 5 mins and won a crucial lineout.

19. Leamy – Replaced Heaslip and looked sharper than we have seen him in previous games, couple of smashing tackles.

20. Stringer – 6
Played the full game for the injured Reddan, crisp, fast passing kept the back line moving.

21. Sexton – 5
Brought on too early in my opinion, was involved in all that went wrong for Ireland, his sliced clearance led to the Welsh try, missed an easy penalty a few minutes later, looked like his confidence was rattled.

22. P.Wallace – Replaced Fitzgerald after 72mins, will only be remembered for a pass he never made in the dying moments.

Special Mention for Touch Judge Peter Allan who missed 4 separate infringements in one lineout which led to Wales’ second-half try.

6N:2011 – Ireland player ratings vs Scotland

28 02 2011

"The human wrecking-ball" Sean O'Brien

Luke Fitzgerald – 6
Struggled under the high-ball on a few occasions, not looking as confident or sharp on the ball as has previously.

Tommy Bowe – 5
Obviously still not up to the pace of the international game, hardly got a touch of the ball all game.

Brian O’Driscoll – 5
Poor game by his own high standards, defensively solid but didn’t offer anything in attack.

Gordon D’Arcy – 5
Improvement on the last two games, again decent in defense but no creativity or penetration going forward.

Keith Earls – 7
Stood out as hungry and dangerous on the ball, came in off his wing looking for work, couple of great breaks and chips through.

Ronan O’Gara – 8
Man of the match performance alongside O’Brien, took his try well, all kicking from hand was excellent, controlled the game.

Eoin Reddan – 5
A couple of little darting runs exploiting space, was indecisive on one break and didn’t give the ball early enough to Earls and attack broke down.

Jame Heaslip – 6
Seemed to drift in and out of the game, Tackled well, easiest try he has scored in seasons!

David Wallace – 7
Much improved, Some impressive carries

Sean O’Brien – 8
Described as “The human wrecking ball” – completely true, what a game! His speed and strength can be easily compared to Pierre Spies at his peak. Awesome.

Paul O’Connell – 6
Grafted well through the game and Will Greenwood hit the nail on the head with this tweet: “O’Connell a quite incredible last 5 mins to steer Ireland home!! Lineout steal,
maul steal, tackle, 50/50 ball. Incredible”

Donncha O’Callaghan – 6
Great aggression and defence while he was on the pitch, made way for Cullen at the right time.

Cian Healy – 7
Impressive couple of breaks and offloads to keep the ball alive. Irish scrum was much improved, Discipline needs to improve.

Rory Best – 5
Didn’t offer anything in the loose, Throw-in’s were not always hitting his man.Conceded 2 penalties.

Mike Ross – 6
Again conceded 2 penalties at scrum-time, but did well other than that.


Peter Stringer – 6 Injected pace when needed at 60mins.
Sean Cronin – 5 Looked nervous again, didn’t settle well. Seems to be a slow starter and coming in off the bench is not helping his cause for Ireland.
Denis Leamy – 5 Doesn’t look up to international standard since returning from injury, discipline has always been an issue, although had a decisive turnover close to the end.
Leo Cullen – 6 Absorbed alot of Scottish pressure when he came on.
Jonny Sexton – 5 The pressure of ROG having such a good game got to him. Came on and tried to run the ball out of his own half twice when he should have booted the ball to safety.
Tom Court – 5 Hardly noticed him when he came on.

Original article written for therugbyblog.co.uk

6N:2011 Post-mortem – Italy v Ireland player ratings

7 02 2011

Italian backrow Sergio Parisse

Luke Fitzgerald – 7
After a shaky start where he seemed to be trying ‘too-hard’, Fitzgerald improved greatly as the game went on. Made a superb break after 19mins which almost put Sexton through for a try. Starting to look more comfortable in the 15 jersey.

Fergus McFadden – 6
Looked solid and assured in hist first game for the senior squad. Very unlucky not to get a hold of the stray pass from O’Driscoll which would have resulted in a try. Made a couple of nice offloads to keep the ball alive.

Brian O’Driscoll – 6
Had a bit of a slow start, butchered an try-scoring opportunity early on by throwing a very loose pass outside him. Took his try clinically in the second half, spotting the mismatch of Castrogiovanni and darted in for the score.

Gordon D’Arcy – 4
Ireland could have certainly left “Dorce-outside” for this game, he had a shocker! Almost every time he got the ball he managed to bungle it and knock-on. Surprised he managed to stay on the field for 76 minutes, speaks volumes for the Irish management.

Keith Earls – 7
Looks much more comfortable playing on the wing it has to be said, made some lovely breaks. Always looked hungry for work making himself available for every attack.

Jonathan Sexton – 6
Definitely offers more in attack that O’Gara, his physicality was on show when he dumped Italian second row Quintin Geldenhuys on his posterior at the end of the first half.

Tomás O’Leary – 3
Hasn’t shown anything like his pre-injury form since coming back, Very slow on the ball, taking extra steps, seemed off the pace. This combined with the Italian defense rushing, gave our backline no time whatsoever to create anything. Reddan didn’t offer anything different when he came on, Peter Stringer needs to be included in the match 22.

Cian Healy – 4
Healy struggled in the scrum, got pinged multiple times for not binding correctly and knees hitting the deck early. Seemed to be the weak-link in the Irish scrum.

Rory Best – 5
Lineouts were not perfect by any means but the stats show that we only lost 1 from 8 on our own throw. Didn’t carry as much as he normally would, showed a fearsome defensive display to keep the Italians out.

Mike Ross – 5
Probably one of the toughest international games that Ross has played in, The Italian pack was impressive, but Ross gave a good account of himself. Got penalised early on  by Poite, for reasons known only to himself. Made two turnovers and carried the ball

Donncha O’Callaghan – 7
Aggressive, industrious and mischievous! Highest tackle count of the Irish players, always a nuisance in the lineout. Gave away one silly penalty but that was the only blot on his copybook for the day, My man of the match.

Paul O’Connell – 6
Made a couple of handling errors early on, but is improving with every game. Faded slightly toward to the end of the game and was replaced. Will improve as the competition rolls on.

Denis Leamy – 5
Did carry the ball alot but offered little penetration, didn’t seem t get involved as much as the game wore on. His yellow card was harsh, seemed to take the rap for the infringements that went before him.

David Wallace – 6
Wallace looked good early on and faded in the second half. Again, lots of carry’s but few line breaks. Parisse demonstrated how it should be done.

Seán O’Brien – 6
Had a very quiet first 40 minutes, Had one superb break only to get caught in two-minds and fumble the ball. Turned over the ball on a couple of occasions and also kept himself busy in defence.


Eoin Reddan – 5
Solid enough, good in defence combining with Earls to bring Parisse down towards the end of the game. Doesn’t bring the snappy pass that Stringer would have brought to the game.

Ronan O’Gara – 6
Being hailed as the hero and man who saved Ireland, truth be told, Sexton would have nailed the drop-goal. (Not to detract from ROG’s cool-head).

Leo Cullen, Seán Cronin, Tom Court and Paddy Wallace (all 76 mins) Rating: Not on long enough to be rated

Original article written for TheRugbyBlog.co.uk

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