#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 Warm-up, Ireland v England Preview

26 08 2011

Date: 27th August 2011
Time: 14:30 GMT
Venue: Lansdowne Road, Dublin
Referee: Nigel Owens (Wales)

To say that this was an important game for both sides, would be a massive understatement. It’s the last game either team play before they head to New Zealand next week for the World Cup.  Ireland are probably under more pressure than England going into this game they have lost all three of the warm-up games. England have beaten, and been beaten, by Wales in their two warm-up games.


Martin Johnson has made 6 changes to the side that lost to Wales a fortnight ago. The new centre partnership of Tindall and Tuilagi has no doubt given Declan Kidney nightmares this week. Jonny Wilkinson claims the out-half jersey from Toby Flood and is joined in the half backs by Saracen’s Richard Wigglesworth. London Irish scrumhalf Joe Simpson makes the bench in what is set to be his international debut.

The precautionary absence of Brian O’Driscoll following a minor shoulder injury in the France game, means that the captaincy will be in the safe hands of Paul O’Connell. More worrying for Kidney is the news that Sean O’Brien is set to be out of action for a fortnight after picking up a knee injury. Stephen Ferris starts his first warm-up game as does Munster’s Jerry Flannery and David Wallace. Veteran fullback Geordan Murphy also starts and travels to New Zealand following the ankle injury to Felix Jones.

What to expect:
England will be keen to get some decent attacking backline moves, we all know what their pack can do and going into the World Cup they could do with an extra string to their bow. Tommy Bowe is making his first appearance in a green jersey since the 6-Nations and will be keen to make his mark. The Irish pack did well in the scrums last week against France and they will be keen to keep parity against a much bigger pack this weekend.

All eyes on:
England’s physical dominance over the Irish is most evident in the mis-match of the center pairings, Mike Tindall and Manu Tuilagi will face Gordon D’Arcy and Keith Earls. I would also expect England to target the Irish 10-12 channel as this is where they are weakest. Jonny Wilkinson will no doubt provide plenty of opportunities to test Irish lineout, which has shown a great improvement in the last two matches.

Last fixture:
March 19, 2011, Ireland 24-8 England, Dublin.

Weather: Chance of showers.

Ireland will be keen to get a win under their belt and always up their game when England come to town, so on that basis, I’m going for an Ireland win by 6 points.

Bóthar – Golf with Stars

9 07 2011
Some of the stars that you can play alongside

Some of the stars that you can play alongside

Golf With Stars At the K Club

For Bóthar

Golf with Stars (GWS) is a fundraising event which is held annually for the development aid agency, Bóthar. This year Golf with Stars will be taking place in the famed and illustrious surroundings of the K Club Co. Kildare, previous hosts of not just the European Open but also the Ryder Cup.

Golf with Stars gives you (and 2 friends) a chance to tee off with some of Irelands sporting legends and to play on one of the most prestigious golf courses in the World. Amongst those already confirmed to take part include rugby stars Tommy Bowe (Ireland, Ospreys), Tomás O’Leary (Ireland, Munster), Frankie Sheahan (Munster, Ireland), Mick Galway (Munster, Ireland) and Anthony Foley (Munster, Ireland), and 10 times Irish Champion jockey Charlie Swan.

Entries to the Golf With Stars draw can be purchased online at golfwithstars.com. Tickets cost €20 for one entry. Three entries cost €50 or seven cost €100.

Draw entries will be accepted from 12th May 2011 to midday July 8th 2011, winners will be notified by email. The event will take place at the K Club in Kildare on Saturday 16th July. Not only will winners play with one of the stars but teams will also be treated to a gourmet BBQ cooked at the K Club by celebrity chef Neven Maguire.

Tommy Bowe, a long time supporter of Bóthar and regular with Golf with Stars said “Most of us who have signed up to take part in Golf with Stars would consider ourselves to be able golfers who enjoy a round or two. But, every year we get to meet new and very talented golfers and more often than not they show us a thing or two about how it’s done on the golf course! I hope Bóthar supporters will register at golfwithstars.com to be in with chance to participate in Golf with Stars 2011”.

All funds raised for Golf With Stars will go towards supporting the charity’s projects across 35 developing world countries. Bóthar enables families and communities worldwide to overcome hunger and poverty and to restore the environment in a sustainable way.


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.

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