Ireland Player Ratings v New Zealand – 3rd Test

15. Rob Kearney – 5

Unlucky to see yellow for what was a genuine attempt at an interception just prior to half-time, Kearney looked lively in the time that he wasn’t scrambling desperately as Ireland’s last line of defence. Unfortunately, though, that wasn’t for very long at all. Even so, 79 metres gained in a lost cause was admirable.

14. Fergus McFadden – 4½

Returned to the uncertainties of Eden Park as the hosts made hay in wider channels. Again, cannot be faulted for his harrying kick-chase but wingers need far more than that at the highest level.

13. Brian O’Driscoll (c) – 5

The skipper will be hugely disappointed. Perhaps at fault for some over-ambition in the opening stages when the contest was briefly alive, O’Driscoll was reduced to squawking at Romain Poite as the All Blacks ran rings around his charges. An evening to forget.

12. Paddy Wallace – 3

Oh dear. The Ulsterman’s missed tackles and poor distribution started a slide that no side in the world would have recovered from. Replaced by Ronan O’Gara after 54 minutes and must wish he stayed in Portugal.

11. Keith Earls – 5

As sparky in attack as he was in Auckland, popping up across the backline during the sparse moments that the tourists had ball in hand. Otherwise, far less encouraging. Chest-pressed like a rag-doll by Gear and had to leave the field for blood – a neat summation of Ireland’s hammering.

10. Jonathan Sexton – 4

Targeted both mentally and physically and came up a long way short. Sexton was coaxed into spiky spats by Liam Messam and Israel Dagg as New Zealand played on his petulant streak. Also failed to deal with a crowded channel over the course of the evening, to disastrous effect.

9. Conor Murray – 5½

Has clearly learnt a lot on this tour and didn’t let himself down on a torrid night behind a back row that was terrorised. Must have been very envious of Aaron Smith’s flawless platform but fought hard and kicked well.

1. Cian Healy – 6

The improvement at scrum-time continues. British and Irish Lions debates are for another day but Healy has definitely thrown his name into the hat this series, although a total skinning at the hands of a Dagg goose-step as he chased down his own kick in the second period was a snapshot of the match.

2. Rory Best – 5½

Burrowed bravely and found his men in 14 out of 15 lineouts. Inevitably, though, on a dreadful night for the men in green in the face of a rampant Kiwi backlash, that one mistake led to a try. Has not shirked a tussle with the gnarled Andrew Hore at all this month.

3. Mike Ross – 5½

Anonymous around the paddock but shored up the tighthead side of the scrum typically well. Faces a real battle with dynamic Declan Fitzpatrick for an autumn international berth.

4. Dan Tuohy – 6

Misunderstanding in the defensive line allowed Sonny Bill Williams to glide over far too easily but elsewhere, good. Remained dependable at set-piece and offered more of a running threat, with eight strong carries.

5. Donnacha Ryan – 6½

The best of a battered, broken bunch. Ryan again displayed the embarrassment of second-row riches that Munster posses and somehow emerged from this car-crash with his burgeoning reputation enhanced.

6. Kevin McLaughlin – 4

Missed four tackles and made just five more, a symptomatic statistic of Ireland’s evaporation. His nightmares in the near future may well feature Richie McCaw.

7. Sean O’Brien – 5

A tired performance saw O’Brien come a comprehensive second best to two-Test openside Sam Cane. An early turnover was a false dawn that quickly got stormy as one of Ireland’s series stand-outs was enveloped.

8. Peter O’Mahony – 4

Playing out of position, was ruthlessly exposed at the back of the scrum and disappeared into a Jamie Heaslip-shaped hole. There was little control at the base and a total of eight metres from 13 carries is a damning indictment for O’Mahoney’s very tough shift.


Everyone got a chance as Declan Kidney tried to halt the tide. Unfortunately, no one managed to stop what was a 80-minute procession towards the whitewash. Chris Henry was willing and Sean Cronin made a barrelling break close to the end, but miracles were needed long before they were introduced. The experience of Ronan O’Gara and Donncha O’Callaghan is still valuable, but Eoin Reddan must work harder before the autumn.

New Zealand:

15. Israel Dagg – 8, 14. Ben Smith – 8, 13. Conrad Smith – 8, 12. Sonny Bill Williams 8½, 11. Hosea Gear – 8, 10. Aaron Cruden – 8, 9. Aaron Smith – 9; 1. Tony Woodcock – 6, 2. Andrew Hore – 7, 3. Owen Franks – 7, 4. Luke Romano – 8½, 5. Sam Whitelock – 8, 6. Liam Messam – 8, 7. Sam Cane – 9, 8. Richie McCaw – 8½

This was something close to vintage New Zealand as Steve Hansen’s charges made a mockery of the suggestion that they would be vulnerable after the close-shave in Christchurch. Some less familiar faces – Aaron Smith, Sam Cane and outstanding debutant Luke Romano – sparkled alongside the household names: Richie McCaw and Sonny Bill Williams were immense. Because of a frankly scary strength in depth – Beauden Barrett and Tamati Ellison can look forward to further involvement – a transitional period approaching 2015 will not mean a slackening of standards.

by Charlie Morgan

11 thoughts on “Ireland Player Ratings v New Zealand – 3rd Test

  1. Kidney might try to use the absence of Heaslip, Dave Wallace, and Ferris as an excuse but really, it’s not good enough. New Zealand were incredible though. O’Driscoll is past his best, and seems irreplaceable. Kidney got the game plan all wrong if indeed he had one to begin with. Player score seem flattering. Glad you gave Paddy Wallace a 3. He’s not up to it at this level. He’s got some good attacking play if Ireland are on the front foot but that’s about it.

  2. Those rankings seem very generous, the score was 70-0 let’s remember. BOD and Murray’s scores deserve much less. The average of all that would give a 5, and Ireland were anything but average.

    Healy deserves a 6 as he was clearly their best player, and the only one trying.

    “Glad you gave Paddy Wallace a 3. He’s not up to it at this level. He’s got some good attacking play if Ireland are on the front foot but that’s about it.”

    He was probably jet-lagged and only arrived a few days before the match, of course he was going to be poor. Great forward thinking on Kidney’s part, 1 injury to a 12 and he has to call in outside help! He’ll be out of a job in no time.

    1. It was actually 60-0 not 70. As an irish supporter I did feel that the team did not play to the standards that we know they can play to and sadly I agree that Brian O Driscoll has passed his prime in this game. The team proved how well they could play in last week’s game, which should have been the historical win that they desired and deserved. The All Black’s are the legends of rugby and need to be congratulated on what really was a magnificent comeback from the week before. However, I also fully support my team win, lose or draw and will also do so. Kidney’s future as coach may also be called into question and probably rightly so!

      1. “It was actually 60-0 not 70”

        Oh well that changes everything. Embarrassed in the first Test, humiliated in the third, but let’s hold the second one was Ireland’s ‘true’ level, no matter that they were embarrassed at Twickenham and finished the Six Nations in fourth just a few months ago.

        Good on Ireland for delivering excellent performances once in a blue moon (England in Dublin, Australia at the world cup, NZ 2nd Test), shame everything else is just rubbish

  3. I just don’t understand picking Wallace. He was never going to be up to speed and has always struggled at this level.

  4. Some of those rating scores are extremely generous. I agree, Kearney was unfortunate getting binned, it did look like a genuine attempt at an intercept. Paddy Wallace should have stayed on holidays. O’Driscoll was very disappointing.

    1. Are you having a laugh. Peter O’ Mahoney playing out of position. He is a number 8. He plays there week in week out. That’s outragoue get your facts straight!

  5. As I asked when the team was picked. Paddy Wallace? What has he ever done in an Irish shirt apart from nearly losing the Grand Slam

  6. Kidney must go the selections were very poor,Wallace should never have been called in he was on holiday and had not played since HC, why bring Cave and not use him? If Kidney had no confidence in Cave he could bring McFadden into 12
    and use Trimble on the wing also why put OMahony at 8 he is a 6 or 7 he has talent but should not have been put in at 8 against the ABs

    1. I fully agree. Kidney may have won the Heineken Cup despite himself. He’s a fool in terms of player choices and tactics. Playing Wallace was idiotic. O’Brien is the best number 8 bar none and firstly he plays Heaslip who is just extra baggage most of the time and then plays O’Mahony at 8. Two of the back row were not in their best positions. Kidney needs to go. Irish sides have dominated in Europe since 2006 and he can’t harness it. He might be a good man manager but he is tactically flawed.

Comments are closed.