Overall a poor performance from Ireland. They were bullied in the scrum and the lineout completely misfired. These were the two areas Ireland needed to secure posession if they were to take on the ‘Boks out wide, but they didn’t, and got deservedly beaten.
Cian Healy – 4
Unforced errors showed up a player out of his depth, his knock on from a free kick told it all. Not involved enough at ruck time.
Rory Best – 3
Tough day at the office for Rory, Lineout was a serious weakpoint and although not solely his fault, too many throws went astray for this level. Sean Cronin’s chance is now.
Tony Buckley – 4
Was dominated in the scrum and never got into the game. More industrious at the breakdown than Healy but all-in-all a poor performance.
Donnacha O’Callaghan – 3
Anonymous game for Donnacha. Why the lineout calls didn’t change to a short safe throw I don’t know? A 50% success rate in the lineout is not good enough.
Mick O’Driscoll – 3
Looked out of his depth at this level. Matfield and Botha dominated the lineout, and the Irish hardly even competed for opposition throws. O’Driscoll should have changed the lineout tactics when things clearly weren’t working out.
Stephen Ferris – 7/10
Best Irish forward on the day, made some decent carries but didn’t have the support of those around him.
David Wallace – 4
Wallace was not able to impose himself on the game. Questions on why Sean O’Brien was not included in the original selection are justified.
Jamie Heaslip – 6/10
Made a nuiscance of himself around the park, some decent carries, but did go missing for a significant period.
Eoin Reddan – 2
Was under real pressure with a pack back-pedalling, but should have done better. Once Stringer was introduced, immediately the game changed. Reddan should not keep his place for the New Zealand game.
Jonny Sexton – 5
Sexton didn’t control the game. While an incompetent scrum-half can be partly to blame for Sexton’s performance, he should have done better, and can, if he is paired with Stringer.
Luke Fitzgerald – 8
Great game from Fitz: looked world-class in an otherwise ordinary side. Great carries, and three line-breaks.
Gordon D’Arcy – 4/10
Poor game by D’Arcy’s standards, didn’t carry the ball enough and conceded 2 turnovers.
Brian O’Driscoll – 4/10
While defensively was decent, one stat stands out: he didn’t run one meter with ball in hand over 80 minutes!
Tommy Bowe – 8/10
Took his try brilliantly. A great player, and an impressive performance that deserved better service from those inside him.
Rob Kearney – 4
Was caught out badly for the 2nd South Africa try. Positionally poor, and didn’t see to be too confident under the high ball, albeit in very difficult conditions.
Tom Court – 6 – Brought more solidity to the scrum when he came on.
Stringer – 7 – Completely changed the game when he came on, and the last 20 minutes was like watching a different game.
Ronan O’Gara – 7 – We need to see Sexton outside Stringer to make a fair comparison. ROG came on and immediately bossed the tempo of the game. Was involved with the setup of both tries, and was unlucky with his conversion that hit the post with 5 minutes to go.
Donnacha Ryan – 5 – An improvement on Mick O’Driscoll, but could not reverse the lineout woes single-handedly. Decent at the breakdown.