Ireland v England 6 Nations 2013: Ireland player ratings


15. Rob Kearney – 6
Credit to Kearney, he provided a safe pair of hands despite the wet conditions which contributed to some shocking errors amongst his teammates.

14. Craig Gilroy – 6
Gilroy hasn’t set the championship alight yet, but had another reasonable game given limited opportunities.

13. Brian O’Driscoll – 6
A new dad after his wife, Amy, gave birth to a baby girl just hours before the game. Even the great man caught the bug as handling errors cost Ireland dear. To his credit he carried on after picking up an ankle injury.

12. Gordon D’Arcy – 5
His inability to keep hold of the ball cost Ireland at key moments, and after a return to form in recent weeks he struggled to make any inroads against the starting English centre pair, and Tuilagi.

11. Simon Zebo – 4
There were no dazzling football skills this weekend as Zebo was forced to withdraw only 10 minutes into the game with a suspected broken metatarsal that would end his championship prematurely.

10. Jonny Sexton – 4
Sexton had an unusually quiet half hour before pulling his hamstring hacking the ball forward. He now faces a race against time to be fit for Scotland in two weeks.

9. Conor Murray – 5
This wasn’t a good day at the office for the Munster scrum-half, who might have kissed goodbye to his chances of making the Lions tour. Apart from well directed box kicks his execution and decision making was poor and increased the pressure on a struggling O’Gara.

1. Cian Healy – 5
It remains to be seen whether Healy faces a ban after his unsavoury stamp in the first half. Otherwise the scrum held up well, but he didn’t carry as often as usual as Ireland failed to get over the gain line.

2. Rory Best – 7
There were a few dodgy throws from the Ulster hooker, but that aside his contribution to the Irish display was otherwise positive. Good work in the loose and in the scrum was again complimented by his efforts at the breakdown.

3. Mike Ross – 7
Solid as a rock at scrum time, Ross might feel slightly aggrieved that his teammates didn’t make more of that platform.

4. Mike McCarthy – 5
Twice culpable of spilling the ball under no pressure whatsoever, McCarthy was also guilty of taking the ball from a standing position thus making it virtually impossible to secure quick ball.

5. Donnacha Ryan – 5
Having been so impressive last weekend, we might have expected more in the engine room. Five tackles is a poor return for a second-row of his stature though the lineout was generally secure.

6. Peter O’Mahony – 6
Ireland’s most effective ball carrier in the opening period, he cut an increasingly frustrated figure and allowed his temper to boil over towards the end of the first half.

7. Sean O’Brien – 7
A much improved second-half performance which threatened to inspire an Irish comeback. Unfortunately, he picked up a knock which broke his stride and was replaced by Chris Henry in the fourth quarter.

8. Jamie Heaslip – 4
One to forget for the new captain, his hands let him down more than once and he conceded three penalties as Irish indiscipline gave Farrell opportunities to stretch England’s lead. His tackling was exemplary as usual, but only two metres is simply not enough. Is Heaslip a potential Lions captain? Not on this showing.

Replacements – 4
Keith Earls was an early replacement for the crooked Zebo, and made two clean breaks which came to nothing but make him favourite to start at Murrayfield in two weeks time. The late replacements failed to make any meaningful impact, though quite what Declan Fitzpatrick was meant to contribute coming on for the last lineout we’ll never know.
Worryingly for Ireland, without Sexton their play lacked any cutting edge. Ronan O’Gara entered the fray aiming to win the territorial battle, but he appeared hesitant and lacking match sharpness, which at 35 may signal the end of his illustrious international career.


27 thoughts on “Ireland v England 6 Nations 2013: Ireland player ratings

  1. Have Zebo and Murray been found wanting? I can’t help but feel it would be better to have a new manager, just even to shake things up with less Munster players and more Leinster and Ulster ones. Same old problems with inconsistency and more evidence that Kidney doesn’t have a good plan b. Atrocious conditions and a match that will be quickly forgotten. If it does ever again appear on TV (unlikely), I will change channels. Also I hope Healy gets a ban for that kind of behaviour.

    1. Sounds a little biased to say Zebo has been found wanted after breaking a metatarsal after ten minutes. Wouldn’t have happened to a Leinster guy?

  2. Really disgusted with Healy. I am a massive fan of his as a player. But quite simply, he could have broken Dan Cole’s ankle. Completely inexcusable.

    It seems that many of the Ireland forwards lost their temper a bit. O’Mahoney for me just looked like a stroppy child for most of the game.

    Mike Ross really impressed me. I would have him as second choice tight head (behind Cole), going into the Lions tour based on the first two rounds of six nations matches.

    1. i think healy had the red mist all afternoon. i think he knew cole had the upper hand in the scrum ,so thought hed even things up illegally!

      not good!!

      1. Haven’t seen all the stats yet but I think Healy lead the way for Brain Farts!

        No – not good!


  3. Jacob, I’d have some sympathy with Healy in fairness. Yes he lost the rag (more than once) and should probably have kept his cool, but the primary fault lies with he referee who had a poor game controlling the breakdown. Cole was just yet another English body deliberately lying on the wrong side of the ruck, he was making absolutely no attempt to move away at all.

    England constantly hasd players off their feet at rucks, particuallry in the Irish half as it was a strategic plan to slow down Irish ball at the breakdown and allow their rush defence to kill any resultant moves. He deserved a yellow for the stamp, slow-motion makes it look worse than it was and Cole himself would have been expecting some rucking (hence why he was able to continue).

    Fair dues to England though as ugly a game as they made it they executed their game plan very well, and aided by a massive error count and despite having only a third of possession and territory were the better focused side on the day…

    1. England employed the tactic a lot of Irish call “being streetwise” when they are inflicting it on others, surely it can’t become cheating when you get outdone at your own game?

      England had a pack who from 1-8 were exceptionally aggressive at the breakdown, Healy should have been taking out his frustration by getting to breakdowns faster and clearing out not driving in shoulders, forearms and stamps. A stamp on an exposed ankle, that he had a clear view of, can only be a deliberate attempt to cause a serious injury to an opponent, I would be dissapointed if he gets to play again in this championship.

      1. Couldn’t agree more Matt. Ireland were getting frustrated more and more because they were being outplayed t their own game. Against Wales last week Ireland had two players sin-binned for doing pretty much the same thing England did to them.

        1. If you look at the score prediction there was an Irish fan predicting a win for them due to them being more “streetwise” and pointed at the “professional fouls” (which is a fans way of excusing being dirty cheats) as evidence that Ireland’s nous would see them through against the callow England. As a neutral it was good to see England having none of it and giving it back in spades.

          1. have to completely agree withe Matt, Dazza and Brighty. ireland do this all the time.

            in fact the whole premis of the choke tackle is to hold the ball up to form a maul, then when it eventually collapses the irishmen dont have to role away, therefore making the ball unplayable.

            as brighty rightly pointed out, being “streetwise” is just a fans way of trying to justify cheating on their team’s part.

            its like Richie McCaw complaining about people being on the wrong side of rucks… people in glass houses and what not!

    2. Interesting angle on the Healy indicident – it was the refs fault that Healy tried to end Cole’s season because the ref didn’t sort out the breakdown (despite already penalising Cole for being on the wrong side at that very breakdown).

      Load of rubbish – if Healy had rucked him you might have a defence there but he ran in and stamped on his ankle. It doesn’t look any worse to me in slo-mo, it just looks exactly as it was, a cheap and cowardly assault on a player who couldn’t defend himself.

      Funny that I didn’t see Healy stamping on or punching anyone that wasn’t stuck under a mass of bodies?

      1. Also, if you look at the replay posted on this site, you can see that Murray already had the ball away when Healy stamped on Cole – absolutely no excuse.

        Brighty – you are correct. All of his aggression seemed to be aimed at isolated players who were unable to defend themselves

  4. This match proved that O’Gara is simply no good at this level any more. Most of the time he looked as if he was about to wet himself, like a child in the playground having his lunch money taking by a bully. It’s time for Ireland to find another back up fly half.

    And as for Healy………I notice you didn’t mention the punches. Don’t know if they were connecting, but either way he shouldn’t have been on the pitch. At least two yellow cards, if not a red for the stamping.

  5. mitchell, i think its tough to say Zebo was found wanting… he was on the pitch 10 mins…

    big shame that zebo is out for 10 weeks.

    with regards to the rest of the game. i would like to think O’Gara has played himself out of test rugby. he is the man who over the years has loved to beat england, and loved rugby in those conditions, and he couldnt produce the goods. that just shows that its time for a changing of the guard. not only can he no play like the ireland of old, but he definitely cannot play the style that the current (fast and exciting) ireland play. time for jackson, keatley, or madigan to get their chance.

    heaslip had a very poor game, but he will know that, and i am sure he will come back stronger.

    healy and o’mahony were examples of players being TOO up for a game. healy spent too much time looking for cheap shots that he didnt carry like he usually does. and o’mahony spent more time pushing and shoving after the whistle than during play!

    ryan was alright, but he does seem to have a bit of a tendency to carry on after the whistle, like o’mahony. i think he was lucky not to have a pen reversed at one point, as the ref had warned about carrying on after he had blown. then again, i am sure england were doing similar in that department, so i wont begrudge him much there.

    healy should have been binned, the stamp was right in front of the ref. the issue here is not so much that healy did it (obviously he should not have) but the fact that the ref didnt bin him, reverse the penalty, or even have a word was a joke! similarly, nigel owens completely ignored healy flying into a ruck with fists and knees going everywhere. Keith Wood was right at half time, saying if healy doesnt cool down he shouldnt come out for the second half. its all well and good trying to wind people up, but he could have been a big liability for ireland. fortunately for the other 14 irishmen on the pitch, the ref was spineless enough not to want to make a tough call, so healy carried on.

    huge credit to BOD. he looked to have taken a nasty knock, but he carried on, as he knew there was noone else available to come on. total warrior, and all on the day of his child’s birth. complete servant to irish rugby, and every nation would be so lucky to have such a great man for them. I am just glad that i am british, so that once every 4 years, when we join the irish, i can be proud that he plays for the team i support!

    1. simo, (if I could be a touch pedantic) Owens didn’t ignore Healy’s punches. He came onto the pitch and told him to calm down. His fault was in not recommending a sanction for them.

      1. fair point, but then my problem with this is more that Owens has completely negated his responsibility as a touch judge. if he had seen it, then Healy managed to get away with 2 illegal acts, which had been seen by officials. (although i see he has been cited for the stamp)

        i sometimes feel that officials at this level are afraid to make tough calls, as they think it will effect the result, and they dont back that they are making the right decision.

        healy did what players do. yes it wasnt pretty, but it has happened before, and it will happen again, the fact that owens saw it and still did not recommend any sanction is a disgrace.

        thanks for pointing this out blub. :)

  6. I actually thought that Healy scrummaged rather well, and I would suggest (from my armchair) that overall, it was an equal contest between him and Cole (in the scrums)

  7. It was quite a good game in its own right, i thoroughly enjoyed it, even if there were no tries.

    ROG should be out of the team now, bring Paddy Jackson in for the love of god. He’s a reliable player, and knows how to unleash players like Gilroy. Hope to see Sexton back against Scotland, fingers crossed!

    Respect to BOD, he played fairly well for being a brand-new father and threw an amazing pass once again, which sadly led to nothing.

    O’Brien was impressive and O’Mahoney as well, but I’d like Ferris back in the fray, Ireland is missing him more than they’d like to admit.

    Thought Kearney had a good game, better than in Cardiff anyway. I’d like to see Fitzgerald get a look in though, Earls has followed good games up with bad games a bit to much.

    1. You assemble an excellent diagnosis of the Irish team. And as a Paddy Jackson fan I wholeheartedly concur with your recommendation. I think the team amangement needs new rings and bearings.

      In general the Irish machine seems to be losing compression. The coaching needs the timing advanced as well.


      1. Thank you very much, highly appreciated since I’m belgian, not really the rugby background I’d like!

        In general though, Kidney seems to keep on favouring Munster players over the more in-form Ulster or Leinster players, although he has finally started to blood youngsters, which is a long awaited change. Paddy Jackson is a vitally needed replacement for the out of sorts ROG, especially as Sexton is 27 at the moment and an experienced young fly-half is never a bad thing to have.

        I feel like I have to give credit where it’s due as well: amazing job by the irish coaches in terms of defence! The irish keep on displaying a brilliant defensive performance consistently, and although they should try to cut back on penalties given away they were highly impressive in this facet.

        Also, I forgot to look out for O’Callaghan, but in recent Munster games I thought he was in the form of his life, just throwing this out there for no particular reason.

        1. You’re welcome. As an Australian marooned in the Rugby desert of the US, the international matches are a welcome respite to the boring British matches.

          Rugby will never thrive in the US until someone markets the sport professionally. Promotion here is simply pathetic.

          And I wouldn’t argue with anyone from Belgium after seeing this clip:

          I am an Irish fan by virtue of my family’s heritage and really enjoyed Ulster 2012. In general, Irish rugby seems to lack compression on a couple of cylinders.

          The BOD and ROG show seems to lack lustre. ROG seemed hesitant last Saturday. Always great to see Sean O’Brien do his impersonation of a runaway truck.

          Ireland desperately needs a plan ‘B’ and I think PJ is the answer…

  8. Mark for Ross looks high to me. Marler had him in all sorts of trouble from the start, not all of it noticed by the ref. If Cole had scrummaged with his usual force, the Irish scrum would have been in real trouble

    Admittedly, Ross improved later but he does not offer much beyond the scrum.

    Still behind Cole and Jones for me – possibly on equal terms with Murray

  9. A well wrutten article!

    For the first time I know your reporter and I watched the same game. I can only concur with the comment that the coach possesses no plan ‘B’. And slecting injured players will be soon exposed at this level of competition, as it was in this match!

  10. Well here we go again, same old provincial bashing when we lose always blame Munster. Let me s ay first off that as a munster man i have being looking for the end of the road for o’gara for 3 or 4 years now but he is still a media darling for some reason. Despite the result i thought that Ireland actually were quite solid and it was touch and go for the entire game. But the loss of Sexton was the big turning point and the loss of o’connell ,Bowe and Ferris is really going to hurt now. Madigan is the man to fill in not p j who is only there as a sop to Ulster as he is not nearly good enough for this level yet anyway. J j Hanrahan needs to be seriously looked at very soon also as does the connacht s half. Overall though Ireland are putting a very good team together. Championship still on as Wales will beat eng in cardiff in last match me think.

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