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.