15. Leigh Halfpenny: 5
Showed willingness to counter attack early on, after putting a lot of boot to ball against Italy last week, and slotted his only attempt at goal. But Halfpenny was kept quiet by the Irish defence throughout and was rattled by his British and Irish Lions understudy Rob Kearney, who was superior under the high ball.
14. Alex Cuthbert: 5
The Welsh flyer stuck to his wing for most of the match and was consequently starved of ball, but when he did get his hands on it, he was not given an inch by the Irish. The winger was also nowhere to be found when Johnny Sexton peppered the corners with probing kicks.
13. Scott Williams: 4
Williams was forced off early on after he sacrificed his shoulder in the process of clattering Brian O’Driscoll. If Jonathan Davies does not return soon, Wales will once again be left desperately short in the midfield.
12. Jamie Roberts: 6.5
The Welshman trudged forward throughout and occasionally managed to bully his way over the gain line but he was effectively shut down for most of the match and was given no room to manoeuvre by the green wall in front of him.
11. George North: 5
North was forced to move to outside centre after the departure of Williams, but it took him 50 minutes to impose himself on this match. And despite three typically powerful bursts, which troubled the Irish defence, he was fairly anonymous.
10. Rhys Priestland: 6
The Welsh fly half remained well positioned throughout to sweep up some of Sexton’s crafty kicks into the corners, in the absence of the Welsh wingers. He also kicked well out of hand in the opening exchanges but failed to orchestrate his powerful backline into any penetrating advances and resorted to hopeful kicking when they found no way through.
9. Mike Phillips: 6.5
He proved to be Wales’ most ferocious fringe defender and racked up an impressive tally of 11 tackles. Tried to raise the tempo with some abrasive charges and swift distribution but his efforts were in vain. He was also sin binned in the 80th minute for pathetically venting his frustration by involving himself in a pointless scuffle.
8. Taulupe Faletau: 6.5
Faletau was gallant with the ball in hand, making some influential carries in the wide channels but was unable to break down the Irish defence in close quarters and he failed to impose himself at the breakdown.
7. Sam Warburton: 5.5
The Welsh captain led the defensive charge with zeal and topped the tackle count with 14, but he did not get a look in at the breakdown, in the face of some ferocious Irish rucking, and made no ground with the ball in hand.
6. Dan Lydiate: 5
Lydiate conceded three penalties in the first nine minutes and remained fairly quiet after most of his early endeavours were punished abruptly by Wayne Barnes. Contributed with an industrious defensive display and managed 13 tackles in total. Seemed reluctant to take the ball on and never questioned the Irish defence.
5. Alun Wyn Jones: 4.5
Apart from one stealing one of Rory Best’s well placed throws, out of the hands of Paul O’Connell, Jones was overshadowed by his opposite man. He failed to show his usual willingness to take the ball in hand and did not lead the Welsh defensive charge with pace and aggression, as he usually does. But he was solid at the summit of the Welsh lineout.
4. Andrew Coombs: 6.5
Coombs looked sharp and dynamic at the lineout and showcased some nimble footwork and plenty of pace in the loose. One of the few Welsh forwards to ask any questions of home defence with some dynamic carries.
3. Adam Jones: 4
There are still doubts around his match fitness. Wavered in the scrum and was nowhere to be found in the loose.
2. Richard Hibbard: 4.5
The Welsh hooker displayed plenty of aggressive intent but he just could not keep hold of the ball. He was shut down by the Irish and, for once, he seriously struggled to get over the gain line. Flew out of the defensive line continuously in pursuit of tackles but was usually evaded by some simple footwork. He was also inconsistent at the lineout.
1. Gethin Jenkins: 4
Should never have played. Despite the Welsh treatment team’s best efforts and mountains of tape, the veteran prop clearly was not fit to play. He was anonymous in the loose and struggled at scrum time.
Liam Williams never got off the mark. The scrum was bolstered by the introduction of Paul James and Rhodri Jones. However, Jones doused any hopes of a Welsh revival when he conceded a stupid penalty, inches from the line. Ken Owens looked lively in the loose and solid at the lineout. Jake Ball contributed nothing more than some outstanding facial hair.
By Nathan Hyde (@NathanHyde2)
Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images