Ireland v Wales: Wales player ratings

wales

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.

Replacements: 6
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

13 thoughts on “Ireland v Wales: Wales player ratings

  1. How on earth has Phillips got a 6.5. Putting in tackles round the fringes is not a plus point for a scrum half. He should be organising his pack. Slow pass, dithering on the ball, terrible decision making and the temperament of a child.

    Would also lower Lydiates mark, thought he was awful.

    Outside of Warburton, Faletau and Hibbard, I thought Wales were awful.

    Really surprised me, I thought this was going to be a fantastic game for the neutral, nice and tight. Wasn’t the case at all unfortunately.

    1. Agree with what you’ve said. I didn’t notice Phillips quick service. I thought he looked more ponderous than normal. As for Lydiate, what does he offer apart from tackling? It’s not even destructive tackling anymore like it used to be. I thought he showed better glimpses last week, but a step backwards again this week. Would be interested to see his carrying statistics as every time I see him carry, he seems to get knocked backwards.

  2. Think Ireland identified the best way to play against Wales. They kicked a lot of possession away, turning North and Cuthbert constantly. Seems that Wales are coached (sensibly I might add) not to try and run it from their line, so they kicked a lot of it back to Ireland.

    Wales looked good when they had the ball in Irish territory, but the Irish defence was strong enough to keep them out, partly due to the fact that the game was quite stop-start, so Wales weren’t able to tire out the Irish over periods of sustained pressure.

    Will be interesting to see if other teams try to replicate the Irish approach, and also what answers Wales come up with as a result of this.

  3. Mike Phillips as got into some childish Twitter spat with a guy from One Direction and has invited him to join the big boys at training . Perhaps Mike can go off and join a boy band and we’ll take the One Direction guy at scrum half he’d probably get the ball out a bit quicker .

  4. Scores look a little high for some players – Lydiate and Phillips in particular.

    Adam Jones just looks knackered. Could probably do with a few months off. Nothing like the player he was last year

    Someone replied to a comment of mine last week to say that AWJ doesn’t go missing from matches any more. Well, he seems to be back to his bad old ways. Barely noticed he was on the field.

  5. Phillips ran up blind alleys and risked Wales’ already-precarious possession an awful lot to get a 6.5. He was utter bilge, a 4 would be kind

  6. If Phillips retired, the only thing Wales would miss is his aggression – and is that a bad thing? Wales had more tempo and direction when Priestland was at SH! His defence is massive but is that a job of a SH? Only problem who replaces him ……. Webb not up to it in my opinion, but i like the speed of ball Rhodri Williams provides.
    Thing that is most alarmingis that there is clearly no plan B. Our older players who have been our most reliable players over the last few years are struggling, especially Gethin Jenkins and Adam Jones at scrum time – again Wales looked more solid when the replacements came on! As Jiffy said, pick on form not reputation.

  7. On a side note, I would like Liam Williams to be cited for the after the try slide and cheap shot. His little dig wasn’t the first or the worst I’ve seen, but I’ve noticed it more and more recently, players sliding in with their knees leading into backs and so on. Sometimes it’s in the act of tackling and trying to wrap legs under the ball to percent grounding and that’s legitimate, but so often it’s just nasty.

    And, like I say, it wasn’t the worst example, in that it was fairly innocuous in the results, but it was the definition of a cheap shot, and I’d think a few citings would reduce it out quickly.

  8. well, i’m a bit surprise that you put such good rates for a failure game, and also you gave france almost the same. Don’t get blind by the legend man…

  9. At least Phillips was running his mouth at the opposition and not the ref…
    Can tell this was heartbreaking. Not even the mighty welsh debater brighty has chipped into the discussion!

  10. The S Times rugger hack also put the boot into the Welsh ratings & conversely sang Irish praises.

    I’d expected a more competative match, esp as Wales had a pretty decent side on paper, apart, maybe, from 1st choice @ lock & centre?

    Ireland also had a couple missing, e.g. @ b/row, but they still put the points on the board.

    I was somewhat surprised to see a Joe Schmidt side kick so much, even allowing for the rain. There seemed to be universal(?) applause for Sexton’s booting to the corners. Admittedly he did so with some apomb, esp when forcing the Welsh defender into touch 5 yds from the r.h. corner. However, there was at least one glaring occasion when he ignored his b/line, with good attack options to his left, to once more robotically hoof it to the oppo goaline corner. For me there should have been a more variety to the Irish attack. It’s good to get into good habits, like the scoring of Trimble’s try on the right v Scoland. If it’s wet, the backs should stand closer together… & not use the weather as an excuse? They may need a more ambition before the 6N’s is over.

    Anyway maybe Wales had teh Novovirus.

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