RBS Six Nations 2011: Wales Player Ratings versus Ireland

15. Lee Byrne – 6/10

A solid enough showing, blighted only by a couple of errors. Still far from the attacking force of previous seasons, but made a crucial tackle at the end.

14. Leigh Halfpenny – 6

On his return from injury, the 22-year-old had very little time on the ball. He did however land a long distance penalty in the first-half.

13. Jamie Roberts – 7

The type of game the Cardiff Blues player was made for, with his barracking midfield runs getting Wales over the gain line consistently, while imposing himself defensively.

12. Jonathan Davies – 6

Not quite as impactful as his centre partner and the Llanelli product struggled at times to get to grips with his Irish counter-parts, but was generally solid enough.

11. Shane Williams – 6

Shane’s final Six Nations appearance in Cardiff was not the swan-song he would have been hoping for. The lack of space afford to him was an issue, and opted to kick the ball aimlessly a number of times. Out played by his Ospreys’ team mate Tommy Bowe.

10. James Hook – 7

The 25-year-old took most of the right options and kicked his goals in a composed fashion, but the Welsh backline was devoid of the creativity that should be expected from a player with his vision.

9. Mike Phillips – 7

The scrum-half responded to the growing calls to axe him with a determined showing. He may not be everybody’s cup of tea, but when Phillips gets his game going, the aggressiveness he posses is undeniably effective in giving Wales a platform. Still some questionable decision making, but more than made up for it by profiting from a piece of opportunism and inept officiating, to dive in for the match winning try.

1. Paul James – 7

Coped exceptionally well with having to switch to tight head so early on. He also made a bigger impact in the loose than in previous test outings.

2. Matthew Rees – 8

A captain’s performance from the former Pontypridd player. Made the hard yards up front and was largely accurate when throwing at the lineout. Rees’s quick thinking was responsible for setting up Phillips’ controversial score.

3. Craig Mitchell – 6

Dislocated his shoulder early on following a heavy tackle on Cian Healy and was replaced by John Yapp. Mitchell has proved a lot of people wrong in his unexpected elevation to the Welsh starting XV, and even though Adam Jones will be back for Paris next week, it will be a shame not to see him continue his development in test rugby.

4. Bradley Davies – 7

A high tackle rate, but very few ball carries from the lock. Davies has struggled to replicate the highs he reached in the Championship opener against England, but has helped solidify the Welsh lineout.

5. Alun Wyn-Jones – 8

Duelled excellently with the Irish jumpers at the lineout and made plenty of metres with ball in hand. Not one of his busier showings in a Welsh jersey but effective in everything he did do.

6. Dan Lydiate – 7

Defensively massive from the Newport Gwent Dragons’ flanker. The blindside in his debut Championship continues to grow into the Welsh six shirt, however he needs to impose himself more with ball in hand.

7. Sam Warbuton – 9

Hook may get the plaudits, but this was very much the Sam Warburton show, as far as Wales were concerned. His terrific support play was only surpassed by a tenacious defensive showing that nullified a highly rated Irish back-row.

8. Ryan Jones – 7

Whether or not number eight is his best position, the former-captain produced a performance of real substance, carrying effectively before being replaced on the hour mark as a precaution due to the calf-strain that threatened to rule him out of the match completely.

Replacements – 16.

Richard Hibbard – 6

Replaced Rees with ten minutes to go. The second choice hooker had little chance to impress, but coped admirably with entering the fray at such a key part of the game.

17. John Yapp -6

An early replacement for Mitchell, the Cardiff Blues fared well for a player who rarely features at any other time than the final quarter of matches.

18. Jonathan Thomas – 6

Replaced Ryan Jones in the final quarter, and filled the breach in the frenetic closing stages well.