Luke Fitzgerald – 7
After a shaky start where he seemed to be trying ‘too-hard’, Fitzgerald improved greatly as the game went on. Made a superb break after 19 minutes which almost put Sexton through for a try. Starting to look more comfortable in the 15 jersey.
Fergus McFadden – 6
Looked solid and assured in his first game for the senior squad. Very unlucky not to get a hold of the stray pass from O’Driscoll which would have resulted in a try. Made a couple of nice offloads to keep the ball alive.
Brian O’Driscoll – 6
Had a bit of a slow start, butchered an early try-scoring opportunity by throwing a very loose pass outside him. Took his try clinically in the second half, spotting the mismatch of Castrogiovanni and darted in for the score.
Gordon D’Arcy – 4
Ireland could have certainly left “Dorce-outside” for this game, he had a shocker! Almost every time he got the ball he managed to bungle it and knock-on. Surprised he managed to stay on the field for 76 minutes, speaks volumes for the Irish management.
Keith Earls – 7
Looks much more comfortable playing on the wing it has to be said, he made some lovely breaks. Always looked hungry for work making himself available for every attack.
Jonathan Sexton – 6
Definitely offers more in attack than O’Gara, his physicality was on show when he dumped Italian second row Quintin Geldenhuys on his posterior at the end of the first half.
Tomás O’Leary – 3
Hasn’t shown anything like his pre-injury form since coming back. Very slow on the ball, taking extra steps, and seemed off the pace. This combined with the Italian defense rushing, gave the backline no time whatsoever to create anything. Reddan didn’t offer anything different when he came on, Peter Stringer needs to be included in the match 22 next week.
Cian Healy – 4
Healy struggled in the scrum, got pinged multiple times for not binding correctly and knees hitting the deck early. Seemed to be the weak-link in the Irish scrum.
Rory Best – 5
Lineouts were not perfect by any means but the stats show that we only lost 1 from 8 on our own throw. Didn’t carry as much as he normally would, showed a fearsome defensive display to keep the Italians out.
Mike Ross – 5
Probably one of the toughest international games that Ross has played in. The Italian pack was impressive, but Ross gave a good account of himself. Got penalised early on by Poite, for reasons known only to himself. Made two turnovers and carried the ball
Donncha O’Callaghan – 7
Aggressive, industrious and mischievous. Highest tackle count of the Irish players, always a nuisance in the lineout. Gave away one silly penalty but that was the only blot on his copybook for the day. My man of the match.
Paul O’Connell – 6
Made a couple of handling errors early on, but is improving with every game. Faded slightly towards the end of the game and was replaced. Will improve as the competition rolls on.
Denis Leamy – 5
Did carry the ball a lot but offered little penetration, didn’t seem to get involved as much as the game wore on. His yellow card was harsh, as he seemed to take the rap for the infringements that went before him.
David Wallace – 6
Wallace looked good early on and faded in the second half. Again, lots of carries but few line breaks. Parisse demonstrated how it should be done.
Seán O’Brien – 6
Had a very quiet first 40 minutes. Had one superb break only to get caught in two-minds and fumble the ball. Turned over the ball on a couple of occasions and also kept himself busy in defence.
Eoin Reddan – 5
Solid enough, good in defence combining with Earls to bring Parisse down towards the end of the game. Doesn’t bring the snappy pass that Stringer would have brought to the game.
Ronan O’Gara – 6
Being hailed as the hero and man who saved Ireland, truth be told, Sexton would have nailed the drop-goal. (Not to detract from ROG’s cool-head).
Leo Cullen, Seán Cronin, Tom Court and Paddy Wallace (all 76 mins) Rating: Not on long enough to be rated