RBS Six Nations 2012: Ireland Player Ratings v France

15. Rob Kearney – 9.5

As near to perfect as anyone can ever be. His tackling was immaculate, he kicked the ball accurately and with length, or with perfect precision for his kick and chases, he broke the line with silky ease and I believe he could catch a ping pong ball dropped from a helicopter in a force 9 gale. I have never seen a better player under the high ball. Deserved to be on the winning side. My MOTM

14. Tommy Bowe – 9

His speed up to the French backs in defence created the first try (along with the ‘cadeaux’ from Rougerie) and almost created two more interception tries in a crazy first half. You could argue he should have passed for Kearney for the second, but ultimately, he scored, so it’s hard to criticise. 5 tries in 3 games for Ireland’s finisher, a great all round game

13. Keith Earls – 7

Did well, particularly in defence and in the first half, though in the second half what bits he did always seemed to be at fingertips and he didn’t really give his side the forward momentum they required. Finally growing into the centre position?

12. Gordon D’Arcy – 6

Solid enough without ever providing any focal point for attack. I docked him, harshly maybe, 1 whole point for the brainless knock-on at 17-17 when O’Gara was sniffing glory

11. Andrew Trimble – 6

Did reasonably in defence but on two or three occasions he hared up chasing kicks and was completely sidestepped by Poitrenaud and others. Pretty anonymous again in attack.

10. Jonathan Sexton – 7

Did a lot of great work at the breakdown and in defence, and while he kicked reasonably, he will regret the awful early shank which could have ended up being the difference between the sides

9. Conor Murray – 6

Much better than last week (could he have been any worse?). He kicked better, he defended well, but, and it is a big but, he still looks one paced when trying to break and his pass takes more winding than an 18th century clock. Looked to get a nasty injury and fingers crossed he will be back before long

1. Cian Healy – 8

Showed well both in the scrum and in the loose. He carried the ball forward, did some uncompromising clearing out at the ruck, and generally hunted hungrily for work throughout the game

2. Rory Best – 6

Since the BBC showed footage of him preparing for the games with his secret line-out training barn at home, his line-out work has been very approximative. He missed O’Connell on a few big occasions today and gave away what could have been a costly late penalty for hands in the ruck. Counter that by a better showing in the loose, but still no more than 6

3. Mike Ross – 7

Up against a form scrummager in Poux, and while he did well to keep him relatively quiet, he was pretty anonymous versus previous weeks

4. Donnacha O’Callaghan – 6

Nothing special again, but nothing disastrous either. I get the feeling that there really is very little left in the tank.

5. Paul O’Connell – 6

Led the side well, but his line-out work lacked consistency and he wasn’t as dominant as in previous weeks. The burden of carrying his second row colleague starting to show?

6. Stephen Ferris – 8

Again showed as the best of the much vaunted Irish back row. Tackled well, carried well, supported well. Basically just in tremendous form.

7. Sean O’Brien – 7

Better. Seemed to be much more present, and maybe spent a little less time at the bottom of the ruck. Not happy to be substituted, but he is suffering as Ferris is performing to World Class in his favoured 6 shirt

8. Jamie Heaslip – 6

Another underwhelming performance from Heaslip. He seems to have lost that little bit of impetus which he always provided. Maybe time for a break?


All 7 were used, with varying degrees of success and impact. Reddan once more replaced Murray, this time through injury, and instantly sped up the play from the base of the breakdown and added zip when he had the ball in hand. O’Gara and McFadden both had very little impact, surprisingly in the case of O’Gara as the odds must have been on him dropping a late goal . Ryan and O’Mahony both added something when they came on, but Court and Cronin had way too little time to have even a slight impact.

by Mark Bonsall

21 thoughts on “RBS Six Nations 2012: Ireland Player Ratings v France

  1. Heslip needs to be dropped. I still think he can be a fantastic player for the future, but players need to be under pressure for their place, and he silly hasn’t been. He hasn’t performed for a year now. Give Rhys Ruddock a go at 8, or move O’Brien there and see how he goes. I reckon that’s the best way to get Heaslip back firing in the future.

  2. @hugh; I agree with your sentiments but I’m assuming you mean give Ruddock a go at Leinster yeah? And for Ireland Peter O’Mahony???

    1. Agree about Ruddock but not O Mahony. Still unproven at this level. Niall Ronan and Couglan are ahead of him at Munster. He only started HEC due to Ronan’s injury. Don’t write off Heaslip, everyone is very quick to forget his pedigree. He is almost always the one to come away with important turnovers. We could have lost had he not got that one at the end. Thought he carried well too.

      1. Heaslip is not getting any younger though, so we need alternatives.
        Same goes for half the team. Coach change please!

  3. Oh and I’d disagree with POC’s rating above, I thought his workrate was IMMENSE. He snaffled every loose ball that came his way and was first to most breakdowns…. I’d bring him up to 7.5/8 imo.

    DOC should be rested against Scotland with Ryan in….

    1. POC was between a 6 and a 7 for me. He was outplayed both in the line-out and in the loose by the French second rows plus Harinordoquy.

  4. Healy is at least 2 points more than he should be, was pretty anonymous in the loose and gave away 2 penalties, for which France scores off one and he was lucky not to be in the bin for the other one

    1. I hesitated between 7 and 8 for a fair time, but to suggest between 5 and 6, which you seem to, is a little harsh for me. Yes he gave a couple of silly penalties away (modern day prop’s disease) but to say he was anonymous in the loose is a little off. I thought he carried well, he cleared out rucks time and again and always looked for work. On the whole though I thought he got the upper hand of Mas and helped give Ireland more of a base than I thought they would have in the scrum.

      1. Healy’s stats beg to differ, Metres run with the ball – 3, tackles made – 2 of which he missed one, penalties conceded – 2.

        That’s a rating of 6 at best in my book.

        1. I don’t like trotting out the old line but you can make statistics say anything. How many times did Healy provide counter-rucking? How many times did he seal off the ball? How many times did he help slow down French ball? You seem to be completely overlooking his efforts in the tight too, where he was solid.

          As I said, a 7 maybe, but a 6? Never.

  5. Agree with the comments on Ferris. Shoe in for the lions with Lydiate on the bench? I think the guy is just an incredible athlete that puts a major shift in every time he plays. Hope he doesn’t get to big, would be a shame if he lost his pace.

  6. my team for scotland
    Ryan,o connell
    Ferris,o mahony,o brien
    sebo,mc fadden,earls,bowe,kearney

    1. With Paulie out now what do you think is the best set up for Scotland?
      Did not think reddan was stunning either, he now has a hige chance to nail that positioin down for himself, the measure will be if he can take it.

      1. I would start dan touhy as tight head lock with ryan loose head o’callanagh on the bench for second row o’brien on the bench, redan sexton D kearny, mc fadden, earls, bowe, R kearny bench the same pretty much boss in for 9 cover trimble o’callaghan drop to bench

  7. I have to say that I thought that POC got through a huge amount of work in the loose and when he tired the Irish effectiveness dwindled. Thought you were a bit generous to the backs not named Bowe and Kearney.

  8. Well it depends who he’s propping against for a start. Solid against me would be a 1, but solid against a World Class prop is different. That’s then a starting base for a rating, and as I keep saying, but you don’t seem to want to acknowledge ;-), he did much more work around the fringes.

    Anyway, we disagree, that’s life.

  9. I think it just goes to show that France are obviously the better force in rugby, as their collective ratings (in the opinion of TRB) reached about 95 as opposed to Ireland’s 103. Surely the team that plays less well and comes out on top (or in this case draws) is the better team. Or perhaps I’m just stating the obvious.
    One thing is for sure, both Ireland and France’s performance was good enough to beat England.

    1. Not sure how you work that out Charlie,

      Neither the Irish or the French performance would have been good enough to have beaten Wales or England on their last performances.

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