15. Geordan Murphy – 6/10
Was rarely needed, did okay when he was, bar for one dropped catch. Fullback will be one of many tough selection decisions for Declan Kidney for the Australia game.
14. Tommy Bowe – 6/10
Went from butterfingers to try scoring hero. Those scores will do wonders for his confidence and hopefully he’ll be used a lot more next week.
13. Brian O’Driscoll – 6/10
On the few occasions the ball got beyond 12, the skipper acted more like a second fly-half. Still, he tackled well and played a key part in the third try.
12. Gordon D’Arcy – 4/10
Never mind the fluffed pass that led to the USA try – he dropped a pass, put too much on an offload to Bowe, but mostly it was that he’s lost his ability to gain after the tackle. Should this Rugby World Cup campaign go the way of the last one, Kidney’s greatest crime could be not moulding a suitable replacement at 12.
11. Keith Earls – 6/10
Had a good early break then looked like a deer in the headlights and got a knock to the head for his trouble. But for an unlucky bounce towards the end would have secured the bonus point try, otherwise he was rarely involved, not his fault.
10. Jonathan Sexton – 5/10
Showed a glimpse of his Heineken Cup winning self with his involvement in the opening try at the end of the first half but his early missed place kick in the second rattled his confidence again. Tried to mix things up with cross kicks when perhaps he didn’t need to. It was right that he was taken off but I’m not so sure his place next week is in jeopardy.
9. Conor Murray – 6/10
Made some good bursts forward but his distribution was poor. Had he more experience at this level I could say it was like having Tomás O’Leary at 9, but overall it was good that he has his first start under his belt and he will improve.
1. Tom Court – 5/10
Was “steady as she goes” in the scrum bar from one pen, but offered little in the loose. Cian Healy very much needed next week.
2. Rory Best – 7/10
Gave away a couple of penalties but with his mastery of the maul off the line out, the Ulster skipper could well have earned the 2 jumper for next week. Of course the well-taken try didn’t hurt either!
3. Mike Ross – 7/10
Has to get his due for the steadiness of the scrum, and also the succession of well-executed line outs. Wanted him wrapped in cotton wool towards the end but sadly we couldn’t afford to.
4. Donncha O’Callaghan – 5/10
Put himself about on defence but offered little overall. Can’t see him losing his place though.
5. Paul O’Connell – 6.5/10
The centrepiece of a near-flawless line out. Didn’t see much of the ball otherwise but I feel his remit was to police the USA aggression at the breakdown.
6. Stephen Ferris – 7/10
Could be hitting his form at just the right time. American first tacklers just couldn’t find a way to stop him, and he got more than enough carries to prepare him for what lies ahead next week.
7. Shane Jennings – 4/10
Largely invisible until the TV replay of a key second half ruck where the ball was left unprotected, the Americans pile over the ball and you see his 7 jersey arrive in the picture about an hour too late. Should play no part next Saturday.
8. Jamie Heaslip – 8/10
Easily Ireland’s man of the match. Took a good early catch, made gains when he had the ball, played his part in our line out dominance and gave a masterclass in Number Eight scrum play.
16. Jerry Flannery – 5/10
Never got near ushering the post-line out maul the way Best did, but will still be key off the bench next weekend.
17. Tony Buckley – 4/10
Supposedly on the tour for his “versatility” between 1 and 3, he proceeded to kick the ball back to the Americans in his first scrum. Will be in the stands when we play Australia.
18. Donnacha Ryan
Was not used
19. Denis Leamy – 5/10
Offered precious little to improve on Jennings’ display, but I expect the Munster man to be on the bench next week with Sean O’Brien wearing 7.
20. Eoin Reddan – 7/10
Got the back line moving and offered good support for Rory Best’s try. Must start next week.
21. Ronan O’Gara – 6.5/10
Missed his first place kick but put a couple of trademark lobs into the corners. His chip for Earls at the end was one of those that would’ve been genius if it came off, yet was a questionable option since it didn’t.
22. Andrew Trimble – 6/10
Went straight on the wing therefore never was going to see much of the ball – did one poor clearance kick but still must at least retain 22 jumper as reward for his form in August.
By JL Pagano