RWC 2011: Ireland Player Ratings v USA

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

13 thoughts on “RWC 2011: Ireland Player Ratings v USA

  1. Cannot believe that You have given the top rating of 8 and man of match to Jamie Heaslip! Are you Jamie’s mother.

    Jamie was very poor and the only time I noticed him was when he caught two good line out balls. In spite of a dominant scrum, he did nothing off the base of the scrum and was pretty anonymous. Is he carrying the “after effects” of injury sustained in England match? Had Wallace been avaialble, I think Jamie would be dropped on yesterdays display and the backrow would have been Ferris, O Brien and Wallace!

    Jamie has a tendency to disappear when the going gets tough. He looks great when Ireland dominate the forward exchanges.

    I also think that Ross and Court as a pair do not help the overall effort around the field and while Ross is a super scrummager, we cannot afford to carry Court as well. Healy will be welcomed back!

    A look again at the match will show that Murray was better than thought and that Reddan did not add much . It woudl have been better to see Murray paired with O Gara and indeed Sexton to be placed at inside centre. Sexton lost out because of his kicking but he still offered more than Darcy.

    Think we are paying the penalty of having two treatment room veterans in the centre. They are not fit and certainly not match fit. Even Paddy Wallace might be worth a gamble!

  2. sure what were people expecting! from the first 5 mins their was no fear of us loosing that match! their was zero intensity from ireland i can guarantee their will be an urgency in the irish forwards and defense that wasn’t seen against america! do u blame them i don’t u could see it in bods tackles he wasn’t committing 100% cos if they broke the line we could handle it i’m sure he will be putting his body on the line next week cos if they get a line break we will be punished! agree mc fadden for darcy my team would be
    1 healy 2 best 3 ross 4 cullen 5 o’connel 6 ferris 7 o’brien 8 heaslip 9 reddan 10 sexton 11 trimble 12 mc fadden 13 bod 14 bowe 15 kearny 16 flannery 17 court 18 O’Callaghan 19 leamy 20 boss 21 rog 22 earls

    1. I agree with Rick in his team selection except I would stick with Murray at 9 and have Reddan on the bench
      the 9/10 channel needs to be strong both in defence and attack Murray and Sexton are our best option with Ione out Australia will have OConner or Mitchel defending @10 Cooper will be down the park waiting on the kick so he can counter.
      If we put pressure on Genia we can win this game our pack are more than a match for Australia danger man is Pocock

  3. Agree with most of above.

    I didn;t think Heaslip did a whole lot in the game, but definitely he wasn;t atrocious ….compared to Darcy for example…. again :-( He is not only not fit, but each injury he gets seems to be making him make worse decisions – unforgivable giving that ball away for the US try – the US guy was there for an eternity before Darcy threw the ball…. doesn’t seem to look around even…. I think he should be dropped.

    I don’t agree with Pat about Murray – he’s not great. Perhaps due to inexperience and he could get to make a bigger impact in time. But NO WAY should he start against Oz. Reddan didn’t have a whole lot of time to make a huge difference, but he made a difference.

    Tending to agree with Pat about putting Sexton into the centre – he is deceivingly tall and strong. I think he would play well there, and leave O’Gara to do the place kicking because I think overall he has done this better than Sexton for the last several games. ROG is able to control the game in Irelands favour by putting the opposition under pressure in their half; Ireland forwards look like they are going to be our saving grace in this tournament… so far anyway. But why not Sexton in center with BOD. Bowe and Trimble on wings with Murphy at full back.

    Earls is another concern…. but could come good fingers crossed. His destiny seems to be directly linked to Ireland team i.e. if the Irish team as a whole clicks then you will see Earls playing a stormer….. unfortunately at the moment though there are too many mistakes by Earls …. and having an effect on the team as a whole.

    We still have the talent on the squad to do Australia damage. If the team can click (i.e not dropping balls, completing passes etc) and get some momentum going we could POTENTIALLY beat any team with some luck on the day. I am thinking of the 6 nations this year where we struggled to get firing on all cylinders until the final game as England…. and then we thumped them. Its like the players as individuals having been waiting for this game to shine….. I just hope that they haven’t dented their confidence too much over the last while that they will not have faith in one another… which they must have in order to click.

  4. I would start with Boss, O Gara and McFadden. Back to basics put the ball in behind the aussies, get the head in front, and hit everything in gold that moves. A place kicker is going to determine the outcome of this one.

    1. Putting the ball behind the Aussies and we will be defending all day we need to keep the ball in hand and let the Aussies do the defending ,they are far better in attack they are a man short in defense Cooper
      I agree with McFadden in to replace DArcy this also gives us another good kickerl

  5. now that digby is injured it makes irelands chances better cos copper might defend the ten channel now instead of being in the fullback position in defensive positions! sexton can kick the ball over the bar as good as o’gara pretty sure he missed his attempt as well! the wind was crazy he will be grand against oz i still believe we can win boss is great but his passing really sucks!

  6. Jamie Heaslip 8. You must be joking. At the back of a scrum that was totally dominant how many carries/breaks did he make. Easy to count – none. That’s from a a so called world class number 8 (world class if you are a blinkered Leinster supporter. Heaslip was even more ineffective than Jenno. If you think Heaslip was man of the match then you really havn’t a clue. A masterclass in scrum pla???????. Were you watching the same match? He didn’t make one break from thr back of a dominant scrum. Useless!!!!!!!

  7. Throw the 2nd string in against Australia. The team waiting for us in the long grass is Italy. They will get their bonus point against USA so we will probably have to beat them to get through to the quarters. Then maybe we’ll have our day in the sun with a big display against South Africa.

  8. me thinks we are in big trouble it feels like 2007 all over again i was really down after watching the game yesterday morning and the players looked like they didnt want to be there. i hope i am wrong and they have something up their sleves but i think it could be an early flight home for them.

  9. Lads firstly please don’t say that we should put sexton in at first centre, that’s a ridiculous idea. Why would we move (at the moment) our first choice out-half to first centre. Right before we play Australia who are on serious form and ranked no. 2 team in the world. If Kidney drops D’arcy, which in my opinion he should simply down to his form then McFadden should play at no. 12. Why bring these players to new zealand if kidney does not trust them, players should be picked on form alone and not on past achievements. We will be right back to where we were with Eddie O’Sullivan before we know it if we can’t award players on their current form.
    Murray has done enough for me to start at scrum half, with Reddan on the bench to come on and mix up the tempo. Boss cannot be there simply because he has not got enough game time which is not his fault, it is kidneys but you can’t expect boss to play against the current tri nations camps and be on top form and up to the game speed.
    Sexton would start if he gets his place kicking back under control, I feel we also need his defensive skills as we have a small first centre and no number 7 to cover since Jennings proved he is not up to the standards, even when playing against the U.S. (I am a huge fan of Shane’s for leinster but something is missing at test level.)
    Trimble has to start on the wing, he was by far our best back in the august series and he gives us size also which we do lack which showed when we played against England and France in august. If bowe is ready he also gets the nod at the other wing spot which places earls on the bench I’m afraid.
    Our best forward in august was Obrien and that is why I would play him at no. 8. We cannot place our best ball carrier out of position, that would be madness. Heaslip is quality but just hasn’t hit top form for a little while now and that is why I would but him at no.7 and let him try and tackle Pocock and just get stuck in down in the rucks / mauls. Obrien has played at no.8 for leinster so he is familiar with that position.

    My team to play Australia:
    1 healy 2 best 3 ross 4 cullen/O’Callaghan 5 o’connel 6 ferris 7 heaslip 8 o’brien 9 murray 10 sexton 11 trimble 12 mc fadden 13 bod 14 bowe 15 kearney/murphy 16 flannery 17 court 18 o’callaghan/ cullen 19 leamy 20 reddan 21 rog 22 earls

    Bottom line kidney has to trust his squad and learn from mistakes we made in 2007 WCF. Trust McFadden, trust murray, reddan, cullen.

  10. Heaslip man of the match – LOL. I thought Buckley was bad at the player rating – bring back buckers!!!

    Some tough calls, but here are the main ones:

    2: As an ulster fan I have to opt for Best lol. In fairness he had a cracking game V the US and the flan has had little gametime over the last coupel of years. Flan will make an impact off the bench so bring him on after 50 mins.
    7. Very tough call. I’d love a genuine openside but I jennings is probably a year away from this level. I guess it has to be SOB but it’s far from ideal. I’d be tempted to go with jennings and have ferris as an impact sub.
    9. All equally crap so will make no difference….
    10. Tough call. Can’t see us kicking the ball away all day I guess Sexton is the man.
    12. PW and D’arcy have been equally poor of late. Although PW did have a good game away in France. I guess you have to go with the d’arcy-BOD leinster partnership but d’arcy has been sooooooo poor it’s not funny. McFadden has not had enough gametime at 12 for Ireland.
    11. I’d choose Trimble over earls all day.
    15. Not much to choose between them. Murphy has had a couple of games now so stick with the devil you know.

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