RWC Warm-Up: Ireland Player Ratings v England

15 Geordan Murphy – 7

Great return to the international fold for the Tigers captain, showed he still has juice in the tank matching Manu Tuilagi for pace in a one on one situation. Assured under the high ball, Rob Kearney will have to watch his back!

14 Tommy Bowe – 6

First game of the warm-ups, took a long time to get into the game, This was not aided by Ireland’s repeated habit of drifting wide with no penetration in the center. Needs more game time.

13 Keith Earls – 5

Earls was at fault for Tuilagi’s almost unchallenged try early in the game but he was probably the only back that could break the line in attack. Multiple times he skipped passed tackles, but as he looked up he had no support to offload to.

12 Gordon D’Arcy – 3

Another anonymous game for D’Arcy, has not shown any improvement in the last 2 matches he has played. Made Mike Tindall look dynamic.

11 Andrew Trimble – 6

Another decent performance from Trimble, similar to Bowe hampered by the lateral play of the Irish backline. When he drifts infield he looks dangerous.

10 Ronan O’Gara – 6

Opting to kick for touch instead of taking easy points on offer was a big mistake in yesterdays must-win game. Other than this, he surprised everyone by opting to run with the ball on a couple of occasions and making some decent ground.

9 Eoin Reddan – 5

Did decently, was under quite a bit of pressure at the rucks as England were quite aggressive in this area and weren’t shy of letting their presence felt.

1 Cian Healy – 7

Industrious, took some real punishment from the English pack, seemed to be getting singled out for it quite often. Unfortunate to sustain some damage to his eye socket which will mean he will miss Ireland’s first game against the USA in 2 weeks.

2 Jerry Flannery – 6

Looked comfortable, provide plenty of quality lineout ball for O’Connell and O’Callaghan to hoover up.

3 Mike Ross – 6

Scrums were on the whole, quite positive, winning one against the head in the first half should have been a big inspiration to the rest of the team but the scrum conceded a penalty 30 seconds later.

4 Donncha O’Callaghan – 6

Always looks a better player playing alongside Paul O’Connell, did well at the lineout and put in a good defensive performance.

5 Paul O’Connell (c) – 7

Extremely busy and committed, was Ireland’s best player on the day. Questionable decisions along with ROG on kicking for touch when points were on offer.

6 Stephen Ferris – 6

Ended up playing a full 80 minutes, was great to see him back with ball in hand, will need more game time to get up to match speed but looked in peak physical condition.

7 David Wallace – 6

Heartbreak for Wally, a seemingly innocuous tackle on the touchline for Tuilagi resulting in a serious knee injury has put an end to what was to be his 3rd World Cup.

8 Jamie Heaslip – 6

Only managed 34 minutes before being subbed off with a head injury. Unfortunate for Ireland as his ball-carrying abilities were missed.


16 Rory Best – 5

First action was a lineout throw which was crooked but made up for it with an audacious steal minutes later.

17 Tom Court – 6

Held his own against a strong English pack, needs more game time which he will probably get against USA.

18 Donnacha Ryan – 6

Early introduction due to Heaslip’s injury, decent shift but didn’t offer the same carries that Heaslip can.

19 Denis Leamy – 6

Introduced after Wallace’s injury, the Irish backrow was completely unbalanced after the two forced substitutions and this really affected the whole team. Leamy was busy in defense and managed a couple of carries.

20 Conor Murray – 7

Another good performance from Murray, introduced some pace into the attack when he came on.

21 Jonathan Sexton – 6

Kicked the ball more that ROG had done in the preceding 60 minutes, doesn’t seem to have the ability to change the game in the same vein that ROG can off the bench.

22 Fergus McFadden – 6

Came on for Trimble with 10 minutes to go, didn’t get too many opportunities to show what he can do.

by Conor Buckley

5 thoughts on “RWC Warm-Up: Ireland Player Ratings v England

  1. Another disaster looming for Ireland….no wins…no confidence…no direction, both on the field and off.. heres a headline i would like to read….Joe schmidt transplants kidney!

  2. Glad to see you’ve improved on the ratings game young buckers ;). Earls is fortunate to get a 5 methinks. He did a couple of nice side-steps but I’ve see John Hayes do a side step in the past – doesn’t make him an international 13. Attrocious attempt at a tackle which gave momentum to England. At best he’s a reasonable winger at this level but not a centre. Bowe is lucky to get a six – looked off the pace in my opinion and wasn’t running any great line – or was anyone else to be fair….

    Not sure about 6’s for Flan and Ross – apart from the scrum being decent they offered little around the park and Flan had a horrific overthrow to send Manu clean through – funny how you mention Best’s single crooked throw but not Flan’s overthrow which gave away posession about 10 m from their line and almost resulted in a try against us…

    O’Callaghan was by and large anomonous so I’d say a 5 and whilst POC led by example his decision making was dire – probably jabout gets a 6.

    Overall, some very poor individual performances but the team performance collectively was attrocious – BOD will make a massive difference but you have to wonder if the years are finally creaping up on him after last week’s display. That said, we say this every year and he proves everyone wrong! I can see Ireland peaking to beat one big team in this world cup – maybe Oz in the group or SA in a QF. But it will take a massive improvement in performance and the likes of D’arcy, BOD, Kearny and Bowe to find their true form. Sept/Oct seems a bit too soon though – maybe the 6N.

  3. Saturday performance raises more questions than answers. I think that maybe Ireland need to consider reverting to the game plan that won them the Grand Slam now because we are not being accurate enough to play this high pace offloading game that we are developing. This has been proven by the Six Nations and warm up games over the last few weeks. Such a game plan maybe very predictable and not win you a World Cup but we need to worry about getting out of our pool now because a repeat of what we have seen over the last few weeks and Italy will knock us out. A thrid pre quater final elimination in four World Cups would make our status as a top ranking rugby nation look very dodgy….
    Such a change of game plan would obviously reopen the fly half debate as O Gara would be better suited to such a role.
    I think the biggest winners of the last four weeks of rugby have been Andrew Trimble who for me has overtaken Keith Earls and Luke Fitzgerald to be a starting winger and Conor Murray who has come from no where to be in contention for a starting berth as well.

  4. hard to know rua. The rule changes give advantage to sides who maintain posession. If you kick the ball away you may not see it for 10 mins. That said, world cup games, particuarly the knock out stages are high pressure games and sides that play expansive rugby historically do not do well. I guess a balance is needed. You certainly want to play the game in the opposition half but when there you probably want to hold onto the ball and go through the phases. With tacklers having to roll away it’s pretty easy to maintain posession and just wait for penalties.

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