RWC Warm-Up: Ireland Player Ratings v France

15. Rob Kearney: 6.5/10
Decent shift put in from the Leinster full back, made a few searing runs from deep, never easy to bring down in the tackle.

14. Andrew Trimble: 7/10
Another good performance from Trimble, Looks to have his wing spot almost nailed down. Looked busy and put in a quality physical performance.

13. Keith Earls: 6.5/10
Provided some creativity in the centre, defensively good, unlucky not to score from a chip and chase in the second half.

12. Paddy Wallace: 4/10
Not at the races again, only positive I can see with having him on the field is he provides a decent kicking option that you don’t normally have at 12.

11. Luke Fitzgerald: 5.5/10
Not a fantastic game by his standards, conceded 4 turnovers and only made 8 metres in running gains. Will need to improve to keep Tommy Bowe out of the 11 jersey.

10. Ronan O’Gara: 7/10
Kicked all of Ireland’s 12 points, strange decision by him and Paul O’Connell to kick for 3 points when they had France on the rack in the 2nd half rather then pin the French on their own 5 metre line.

9. Eoin Reddan: 5.5/10
Had a pretty physical game but like Tomas O’Leary last week, laboured his pass. O’Leary, Reddan and Boss should be very worried about Conor Murray.

1. Cian Healy: 6.5/10
Fantastic to watch in the loose, put in a great defensive performance too. Definite starter for the World Cup.

2. Rory Best: 4.5/10
Poor show in the line out, too many throws going astray, not completely to blame for Ireland’s line out woes, but contributed.

3. Mike Ross: 5.5/10
Decent show in the scrum despite conceding a couple of penalties, Kidney must be having nightmares about Ross getting injured, there is no alternative.

4. Donncha O’Callaghan: 5.5/10
Isn’t the same player without Paul O’Connell beside him. Wasn’t used enough in the short but had a massive game defensively, made more tackles than any other player.

5. Leo Cullen (c): 5/10
By his standards a poor performance, was calling the line out which was in disarray in the first half. Didn’t carry the ball at all while on the field.

6. Donnacha Ryan: 5.5/10
Big defence from Ryan but needs to carry the ball more, his flexibility in playing lock and back row may get him onto the plane.

7. Sean O’Brien: 7/10
Great to see O’Brien with the ball in hand, delight to watch. Huge carries and defensive performance.

8. Denis Leamy: 6/10
Put in a decent performance, popped up all over the field and made some counting tackles.


16. Jerry Flannery: 6.5/10
Made twice the amount of tackles in 20 minutes than Best made in in 60. Line out throws were perfect, found their target each time. Has to start next week.

17. Tony Buckley: 4/10
Taking a lot of flack for the scrum performance, some blame has to lie at Kidney’s feet, playing Buckley out of position at loosehead at a crucial part of the game did him no favours.

18. Paul O’Connell: 6.5/10
As soon as he steps on the field the collective performances of his team mates improved, Was the target in the line out and salvaged what was a poor line out performance.

19. Jamie Heaslip: 6.5/10
Like O’Connell, the effect of his introduction was immediate.

20. Conor Murray: 7/10
Would love to see him get 60 minutes next weekend, is a wonderful, natural passer of the ball, offers more in attack than any of his competition for the 9 jersey.

21. Fergus McFadden: 6/10
Couple of decent carries, not really on long enough to make a decent impression.

22. Felix Jones: 6.5/10
Showed plenty of confidence and class when he came on, didn’t look out of place at this level, needs more game time.

by Conor Buckley

23 thoughts on “RWC Warm-Up: Ireland Player Ratings v France

  1. What’s with all the .5 scores? Ireland were poor, again. Can they only play well and up their game against England?

    O’Brien was poor. Dusautoir shamed him all game. I did see SOB pass the ball though, first time ever at international level?

  2. I was surprised/disappointed not to see O’Gara kicking for the corner when we had them on the ropes early in the 2nd. Maybe the poor lineout early on was a factor. What an awful first half.
    Agree that Conor Murray looks like the breath of fresh at 9 and Felix Jones showed glimpses of Geordan Murphy at his best with that great kick and chase. I would leave Luke Fitzgerald at home, I don’t think he has done anything in the last 12 months to warrant a ticket.

    Need to see a big improvement in the next 2 games from pretty much the whole squad if we are to start believing we are going to be ‘involved’ down under, with the front row really needing to settle down (if that’s possible with the limited options)

  3. I just dont get Ireland sometimes we need to play for 80 mins away from home or we wont win anything. I think some of the above scores are generous much better second half compared to the hiding we got in the first half but I overall we were poor again. Granted O’Driscoll O’Connell Heaslip Ferris Bowe and a couple of other first team players didnt start but still our players constantly perform for their provinces yet when they put on the Irish Jersey a lot of the time they dont perform as we know they can. I find it a little frustrating to be honest we have the talent but for whatever reason they just dont do it in green. Nothing short of two victories against France and England will do I have a feeling we are going to up our game I hope I am right. A lot of these players wont see another world cup its no or never for them if that doesnt motivate them to get the figner out then nothing will. We are better than that performance I hope the players realise this and cut out the silly mistakes. A try would be nice too.

  4. If Ireland play like this in the world cup 1st half, do you think the Aussie team will let them get back in the 2nd half ? Apsolutely not ! It was the same in the six nations, bar one against England. For some reason Ireland don’t have any intensity in the first half.I believe the French took their foot off the pedal in the 2nd half which helped Ireland. I bet Ireland will get stuck into the English again. Yawn ! Do us a favour Ireland and play to your potential and have some consistency. You talk a good game now start playing one for 80 mins, not 40mins.
    Luke Fitzgerald and Paddy Wallace have been given more then enough chances.
    Don’t forget Ireland, if you beat the Aussies that’s not the end of the WC. The potential is there to do some serious damage at the world cup. “CONSISTENCY”

  5. Of course Ireland will raise their game for England. It’s the only game they really care about, and are useless most other games. They do talk a great game though. Typical small-minded Celts.

    1. Yeah, there are some of us who are small-minded but for me, beating England is not at all about raising our game for one time. We were ahead of England in the IRB rankings, even after a shambolic 6 nations and we want to always be ahead of you because we believe we are better than you. And we are! We play France to properly stretch our legs, rankings don’t matter now. You take the pat-yourself-on-the-back psychological warfare approach to warm-ups, trying to covering up your glaringly obvious lack of anything and failing to do so.

  6. Going to show your assessment of the POC/ROG decision to the missus. She assumed my screaming at the telly was down to their being from Munster!!!!

  7. Who writes this rubbish?

    Paddy Wallace seems to be the scapegoat these days…. Considering he only got the ball a handful of times, usually going backwards owing to a rubbish pack, I’m not sure what else he could do. He made every tackle – even though france targetted the 10/12 channel and his kicking game was about the only threat that Ireland had.

    Best had a poor night with the darts but the irish lineout was under immense pretty from the french. Compare that to the uncontested lineout at the end when flannery totally mis-threw when we were on their 5 m line…. In addition, the scrum imploded when flan and buckley came on. From what I saw, rory made every tackle – indeed a couple of try-saving tackles.

    So basically, total garbage.


  8. You say Paddy Wallace is getting a lot of stick. There is a reason for this. Every country we play think there is a weakness at center when he plays and they target it. So we can’t all be wrong. Poor David Wallace will have to do some tackling if Rog and Paddy are playing together in the WC. Paddy is brave and skillful, but he is not international class.

  9. Fair point Paul – he ain’t a world beater but he had a more than decent game V france and that should be acknowledged. D’arcy had an attrocious 6 nations and didn’t get half this stick. McFadden is one for the future but hasn’t impressed yet for Ireland. The other option is to switch BOD to 12, but then you have earls or bowe out of position. Hard calls.

  10. Let’s be fair – Paddy Wallace wasn’t Ireland’s worst player …. I thought he put in a decent shift although his tackle for the try wasn’t high enough and the offload to Clerc got off. Thought Leamy struggled – i wonder will he make the plane – he’s carried on last years form and looks in poor nick…

  11. @des -I write this rubbish, have not been critical of Paddy Wallace in the past and have always said to give the guy a chance, given both Kidney and him the benefit of the doubt, but no more. He is an extremely versatile player to have in the squad, but not an international standard 12 or out-half… Unfortunately for Ireland it looks increasingly like he will be our starting 12 at the RWC.
    Wallace has played 12 in front of our starting pack and our experimental packs, played with distribution provided by 4 of our top 5 scrum-halves, same result, consistently poor.

    People are being over critical of Ireland in these last couple of games, they provided a rare opportunity for Kidney to experiment (should have been done in Nov series in my opinion) but nonetheless it has provided an opportunity to test new combos, some have worked, some not, but questions have been answered.
    It will be a different stronger team to take to the field over the next 2 weekends, I’m willing to predict a win for Ireland in both games, and carry the momentum to NZ. I think we can beat the Aussies and who knows after that?

  12. Over-critical of Ireland? They’ve managed an average of 9 points per match this summer, and not scored a single try in two games.

    Look at the ridiculously OTT abuse England are getting from all corners just because they lost one game with a first game for that starting XV. Kidney should count himself lucky his team aren’t under that sort of microsope!

    I’m sure Ireland will do their usual trick of putting extra effort in against England and come away with the win, only to plumet back to mediocrity (at best) against other teams like Italy, Scotland, Georgia, Wales….

  13. Im and england fan but keep an eye on ireland as im half irish!

    Does ireland have a tight 5 to mix it with the best? Ive always thought you lack a big 2nd row lump alongside POC. DOC doesnt do it for me.

    Because outside your tight 5, you have one fo th best back rows in the world (will Ferris make it into the team?) and backs to match anyone, perhaps lacking a quaity 12.

    Syurely this ireland team can make it into the latter knockouts?

  14. France have made 13 changes from Saturday. Ireland need to make a statment and beat them well and then hopefully England. It’s one thing winning at home, but it will boost moral heading into the WC. I agree we need more meat in the 2nd row to partner O’C.
    I would like to see a first team out on Sat with the young scrum half from Munster playing. He looks like he might be the real mc coy.

  15. I’ve merely commented on Paddy’s review on this thread. To rate him 4 out of 10 but be fair if the majority of other players were getting 2/3…. What did earls do that paddy didn’t? In fact Earls gave the ball away at a couple of key times and did nothing in attack. Fitzy was a shadow of himself on the wing. Paddy made every tackle asked of him at 12, which is no mean achievement. In addition, his kicking game was verging on excellent. ROG was grand with his goal kicking but slipped a few tackles and didn’t exactly have the backline firing. Since when did a 12 become the quarter back of a rugby team anyway? Their primary function is to be defensively sound and have decent distribution. Ideally, you want someone like Roberts to smash the ball up but I can’t think of any Irish back capable of doing that – unless you want to recall Maggs?

    1. Paddy Wallace is just not international standard and that is a fact.
      Kidney has given him every opportunity to show what he can do and he has n t delivered.
      Even at Ulster i would suggest that Darren Cave is a better player than P W.
      The sad reality is that Irish provences do not put their players out to pasture quick enough.
      The likes of Darren Cave Eoin O Malley and Conor Murray should be in the travelling squad for the world cup.
      Sentiment should have nothing got to do with it.
      The likes of Bull Hayes, Leo Cullen , Paddy Wallace and even Gordan Darcy are very fortunate to even be in with an oppurtunity of travelling.
      A short term solution would have been Downey, no world beater but a good foil for O Driscol.

  16. Luke Fitzgerald. Not a fantastic game by his standards?????? What standard is that? He’s mediocre and has been all season. If I were coach he wouldn’t be anywhere near my world cup squad.

  17. I have to agree with some of the comments here even if I dont like the fact that I am. Ireland have no problem raising their game when we play the likes of England who may not be the England of old but are still England and deserve respect. Occasionally we do it against France, South Africa and Australia all in Dublin mind you excluding England there because we have the better of them home and away over the past decade. But we need to start playing to our potential all the time no matter where we play or who we play against because we have the players we have the talent we need to believe. I think the players should keep their mouths shut and do the talking on the pitch. I dont think they can be given any excuse for not performing not with the success of our provinces over the past few years. France have made a lot of changes so nothing short of a comprehensive victory will do for me anyway. Same goes for England when they come to Dublin. And the same goes when the team travels to NZ no excuses. Its time to stand and deliver high time actually.

  18. Interesting point about Downey who plays at 12 for Northampton. He is not a world beater but is starting for a team who would did get to the Heineken Cup Final (think he scored a try too). He is 6 foot 2 inches and 16 stone 2lb in weight. i would see him as a better option than wallace if he was given some game time at international level. i know he is not as a utility back like wallace but still. Why havn’t this Irish player ever gotten a chance? Do people think he should.
    We have wallace playing who is decent but noT world class, and the Aussies have left Gituea out of their squad altogether who is, and he is only 28

    1. “No PW to blame this week?? Who is the new scapegoat??”

      I hate to say it but Kidney. As I said before the balance is all wrong right now. It’s not all bad though as there needs to be some accounting for players having to play with each other in the even Ireland actually make it to the later stages but here’s my point:

      Leinster are in blistering form. They’ve just one won the Heineken cup with class, character and style. If they played France they would have done better.
      Munster have just won the Magners league in style, having been consistent throughout, and would have also done better against France than this hodge podge Ireland selection.
      Both these teams have a majority of home-grown talent.

      Ireland needs to lean towards one or the other. As I said, there are not enough Cannaught or Ulster players in the team to make it a unit. It is a competitive duality of Munster and Leinster. That’s the reality. This is a unique problem with the Irish team and a unique OPPORTUNITY.
      Kidney needs to go with one or the other as the dominant representation or risk another early exit. The solution is right there in front of him.
      As I made the earlier comparison with the Italian football team (soccer), Marcello Lippi was dealing with a situation where his players weren’t gelling together as they were scattered throughout Seria-A.

      Ireland is a completely different beast but the solution is the same. Putting Munster and Leinster together in an untried and untested manner for the world cup is a recipe for DOOM. Mark my words. It needs to be a Leinster dominated 1st team with a Munster reserve or vice versa. Either of those 2 scenarios would be better than things as they stand now. I know it’s only friendlies and it’s no harm to put a worst case scenario team (that gels like…the way sand gels…) but the best thing Kidney can do is field a Munster dominated team against England.
      Also, from now on training should be Red team blue team with Munster and Leinster 15’s being pitted against each other as much as possible. Also,
      I think the final 30 should be Leinster and Munster DOMINATED. There will be whingers from Ulster that won’t like it but Ulster haven’t won silverware in too long, and are out of contention right now. There time may come around again. If it was an Ulster, Munster or Ulster, Leinster dominated group, I’d be saying the same thing but it’s not. Personally, I want to see Leinster vs. England at the Aviva next week and I don’t care about the result. It’s the experiment (the right experiment) that matters. Munster vs. England experimental 15 would also be very interesting. Time for big decisions.

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