Six Nations 2013 Italy v Wales: Wales player ratings

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15. Leigh Halfpenny – 7
Not quite as assured as usual – the odd fumble and a charged-down clearance compounded an uncharacteristic miss from the tee – but Halfpenny has earned the right to be judged by stratospheric standards. He remains simply vital to Wales, as some brave covering and a 45-metre penalty that made it 19-9 confirmed.

14. Alex Cuthbert – 7
Took his try well, chased manically and defended with admirable enthusiasm. One spot-hit on Martin Castrogiovanni early on pre-empted a straightforward turnover for Gethin Jenkins and there was even evidence of a kicking game. Would have had a brace but for Gonzalo Canale’s superb ankle-tap.

13. Jonathan Davies – 6
Did not touch the ball until the 44th minute, when persistence paid off with a ninth Test try. A dummy run that drew would-be Italian tacklers made him an unsung architect for Cuthbert’s score as well, while some under-the-radar defence would have been appreciated by his colleagues.

12. Jamie Roberts – 5
Endured a pretty abject game in attack, completing just one kick, one pass and one carry (when he didn’t drop the pill). While he coped well with midfield traffic, Roberts should be offering far more.

11. George North – 6
Set the tone for a selfless, grafting shift from the very first kick-off, tearing up the touchline to make a brawny challenge. From there, he lived off scraps and was as a pillar of dependability.

10. Dan Biggar – 6½
Flashes of footballing ability were consigned to counter-attacks in the first-half as he covered nicely from further back. Looked dangerous on the gain-line and will need to push that facet of his game – as well as eradicate teething problems such as one missed touch-kick – against Scotland.

9. Mike Phillips – 5
Kicking game was under the microscope given the significance of territory in the rain and, over-hitting the majority of his efforts beyond the box, Phillips flunked the assignment. The dink that set up Davies was more lucky than well-judged as the scrum half failed to build on a resurgent showing in Paris.

1. Gethin Jenkins – 7½
Two lapses aside, the returning Cardiff Blue added much-needed stability at the set-piece to a typically productive afternoon in the loose. A pair of pilfers on the deck and a charge-down on Edoardo Gori were all perfectly executed. It was a shame he exited early.

2. Richard Hibbard – 6
Uncertain throwing stunted the lineout as an attacking base early on, but a good, low tackle that forced Andrea Masi to cough up in the first half epitomised his effort thereafter.

3. Adam Jones – 8
Back to his dominant best, this terrific tighthead must have needed the first couple of ties in this tournament to warm up. Jones ensured that Andrea Lo Cicero’s 101st cap was a tale of misery by cleaving his opposite number at will.

4. Andrew Coombs – 7
An elementary handling error was an extremely rare blemish during another decent outing for the red-headed lock, who was the go-to lineout option and adopted the Dan Lydiate role in terms of setting line-speed. Even so, Coombs will probably be replaced by Alun Wyn Jones at Murrayfield.

5. Ian Evans – 6½
Maintained a happy habit of being a nuisance all over the park, counter-rucking to good effect and stifling the Azzurri around the fringes where they are at their most effective. His boiler-room ballast helped the scrum as well.

6. Ryan Jones – 7
Top tackler on either side with 16, the talismanic skipper retained enough energy for a burst that forced Wales’ final penalty just before he was replaced. He obviously calmed his troops as the hosts pressed before half-time and still has a role within this set-up.

7. Justin Tipuric – 6
It was rather tough to gauge how well Tipuric did. The Osprey does not seem to be brawny enough to sway breakdown matters. Neither was there much in the way of link play, although that wasn’t easy amid a downpour. That said, 15 tackles was a commendable return and Sam Warburton will not have his berth gift-wrapped.

8. Toby Faletau – 7
Willingness to carry was crucial in such sodden conditions and his skills at the base of the scrum were needed on the odd occasion that it got messy. Unfussy but essential to an imperative win.

Replacements
Largely encouraging here – Paul James and Ken Owens enhanced respective reputations, while Alun Wyn Jones and Sam Warburton demonstrated their hunger to be involved in a fortnight’s time. On the other hand, Lloyd Williams and James Hook will be irked at an inability to state a serious case for selection.

By Charlie Morgan

Follow Charlie on Twitter: @CharlieFelix

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8 comments on “Six Nations 2013 Italy v Wales: Wales player ratings

  1. i think these are pretty spot on. although i would say that 5 is possibly generous for roberts. i think he may see a bench spot soon.

  2. Very generous giving Philips and Roberts a 5, 3 at most for Philips and Roberts a 4.
    I’ed like to see Howley take a chance against Scotland and start with L & S Williams along with Warburton and Tipuric

  3. “the returning Cardiff Blue” – what a glorious sentence.

    These marks look fair. Dreadful conditions, pretty dire game. We missed our chance to really open up in that last 20 and put a few tries on. As we failed to do that we’ve made the last weekend nothing more than a “can we stop and England GS?” weekend. No title to play for. Howley gets a 2 out of 10 – all of that kicking was obviously advised by the coach.

  4. I’ll like to see more of Lloyd Williams – he seem to be quite a bit quicker than Mike Phillips and that might come in useful in Cardiff vs England since we’ll likely to have a nice dry pitch for fast rugby.

    England are good at grinding games, but doesn’t seem as assertive in fast rugby and that is what Wales do well.

  5. Mike Phillips seems to reserve his spikey Mikey best for certain games like winding up Picamoles in the French game but if Wales want quick ball we can forget it while he is playing . Didn’t make that much difference in the conditions of Saturday but on a hard dry pitch basically that fraction of as second where Phillips has a look around before passing kills us .

    Wales England is beginning to look more and more like a bish bash match which we can possibly/ probably (take your pick ) win but oh for a rat up a drain pipe fast passing scrum half and a pass off either hand centre with a booming kick as shown in the scrum five special 2005 Italy game last week (Peel and Henson ) .No I’m not calling for Henson’s return just regretting the passing of some subtlety from our game .

    Halfpenny was better than a 7 in those conditions Hibbard helped Adam JOnes dominate the scrum too so I’d give them a odd point more.

  6. Hohoho, Wales England will be a blinder. Can see Wales enjoying the line out and any kicking. Having a back three all playing in position is a big help. Think England edges it in midfield on current form and obviously at half back. The forward battle is anyone’s who puts their hand up. Hopefully we will see Tom wood go against Ryan jones and Morgan v faletau. They’re some tasty match ups!

  7. Glad to see some others bemoaning the continued selection of Phillips. Wales has half a dozen others with faster passes and more intelligence (Peel still included) who could help our fly halves show their attacking credentials.

  8. It seems to me that you can get away with Phillips as long as you have a fly half who is a decision maker, and a game controller as Priestland was in RWC and the first part of last years Slam. Phillips isn’t a general, he’s a scrapper, and a helluva good one, but the limitations in his control of the game need to be balanced by his partner.

    Biggar is just feeling his way in to international rugby – I’ve felt he’s shown flashes in the games so far and is improving, but with Phillips being the dominant character the back line lacks shape.

    Also, with Roberts out of nick the midfield looks a little predictable, since JD2 looks to have lost a step from last year – is he carrying an injury?

    Still, very impressed with the front 5 – good to see Jenkins and Jones back.