Wales v Ireland 6 Nations 2013: Wales player ratings

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15. Leigh Halfpenny – 7
Hard not to feel sorry for this pillar of consistency, who remains sturdy while the losses keep coming. Everything – from fielding Jonathan Sexton’s probing punts to a strong finish in the second half – was assured.

14. Alex Cuthbert – 6
Something of an unguided missile. Bamboozled into a shoddy position by Brian O’Driscoll for Ireland’s opener and spilled a straightforward high-ball early on, but also looked threatening with ball in hand. Took his try nicely.

13. Jonathan Davies – 4
By far Davies’ worst display in a Wales shirt. Normally exceptional at spot-defence, he left big gaps with ill-judged midfield rushes and there was plenty of poor passing to boot.

12. Jamie Roberts – 5
Anonymous as the visitors built their lead, so much so that his first meaningful contribution was a knock-on from a kick-off after 20 minutes. Seemed more dangerous when linking with others than when he careered down route one to be suffocated by choke-tackles.

11. George North – 5½
Clocked up a lot of metres but looked for contact too much, which was frustrating. North is one hell of an attacking weapon, but is not quite being harnessed correctly at the moment. Deserves credit for keeping Craig Gilroy relatively quiet.

10. Dan Biggar – 5
Despite decent Ospreys form, this first Six Nations outing was too tentative from Biggar, as a charged-down clearance proved. Grew into the occasion as the match went on, but by then it was too late. Hindsight might have plumped for James Hook from the start.

9. Mike Phillips – 5
Another that did not spring into life until after being trampled over for Cian Healy’s score. Close to his confrontational best sporadically, but that was comprehensively overshadowed by pedestrian patches that put his fly half under pressure.

1. Gethin Jenkins – 4
Looked a long way short of match sharpness and was tortured by Mike Ross in the scrum. Deft hands at one lineout could not redeem such glaring set-piece struggles.

2. Matthew Rees – 5
Throwing was competent and Rees won one penalty on the deck. Aside from that, he offered little. Richard Hibbard’s return to fitness is rather important.

3. Adam Jones – 5
Not as effective as he would have liked to have been opposite Healy, but Jones did get through some hard yakka around the paddock. Given his side’s abject start though, you have to question how much he imparted his 86-Test experience on teammates.

4. Andew Coombs – 7
Two early errors aside – a nervous handling mistake and a ruck penalty – Coombs can be extremely happy with what was an encouraging debut. Carried with verve, was solid in the lineout and seemed more enthusiastic than his more illustrious colleagues.

5. Ian Evans – 7
Considering Evans’ severe lack of action in recent months, this was a mammoth effort. Lasted 73 minutes and filled each one with industry, confirming his huge value to Rob Howley.

6. Aaron Shingler – 5
Conceded a mindless penalty on the stroke of half-time and made way for Justin Tipuric shortly afterwards. Has never played an international away from Cardiff and probably won’t get a chance to change that in a week’s time.

7. Sam Warburton – 6
Fluffed one lineout at the tail but Warburton showcased plenty of skill elsewhere, linking attacks together with deft passes. Without the ball, he was tireless and made a nuisance of himself at most breakdowns.

8. Toby Faletau – 6
Another honest all-round shift from a key performer, who is pivotal to Wales getting back on track. Very nearly got on the scoresheet with a typically brawny burst.

Replacements
Inevitably, there were a few men here who put their hands up for more prominent involvement over The Channel against France. Justin Tipuric nudged Howley most forcefully with a very sparky display, but Ken Owens and Lloyd Williams contributed gamely to the comeback too, as did Craig Mitchell by barging over to grab the final try.

By Charlie Morgan

Follow Charlie on Twitter: @CharlieFelix

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15 comments on “Wales v Ireland 6 Nations 2013: Wales player ratings

  1. Pretty fair – would give Jamie Roberts a lower score than Davies.

    Would give Biggar more credit – he had to deal with Mike “3 steps sideways” Phillips gobbling up all of his time and space. When Biggar looks good at the Os it is no coincidence he has Fotuali inside him.

    Yeah, the backs were poor. It’s confidence – when we’re up we fling the ball around well, when we’re down we resort to safety first charges.

    Howley gets a 0 – wrong team, wrong tactics and ill prepared. In our last 3 matches against Ireland we didn’t fall for the well telegraphed choke tackle tactic once – in this game they got a good few turnovers from it. He picked completely the wrong team – with each substitution that took us closer to the team we should have started with we got markedly better.

    It’s still mad to look back at a game we felt hammered in and only see a score diff of 2 pens and a conversion. I know the game was obviously different but, for example, Scotland lost by 20 points but didn’t look as hammered as we did. Mad game. Great fun to be there for the 2nd half though.

  2. Thought Coombs maybe deserved an 8. Great debut. Not sure it was Howleys fault that Wales couldn’t string two passes together in the first half, whereas Ireland were clinical. You’d expect international players to be able to pass. If Farrell can do it….. However Wales look a shadow of the side without Gatland, and I’m afraid that Howley just isn’t up to it. Why didn’t Edwards get the gig?

    • Edwards wanted to go on the Lions tour, wasn’t considered for Wales as he was not interested. We know now how that turned out.

      I think Howley takes a lot of the blame though for doing the opposite of what Gatland did when he came in – pick on form. Tipuric, Owens, James, Hook, Williams came off the bench yet all should have started. Jenkins, Rees, Roberts, Warburton, Phillips and North have shown nothing in club or country matches for an age yet they keep getting picked.

  3. Howley’s the bench made an impact spin made me laugh well he should have picked most of the bench to start shouldn’t he .

    Ireland showed skill wheras Wales’ game is now based on bash em and if that fails well bash em some more. Tipuric and Hook (in flashes were the only ones to show nice touches .

    France had their one usual we don’t know why they turned up game yesterday happened two years ago too cue a stuffing for us this weekend I think in backlash (again like two years ago ).

  4. England fan in peace, do you think that Wales recent performances have been due to Rob Howley calling the shots and not Warren Gatland or do you think there is more to it than this?

    The only reason I ask is that your boys were so strong in last years 6 Nations but severly fell off the cliff in the autumn and that is when Gatland started focussing on The Lions.

    • Much as it is with the regions, coaching is key for Wales. We need players to feel under pressure, we need them to have basics (avoiding the choke tackle) and we need them to play like it may be the last time. So yes, Howley is a massive factor and is unfortunately playing into the stereotype of the Welsh coach who keeps picking all his mates.

  5. A 4 is a little harsh for Foxy, I felt he look good a times, but nowhere near his best. Wales defensive system works on him rushing up to try and stop the ball getting outside his opposite 13, so I wouldn’t call them ill timed, Wales were bossed at the contact area, looked for contact too much, didn’t generate the quick ball or stretch the Irish inside defence as much as they would for our backs to be effective.Credit to Biggar, I thought he recovered really well after than mind-numbingly so kick. Looked sharp in the second half. Jamie Roberts looked pretty absent again. I can’t remember the last time he was an obvious match winner for Wales, Howley treats him more like a 1D battering ram.

    Don’t get me started on Cuthbert, what he was doing on Zebo’s try is beyond me, and he consistently ran with little depth. The two Jon Davies miss passes he was just too flat! (the second one he was in front of Halfpenny) I know he scored a try but anyone could have scored that. I felt if he ran with a bit more depth he gave himself a better chance to make something happen, he’s a man for open spaces. The times when he did hold his depth and time his run he looked real good.

    Final point Howley is out of his depth. England showed the success you can have by putting a coach in charge and not an ex-player. We need to bring back an A side, we are the only Lions team without one and to be frank it is as good for producing good coaches as it is players.

  6. Like Jonathan Davies said “Wales must have thought kick off was at 2.30″ 2nd half was much better but going down 30-3 theres a long way to get back. Coombs on another hand had a great debut and should be proud of himself. Hope he gets another chance and picked for the france game.

  7. Well I am going to go slightly against the grain on this, but I am not convinced by Tipuric. Granted, he is quick around the field, BUT when he is not first to the breakdown, I think he struggles to make an impact.

    His role as an impact sub is about right in my opinion, as I believe that when he starts against big, well organised back-rows, he can be nullified. It is when the game starts to break up that he can come into his own.

    And slightly tongue-in-cheek, would he get noticed so much without the Blue hat???

    • I agree with you Blub, still not convinced by him at international level.

      However, he needs some starts to show if he is up to it. Surely Howley has to start him this weekend, doesn’t he?

      If he does, then playing against a French back row who just lost to Italy should show us where he stands

        • For sure. My point was that the French are not exactly going to be happy about having lost to Italy, are they?

          If Tipuric starts and plays well against a good, big and experienced French back row who have a point to prove, then we’ll know that he might well be the real deal.

  8. I said before the game that I wasn’t convinced by Tipuric as I think he is too light for the breakdown area. After Saturday though I did realise how much he offers around the park. Jury probably still out. Give him a couple of starts and assess him after that. He can’t be any worse than Warburton at present!

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