Full, brutal Ireland player ratings as Wales cruise to Grand Slam win
WALES 25-7 IRELAND
Wales are the 2019 Guinness Six Nations champions, and with a Grand Slam to boot.
Joe Schmidt's final Six Nations game as Ireland head coach happened to coincide with the worst performance during his six-year tenure. Wales scored early and never let up all afternoon in a raucous Principality Stadium, in Cardiff.
Ireland got off to the worst possible start as they conceded a lineout off the Wales kick-off. A clean take, a couple of strong carries and a beautiful, outside of the boot chip from Gareth Anscombe and Hadleigh Parkes was scoring a converted try after 71 seconds.
Wales added to the score, on 13 minutes, when Gareth Anscombe knocked over a penalty after James Ryan and then Johnny Sexton were penalised in the space of 90 seconds. Ireland had two great scoring chances, on 23 and 28 minutes, but a Justin Tipuric turnover and a rash CJ Stander mistake gave the Welsh reprieves.
Ireland refused two chances to kick for points and got nothing in return. Wales got every point on offer and it was Anscombe, from 45 metres out, that made it 13-0 when Angus Gardner next raised his arm. He got one more opportunity, just on half-time, and made it 16-0.
Ireland needed to start the second half at their very best but they did not come close. More mistakes and indiscipline combined to see them in a deep, deep hole.
Anscombe added penalties, on 50 and 55 minutes, to make it 22-0 and both Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton were struggling badly. They were not the only ones.
Ireland's plight was summed up, on 56 minutes, when Sexton passed right out of play after not realising Rob Kearney had drifted in, instead of staying wide. The outhalf shook his head and a watching Irish public repeated the action. That, and the Stander mistake, were the two moments that captured this mess of an Irish performance.
Bundee Aki thought he had Ireland on the board but Gardner called play back. Instead, it was Anscombe that pulled Wales further out of sight with his sixth successful penalty.
The final score, on a horrible day for Ireland, went to sub Jordan Larmour as Ireland showed heart at the end.
Here's how we rated Joe Schmidt's men in green.
Rob Kearney - 5
Miscommunication with Sexton cost Ireland a try just before the hour mark. Couple of decent carries.
Keith Earls - 6
Decent chase back and calm take forced Josh Adams into a penalty-conceding error. Carried the ball over his line on another chase back to give Wales a five-metre scrum, but there was little he could do.
Garry Ringrose - 5
His four carries for a gain of one metre told a sad tale in itself. Didn't get much better after the break.
Bundee Aki - 5
Caught out - as most players would be - by that delightful Anscombe chip. Got next to nowhere with his carries. Thought he had a try but the ref had called play back.
Jacob Stockdale - 5
Made a great break up the left but spilled the ball forward when tackled by Parkes. Came inside looking to get involved. One good aerial take under pressure but got snagged by Williams on another. Almost had a try at the death after a great take and carry
Johnny Sexton - 2
Was unfortunate to slip over Liam Williams and give away a penalty that put Ireland 10-0 down. Wales ran hard at him and held him into rucks whenever they could, much to Sexton's frustration. Replayed on the big screen giving the ref both barrels as he lost his composure. Kicked out on the full, and badly too, on 44 minutes. Restarts were all over the place too.
Conor Murray - 2
A couple of head high passes to Johnny Sexton did Ireland's momentum no favours. Got wrapped up, ball in hand, by Justin Tipuric for a crucial Welsh turnover on their tryline. Gave away a penalty for offside before half-time. Badly missed Gareth Davies to give up a costly line break. Over-cooked a box-kick, soon after, then sliced a clearing kick out.
Cian Healy - 4
Spilled a simple pass as he tried to burst into the Welsh 22. Made up for it by scrummaging well and bashing into Gareth Davies to force an error. That was about the height of it. Committed but rash, at times, and gave away a silly penalty on 50 minutes. Could have had a try in the left-hand corner but could not pick up and dot down.
Rory Best - 4
Lineout throwing was under pressure and Best was feeling it. Poor game and not a great way to sign off his Six Nations playing days.
Tadhg Furlong - 5
Irish scrum was struggling just to tread water as the game went on. Not a patch on the Tadhg Furlong that can so often turn in world-class performances.
James Ryan - 6
Gave away a lineout penalty for not closing the gap and it cost his team an attacking opportunity, and penned them back in their half. Made some beastly carries to get his team some front-foot ball. Second half started badly for him as he was held up on a carry and a turnover was conceded.
Tadhg Beirne - 5
Took him 12 minutes to make his first big impact and it came in the form of a trademark jackal turnover metres from his own line. Gave away a couple of penalties, though. Did get one back for his side with his feint at a jackal that drew in Josh Navidi.
It's just about the only thing Ireland have got out of Angus Gardner so far but I love these. Tadhg Beirne's dummy-jackal wins a penalty from Josh Navidi. pic.twitter.com/WKeyM2ekKA
— Charlie Morgan (@CharlieFelix) March 16, 2019
Peter O'Mahony - 4
Somewhat anonymous (one tackle, one carry, minimal impact at the breakdown) in a dreadful first half for Ireland
Sean O'Brien - 4
The game passed him by and he was outdone by the likes of Tipuric and Navidi. Made only two metres on his four carries.
CJ Stander - 3
Will be disgusted with himself for that fumble, under the shadow of the Welsh posts, when he tried a quick penalty penalty and the bounce off his shin forced an accidental offside call. Caught on the wrong side of the rick, on 55 minutes, and penalised for not rolling away.
Jack Conan (for O'Brien '54) - 5
Quinn Roux (for Beirne '59) - 5
Dave Kilcoyne (for Healy '59) - 5
Niall Scannell (for Best '64) - 5
Andrew Porter (for Furlong '64) - 5
Jordan Larmour (for Kearney '64) - 5
Try at the death.
Kieran Marmion (for Murray '68) - 6
Jack Carty (for Sexton '72) - 5