Wales v Ireland 6 Nations 2013: Wales player ratings
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.
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