Player Ratings: Wales' Reality check
OPINION: Wayne Pivac described this game as the toughest of his coaching career and it was certainly much more challenging than last week’s assignment against Italy.
Wales showed plenty of ambition in attack and there were some clever inside balls to combat Ireland’s line speed in defence but they were too narrow defensively and couldn’t cope with Ireland’s physicality.
Rhiannon Garth Jones rates the Welsh players
15. Leigh Halfpenny – 5
After years of being Wales’ defensive stalwart, he is rediscovering his attacking and distribution game but didn’t show it much here.
14. George North – 3
Moved to his more usual position after last week’s experiment on the wing. Didn’t get a sniff of the ball for most of the first half until he came off his wing to look for work and should probably do that more often. Mostly anonymous.
13. Nick Tompkins – 4
It says something about his performance of the bench last week that this selection was no surprise but the step up from Italy to Ireland proved a tough one. Improved in the second half but was exposed defensively.
12. Hadleigh Parkes – 5
The glue of Wales’ backline but he struggled in the first half. Improved in the second and ran a lovely line for his disallowed try. Will be frustrated with himself.
11. Josh Adams – 4
The best finisher in the world right now struggled in after an early injury but had to go off on 25 minutes.
10. Dan Biggar – 6
Biggar 2.0 continues to be a revelation in attack but remains a cool operator, as he showed early on, backing himself to shepherd the ball. Made a few mistakes but generally strong. Went off earlier than he would have normally after failing an HIA.
9. Tomos Williams – 6
Picked to start despite Gareth Davies’ return to form and scored the try he missed out on last week. Taken off fairly early in the second half, however. The fight between him and Gareth Davies for the starting spot is fascinating.
1. Wyn Jones – 6
Wales’ best fit scrummager played a big role in improving the scrum after last week’s worrying performance. A crucial turnover early on and lots of grunt work. Substituted after Wales lost a key scrum on the Irish 5m line.
2. Ken Owens – 6
Lineout still needs work but Owens offers so much around the pitch that he won’t lose his place for it. A serious shift in defence.
3. Dillon Lewis – 5
Had some struggles in the scum against Italy but improved this week, albeit there is still much work to be done.
4. Jake Ball – 5
Picked to combat Ireland’s right five grunt work and carrying potential but didn’t make the impact required.
5. Alun-Wyn Jones (capt) – 6
Not quite up to his usual standards last week, having hardly played since the World Cup. Couldn’t drag his team to victory here but made 19 tackles in defence.
6. Aaron Wainwright – 5
Has rapidly becoming an integral part of this Wales side but had an unusually quiet game and was taken off early.
7. Justin Tipuric – 7
Another gritty performance by the flanker who used to be adored for his all-court game. Showed he can still play the distributor for Williams’ try but is now an integral dart of the dirty work and made 19 tackles. Didn’t deserve to lose.
8. Taulupe Faletau – 6
Not back to his old self yet although there is still no better No8 in the world to have behind a less than dominant scrum. Did some clever work to disrupt Ireland’s maul too.
Ryan Elias – 5
Regular replacement hooker Elliot Dee is still injured but Elias didn’t let anyone down.
Rhys Carré – 5
Regained his spot on the bench after suspension. Remains promising and made 6 tackles in a short space of time.
Leon Brown – 5
Not enough time to make the impact he can.
Adam Beard – 5
Came into the 23 because Cory Hill wasn’t fit. Didn’t make much impact off the bench.
Ross Moriarty – 5
Has never quite cemented a spot in the starting lineup except in the case of injuries. The Lion Came on early in the second half but couldn’t turn the game.
Gareth Davies – 5
Came back into the 23 after an injury last week but couldn’t displace the in-form Williams. Was brought on early in the second half and couldn’t spark a revival.
Jarrod Evans – 6
Promoted to the bench at the last minute after Owen Williams picked up an injury and then brought on earlier than expected when Biggar failed an HIA. Showed no shortage of bravery in his attacking approach but couldn’t take Wales to victory.
Johnny McNichol – 5
Dropped to the bench after last week’s competent but unthrilling display but came on early for the injured Adams. Added a lot in attack but his defence for Ireland’s bonus point try left a lot to be desired.
By Rhiannon Garth Jones, Rugbypass