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Player Ratings: Wales

OPINION: Even Welsh fans must admit that a defeat, and a comfortable one at that, was the most likely outcome at the Lansdowne Road.


But the result won’t be the reason those supporters will wake up tomorrow with a frown on their fact.

This was a largely toothless show. An inept performance that spluttered along without ever threatening to go anywhere. Of course that is largely down to Ireland’s might – both through the phases and in the set-piece – but there just seemed to be a lack of intensity, a lack of class, a lack of zest from too many in red. Some decent scramble defence in the first half meant this wasn’t the blowout it might have been but that will be small consolation.

Check out the Welsh player ratings

15 – Cameron Winnett – 5
Solid when asked to tackle, he also showed some quality when rising high to win the ball in the air. Ran from deep on the few occasions he was offered some space. He certainly looks the part at this level.

14 – Josh Adams – 3
Scrambled on defence and offered a release with a big right boot. His leading role in the blitz defence meant he missed as many tackles as he made. Replaced by Mason Grady on 57 minutes.

13 – George North – 6
Robust in the tackle, his size in midfield was noticeable. Just as it was against England two weeks ago, he looked like the only Welsh back with enough grunt on the charge to punch a hole in the opposition’s defence.


12 – Nick Tompkins – 2
Just not enough power when it mattered. Kept getting battered by Bundee Aki and, with ball in hand, made life difficult for North on his outside. Started well with some swift scrambling defence, but as the game went on he faded. Every time Ireland charged towards his channel they seemed to breeze through it.

11 – Rio Dyer – 3
It might seem like a tough score given he barely did anything wrong. One smart run off his wing and against the grain late in the first half offered a short pop-pass from Sam Costelow’s shoulder, but that was about it.

10 – Sam Costelow – 3
It wasn’t as bad as the horror show against Scotland in the opening round, but it wasn’t exactly a spellbinding performance. To be fair to him he was playing off the back foot for most of the game, but an inability to provide sparks from the darkness is a sign of a world class 10. Sadly, Costelow has yet to show any of that and couldn’t make up for this absence with a dominant kicking game. Lasted until the 7rd minute before being replaced by Ioan Lloyd.

9 – Tomos Williams – 3.5
Very few scrum-halves in history can impact a game behind a back-peddling pack. Williams has played well – and scored well in our ratings – in the previous two matches. This one against the would-be champions was always going to bring his average down. Made way for Kieran Hardy with 13 minutes left to play.


1 – Gareth Thomas – 4
Some crunching tackles – particularly a mighty hit on Joe McCarthy that led to a turnover in the first half – but was part of a front row that lost the scrum battle. Most of the damage was felt at the opposite side, but the more experienced prop couldn’t turn the tide. Hooked on 62 minutes for Corey Domachowski.

2 – Elliot Dee – 6
All things considered, this was a commendable performance from the Welsh hooker. He hit his jumpers when needed and showed bravery and accuracy going to the back of the line as well. When Wales had a rare opportunity to set a maul five metres out from Ireland’s line, Dee found his man and joined the shove that ended with a penalty try. Additional aggression around the breakdown and 11 tackles meant he comes out of this one-sided loss in the green. Subbed for Ryan Elias on 62 minutes.

3 – Keiron Assiratti – 3
Eaten in the scrum by the Ireland’s monstrous front row. It’s a tough ask going against one of the best packs in the world, especially one fronted up by Tagh Furlong and Andrew Porter, but on this occasion, Assiratti couldn’t stand up. Switched for Dillon Lewis on 52 minutes.

4 – Dafydd Jenkins – 4
Yet again lacked that necessary torque in the close exchanges. Tried to exert himself but an infuriating penalty – for hurling himself off his feet and into a ruck – late in the first half summed up his performance. Wales had finally strung a few phases together but their skipper let them down. A young captain, he needs statement performance soon.

5 – Adam Beard – 5
Won important line-out on Ireland’s line that got the maul going and resulted in a penalty try. Did his best to match the heft of Ireland’s second-rowers and held his own. Replaced by Will Rowlands on 55 minutes.

6 – Alex Mann – 6
Continues to impress at Test level. Made a dozen tackles and was tenacious at the breakdown either side of the ball. Could have benefited from a more dominant tight five. Made was for the debutant Mackenzie Martin on 55 minutes.

7 – Tommy Reffell – 6.5
Made a trademark steal on the turf inside the opening quarter of the match which won his team a penalty but was guilty at the subsequent lineout, giving away a soft turnover when he carelessly stepped in too early. That summed up Wales’ game.

8 – Aaron Wainwright – 8
Wales’ best player by a distance. Once again a totem in the line-out but it was in the loose that he really came alive. One play encapsulated his all-round prowess. Running back to clean up a bobbling ball, he juggled once, twice before bringing it under control. A turn of pace, a shift in direction and then he found space to unfurl a kick that landed in open grass. He then led the chase to go retrieve it. Wales have the makings of a formidable back row and Wainwright will be key in this rebuilding project.


16 – Ryan Elias – 5
Seems to have brushed aside the catastrophe that was the first half against Scotland. But didn’t contribute anything of note.

17 – Corey Domachowski – 5.5
Brought much-needed stability to Wales’s scrum.

18 – Dillon Lewis – 5.5
Like Domachowski, helped provide parity in his department.

19 – Will Rowlands – 5
Entered the scene with Wales in the ascedency. It didn’t last long, but some rangy runs and effectiveness in the set-piece ensures he leaves Dublin with a positive score.

20 – Mackenzie Martin – 5
Impressive on debut. A few meaty tackles meant he played his part.

21 – Kieran Hardy – 5
Showed some quick feet to wrap around the base of a scrum and threaten Ireland’s blindside. He ran into a corner but it was a rare foray forward for a Welsh back.

22 – Ioan Lloyd – N/A
Only had seven minutes to play.

23 – Mason Grady – 5
Made all four of the tackles he was asked to make. Never saw the ball, though that’s not his fault.


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