Player Ratings: Big(gar) problems for Wales
OPINION: Fronted by new skipper Dan Biggar, Wayne Pivac’s men were given the tough task of chasing an away scalp in Dublin to open their Six Nations campaign.
Unfortunately, it didn’t go to plan.
You will be hard-pressed to think of a worse opening day of a campaign for Wales.
The story of the day was Ireland making some of Wales’ strongest players look very ordinary.
Will Owen rates the Wales players
15. LIAM WILLIAMS – 3
Ran a couple of decent angles and made a good tackle on Sexton, but Williams didn’t shine with the ball. A difficult day to play fullback, and it showed.
14. JOHNNY MCNICHOLL – 3
Had few opportunities with ball in hand, and his aerial threat was nullified by Ireland. A frustrating afternoon for McNicholl, who couldn’t really get into the game.
13. JOSH ADAMS – 2
Pivac thrust Adams into a role which does not suit his strengths. Through no fault of his own, Adams really struggled to adapt to his positional switch. Was lucky to cop a yellow card.
12. NICK TOMPKINS – 3
Had to cover a lot on Adams’ inside and by all means did a decent job. Didn’t do much with the ball.
11. LOUIS REES-ZAMMIT – 5
Caught narrow on Ireland’s opening try but had a mixed bag from there on out. Made a few good tackles on Mack Hansen and made one nice break. Hard game for Zammit, but he kicked and tackled well.
10. DAN BIGGAR – 2
Wales’ new captain had a fairly anonymous first half and was outplayed by his peer Sexton in the second. Jaco Peyper lasted the whole game without wearing ear defenders, which is definitely a plus point.
9. TOMOS WILLIAMS – 4
Today was a tough gig for any scrum-half. Despite Wales securing decent ruck-speed, Ireland shut off Williams’ options significantly. By no means a terrible showing, but Williams didn’t quite look himself today.
1. WYN JONES – 5
Did a decent job containing the titanic Tadhg Furlong, which deserves some credit in itself.
2. RYAN ELIAS – 3
Didn’t get much chance to do much with the ball against a strong Irish pack. Was functional at scrum time but didn’t make a significant impact.
3. TOM FRANCIS – 3
Neutral at scrum time until conceding a penalty at the end of the first half. Had a good scrum in the early second half before being replaced.
4. WILL ROWLANDS – 2
A poor cleanout on Aaron Wainwright gave Sexton a free shot at three points early on, which was luckily missed. Didn’t make an impact thereafter.
5. ADAM BEARD – 4
Tackled well and did his best to disrupt the Irish line-out, but gave away a couple of penalties in the process. Targeted effectively by the Irish front five.
6. ELLIS JENKINS – 3
Outplayed by the Irish back-row. Clearly well targeted and didn’t get a chance to make one of his trademark turnovers.
7. TAINE BASHAM – 4
Had a few good carries and tackles but struggled to get into the breakdown. Basham never lacks effort, but facing the monumental Josh Van Der Flier was a huge learning curve. At least he has the most confusing try of 2022 to show for it.
8. AARON WAINWRIGHT – 3
After an outstanding Autumn, Wainwright was kept anonymous. Showed intent to carry hard, but was tackled well. Hopefully Wainwright gets more chances to shine later in the tournament.