Player Ratings: An unwanted farewell
OPINION: Wales were unable to pile further misery on an Ireland squad licking their wounds at the Principality Stadium on Saturday, as they fell to a 17-22 defeat on home soil.
Warren Gatland’s men were profligate in the first of their back-to-back fixtures with Ireland and the Kiwi will be hoping for a much improved display when a likely first-choice side heads to Dublin for the return game next weekend.
Rugbypass’ Alex Shaw rates the Welsh players
- Hallam Amos – 6
A responsible outing from Amos, who dealt well with Ireland’s kicking game and a had a couple of forays as a counter-attacker. He will be frustrated by how lateral he got in the transition from Wales’ second half lineout steal, though.
- Owen Lane – 7
Grabbed a much-deserved try in the second half and was Wales’ most effective operator in the back line. He frequently came off his wing at the set-piece and looked for work in the midfield, making an important cover tackle on Jacob Stockdale and showing impressive strength to use the touchline and stay in field in tackles.
- Scott Williams – 6
Williams didn’t provide the overall attacking impetus he would have liked, although his defence was strong and his decision-making prevented Ireland from having a number of breakaways that could have led to tries. Lovely back-handed offload nearly created a try.
- Owen Watkin – 4.5
An early knock-on when he took his eyes off the ball seemed to set the tone. He lost the physical battle with Bundee Aki on a couple of occasions and when he did have success running back against the grain, he ended up being turned over.
- Steff Evans – 5
Evans was quiet by his usual standards. He chased industriously and had a couple of counter-attacks, although the majority of Wales’ positive attacking play came when the ball was moving to the other wing.
- Jarrod Evans – 5.5
A mixed bag from the fly-half, who was accurate with one of his two kicks at goal. He had some nice moments, including a perfectly weighted cross-field kick for Lane, although they were mitigated by lateral play in the back line and a missed kick for touch, not to mention the impact of his replacement.
- Aled Davies – 5
Started off strongly with a measured box kick, although his kicking from hand was less effective as the game went on. He wasn’t able to have the sniping or incisive passing influence he would have wanted.
- Rhys Carre – 6
The debutant had a couple of goes at John Ryan at the scrum and, apart from picking up one penalty, dealt well with the Munsterman. Carre stepped up as a first receiver and was one of Wales’ go-to ball-carriers. A decent 40 before being replaced by Rob Evans.
- Ryan Elias – 5.5
The hooker was busy in the loose, carrying regularly for his side, although first-half lineout errors blighted his game somewhat. He ended up connecting on three of his throws, with the group looking much more coherent in the second half.
- Samson Lee – 5
Lee came under pressure from Dave Kilcoyne at the scrum at the beginning and end of the first half, coughing up two penalties, although he was able to deliver a number of solid set-pieces against the in-form Irishman in between that. Only had the first half, then made way for Leon Brown. Struggled against Andrew Porter when reappearing as a result of a yellow card.
- Adam Beard – 6
The lock wouldn’t have helped his case for partnering Alun Wyn Jones in the engine room with his first half display, as he fumbled a lineout and threw a nothing offload that led to an Ireland turnover. He looked more like his usual self in the second half, though, and was an effective target on the throw and grew into the game as a ball-carrier.
- Bradley Davies – 5.5
A quiet game for Davies. He was targeted for the only successful lineout – quick throws aside – from Wales in the first half and provided reliable fringe defence without troubling the game offensively.
- Aaron Shingler – 5
A wild offload gifted Stockdale a try in the first half and the flanker struggled to impact the game positively. He grew into the game in the second half with a lineout steal and some strong tackling.
- James Davies – 6.5
One of the more impressive Welsh players on the pitch at the Principality. He latched on for two turnovers at the contact area and was busy helping deliver ball-security for Wales in attack.
- Josh Navidi – 6
Not Navidi’s best game in a Welsh jersey by any stretch of the imagination. His missed tackle on Kilcoyne will be dwelt on, although he did tackle and carry with relatively good effect.