SportRugby

Player ratings as Ireland are crushed in Wales

George North of Wales celebrates after scoring the opening try for Wales
George North of Wales celebrates after scoring the opening try for Wales

Wales slammed Ireland’s grand ambition for a Six Nations decider against England next weekend with a three tries-to-none 22-9 victory in a pulsating, error-ridden evening at the Principality Stadium. Here's how the players rated

IRELAND

ROB KEARNEY: Another average night from a stalwart struggling to rediscover his past heights. 4

KEITH EARLS: Ireland's most potent attacker and strong in the air. 6

GARRY RINGROSE: One early big hit on Alun Wyn Jones aside, the Leinster starlet failed to shine as Ireland so hoped. 4

ROBBIE HENSHAW: A solid but uninspiring effort was spoiled by his late illegal joining of a maul that cost Ireland a try. 4

SIMON ZEBO: Worked hard but was unable to conjure any kind of magic to unlock Wales' teak-tough defensive effort. 4

JOHNNY SEXTON: Yet more injury worries for Ireland's in-the-wars fly-half, Sexton shook off a head knock but had no control. 5

CONOR MURRAY: The Munster star's night was cut short by an arm injury, but Ireland forced him to play through the problem for too long. Defeat not his fault. 5

JACK MCGRATH: Ireland's recent scrum dominance disappeared against the robust Welsh, and McGrath was quiet in the loose. 4

RORY BEST: Ireland's lineout faltered just when it mattered most, with Wales picking the set-piece apart just as Scotland had on the opening weekend. 4

TADHG FURLONG: Not a night to remember for the Wexford man who had risen so fast so quickly, only to find the going extremely tough here. 4

DONNACHA RYAN: Ground hard but could not inspire anything from Ireland when it came to the tight exchanges. 4

DEVIN TONER: Bested at the lineout and hit hard frequently in the loose, a tough night for the Leinster star. 4

CJ STANDER: The Munster bulldozer was simply unable to punch any of his usual holes as Wales rebuffed his driving efforts. 5

SEAN O'BRIEN: An unusually quiet showing from the Leinster back-rower, who was bested around the fringes and kept quiet by a fine effort from Wales. 4

JAMIE HEASLIP: The vice-captain was unable to inspire his troops to any kind of gritty showing here, as Wales kept Ireland's back-row under lock and key. 4

Replacements: Ireland's men came and went with little impact or positive effect on the night, Paddy Jackson kicking one penalty in a short cameo and Kieran Marmion looking just about tidy after replacing the injured Murray. 4

WALES

LEIGH HALFPENNY: Passed 600 points for Wales as he produced his best performance of this season's tournament. 7/10

GEORGE NORTH: Scored two tries and silenced his critics. Now has 30 Wales touchdowns during a 68-cap career. 9

JONATHAN DAVIES: Back to his best as time and time again he tested Ireland's defence. 8

SCOTT WILLIAMS: Proved a perfect midfield partner for Davies as he mixed and matched his game excellently. 7

LIAM WILLIAMS: Never stopped working on the left wing and Ireland's defenders could not relax throughout a gripping contest. 7

DAN BIGGAR: Twice had passes intercepted, but also had some good moments. 6

RHYS WEBB: Pushed North all the way for man-of-the-match honours. Outplayed his British and Irish Lions rival Conor Murray. 8

ROB EVANS: Stood up to the much-vaunted Irish front row and never took a backward step. 7

KEN OWENS: Has been a model of consistency in this season's Six Nations, and he did little to dampen his Lions prospects. 7

TOMAS FRANCIS: A strong performance by the Exeter tighthead prop. Growing into Test rugby. 7

JAKE BALL: Another tireless stint by the Scarlets lock. Has become a solid, reliable performer. 7

ALUN WYN JONES: Wales' captain led from the front as his team delivered a fine display. 7

SAM WARBURTON: Got through a staggering amount of work and relished the battle with Ireland's powerful CJ Stander. 8

JUSTIN TIPURIC: Marked his 50th cap with a high-class performance. Never stopped working. 8

ROSS MORIARTY: Another strong effort by the Gloucester player. Getting better and better at the top level. 7

Replacements: All of the substitutes used by interim head coach Rob Howley played their part, highlighted by replacement centre Jamie Roberts sealing Wales' victory with a try two minutes from time. 7