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Saturday Feb 24, 2024

Ireland vs Wales player ratings from the 2024 Guinness Six Nations

Ireland:

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15. Ciarán Frawley – 6

Frawley’s real debut following his two-minute cameo in round one, the versatile back had some nice touches and crossed for a well-taken try. It certainly lacks Hugo Keenan’s zip in terms of top-end pace, but it does bring a really nice distribution option.

14. Calvin Nash – 5

Carried back strongly but was quiet compared to his first two outings of the Championship.

13. Robbie Henshaw – 6

A good game for Henshaw overall, with some good bursts through the line, and defensively, he shut down the Welsh attack pretty well and had an interesting individual battle with George North.

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12. Bundee Aki – 7

Ireland’s best player on the day with his trademark power carries, defensively he was rock solid and caused the Welsh ruck all sorts of issues.

11. James Lowe – 5

Some long searching kicks and a try were the highlights for the winger; he looked to lack his usual appetite for work closer to the ruck but made meters in the wider channels and handled the dangerous Welsh outside backs in defence.

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10. Jack Crowley – 6

His quietest game of the Championship, but he showed his ability to control a scrappy contest and had some nice runs. Most importantly he slotted all of his kicks.

9. Jamison Gibson-Park – 7

Ireland’s best scrumhalf by some distance at the moment, JGP was at the heart of Ireland’s attacks and his box kicking was to it’s usual high standards.

8. Caelan Doris – 7

He is just so busy around the park; even when he is not having a highlight reel day, he is central to the Irish game plan. His physicality at the ruck is another level, and his tackles, in particular one on George North, were significant.

7. Josh van der Flier – 4

Not at his best currently, the former World Player Of The Year still has moments but is no longer a certainty in the Irish backrow.

6. Peter O’Mahony (capt) – 4

A quiet outing for the skipper who was pulled relatively early into the second half, the line-out issues that plagued the World Cup returned, which will be a key focus ahead of round four against a strong English line-out.

5. Tadhg Beirne – 8

Yellow card aside, Beirne is at his absolute peak at the moment. His carries, breakdown work and handling are world-class, and he looks liberated by playing alongside the physicality of Joe McCarthy.

4. Joe McCarthy – 5

Not at the standard of his first two games, but ‘Big Joe’ is the future of the number 4 shirt for Ireland, and he was once again a menace at the breakdown whilst footwork heading into carry is exceptional. The big work for him will be his discipline, which is starting to prove costly.

3. Tadhg Furlong – 5

Still a top-shelf tighthead, Furlong looks like a player who could do with a bit of a break, which might sound harsh, but he has given so much to the jersey over the years that a break could bring that ‘pop’ back into his game.

2. Dan Sheehan – 6

Another day, another try. Sheehan is so good that even today’s below-par performance was still very good without being anywhere near his best. He will be frustrated by the pack’s inability to punish Wales more with the maul.

1.  Andrew Porter – 7

He routinely comes in for unnecessary criticism; as the commentary team on ITV highlighted, Porter is so dominant that if his tighthead doesn’t get the perfect hit, he gets penalised for his dominance. Around the park, he is so dynamic as his turnovers and carries attest to.

Replacements: Rónan Kelleher (8), Cian Healy (5), Oli Jager (5), James Ryan (5), Ryan Baird (7), Jack Conan (6), Conor Murray (6), Stuart McCloskey (5)

Wales:

15. Cameron Winnett – 7

The lightweight fullback is the real deal; he dominates the air and is brave in the tackle. Attacking-wise, he, like the rest of his teammates, just lacks that bit of clinical edge that will come with experience.

14. Josh Adams – 4

Not the force he once way, Adams looks out of sorts at the moment and will be under pressure from the likes of Mason Grady who was superb when he came on.

13. George North – 8

Still the heartbeat of the Welsh backline 14 years on from his debut… Physical in the carry as ever, North was the one bright spot from the Welsh backs in the first half and exploded in the second half with some great carries and big hits.

12. Nick Tompkins – 4

Quiet today, Tompkins was solid without really producing any direction for his backline.

11. Rio Dyer – 7

Electric, when given half a chance but was a victim of Wales’s lack of direction in attack, could certainly look for more work, given he is super elusive when given half a chance.

10. Sam Costelow – 5

He is a tough one to judge, given his lack of experience, which should possibly not be a factor given his opposite number. Jack Crowley is the same age and at the same point in his career. He has his moments, but in reality, there is little to pick between him and Ioan Lloyd at the moment, so he is far from safe in the starting line-up.

9. Tomos Williams – 6

A good performance from Williams, who didn’t have the necessary support to finish off his quick taps and snipes around the ruck. There can be no doubt that he is now the first-choice scrumhalf by quite some distance, and rightly so.

8.  Aaron Wainwright – 7

Hairstyle aside, Wainwright is a classy operator and has the potential to take over the mantle from Talupe Faletau as the long-term number eight for Wales. (Morgan Morse will have a say in this matter down the line).

7. Tommy Reffell – 7

Jac who? We are only joking, of course! Reffell has made the number seven shirt his own for this championship. If there is a way of combining Jac Morgan and Reffell in the backrow, then Wales could have a two-headed monster at the breakdown.

6. Alex Mann – 7

The youngster is uber-impressive and will get better as he matures and adds more bulk. His carrying game is good, but again, it will get better as he goes through his career. For today he had some good moments in the carry against a ferocious Irish defence.

5. Adam Beard – 6

The consistent cog in the Welsh pack is crucial to their direction and caused the Irish line-out a few headaches today. What he lacks in the carry he makes up for in work rate around the park.

4. Dafydd Jenkins – 6

The captain is a heck of a prospect who only seems to get better. Facing a dynamic Irish lock pairing, Jenkins looked right at home and more than capable of taking the fight to them.

3. Keiron Assiratti – 6

The Welsh scrum was under pressure from the off as Assiratti struggled to hold off Porter and was fortunate that the referee wanted to keep the game moving as the Irish pack looked set on keeping the ball in the contest. His ability around the park is to a high standard so the big work on will be the scrum.

2. Elliot Dee – 6

So important to the Welsh line-out; when Dee departed, the line-out went from being a banker to a mix and match.

1. Gareth Thomas – 6

It was an interesting tussle with Tadhg Furlong, but again, it was close to being blown off the park at times. Around the park he joins his teammate Assiratti as a good carrier and a strong defender,

Replacements: Ryan Elias (4), Corey Domachowski (5), Dillon Lewis (5), Will Rowlands (6), Mackenzie Martin (5), Kieran Hardy (5), Ioan Llyod (6), Mason Grady (6)

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