Paul O' Connell


Geordan Murphy 7 - Swept up confidently as always, but didn't bring much to the attack. A more reliable but not a more explosive option than Rob Kearney.

Tommy Bowe 7.5 - Outside of France, he's in line to be the player of the tournament. Never looked as dangerous as he had on other Saturdays during the tournament but that doesn't mean he wasn't a serious threat.

Brian O'Driscoll 7 - The referee made sure he never got maximum enjoyment from his 100th cap with some bizarre calls at the breakdown. Missed an unusual amount of tackles but the ice packs were again out for a player that refuses to give an inch.

Gordan D'Arcy 5 - Injured before the game had calmed after a fidgety start.

Keith Earls 9.5 - Brilliant habit of being in the right place at the right time and always running the right line. His strength and pace make him a lethal finisher. His aerial ability when defending wasn't tested as it was against France and he heads to Limerick as Grand Marshall of Wednesday's parade having been the game winner here.

Jonathan Sexton 7 - Okay, his kicking at goal was the poorest we've seen from him in a green jersey. And his kicking from hand wasn't much better. But on a day when his timing was clearly off, it's lazy to write this off as a poor performance. Offers a serious threat on the gainline that had the Welsh worried and again solid and strong in defence.

TomÁs O'Leary 9 - His finest performance by a long way in this championship. Cleverly replaced his usual box-kick and aimed for touch early on. Quick thinking was responsible for the opening try and his running caused problems too.

Cian Healy 7.5 - Played a big part in the game's defining moment. With the Irish scrum being battered just after the break, he came up big to turn over the ball. Two minutes later Sexton had hit a penalty at the other end and the game was done.

Rory Best 7 - Treble 20 with his darts. Treble five in the scrum.

John Hayes 7.5 - Wales were clever in targetting the Irish forwards in open play. Roberts, Halfpenny and Byrne all came inside to run at the opposition front row. That they didn't score a try says a lot about the defensive efforts of the Munster man and those around him.

Donncha O'Callaghan 7.5 - Hard to get noticed when the man beside you in the second row is having the sort of day that's made him a legend but O'Callaghan was again an able assistant.

Paul O'Connell 9 - He must know it's his day when he starts sidestepping players in the first half. Solid on the Irish throw but devastating on the Welsh darts as he read Matthew Rees much better than the script for that National Dairy Council ad. Shudder.

Stephen Ferris 7.5 - Ferocious impact running as is the norm. Took a bad blow to the head after the break.

David Wallace 9 - King of the ruck. Lee Byrne's yellow card put Wales on the back foot but during that 10 minutes, Wallace was inspired at the breakdown, winning key turnover ball. Like O'Driscoll, wasn't helped by the referee's judgement as the game progressed.

Jamie Heaslip 7.5 - Picked the ball clean from that crucial scrum just after the break and brought his usual physical presence to defence.


Robert Kearney 6.5 - Tony Buckley, Ronan O'Gara, Shane Jennings, Eoin Reddan, Leo Cullen and Seán Cronin not on long enough to be rated


Lee Byrne 4

Leigh Halfpenny 6.5

James Hook 6

Jamie Roberts 6

Shane Williams 6.5

Stephen Jones 6

Richie Rees 5.5

Paul James 7

Matthew Rees 5

Adam Rhys Jones 6.5

Bradley Davies 6.5

Luke Charteris 7

Jonathan Thomas 6

Martyn Williams 6.5

Gareth Delve 6


Huw Bennett 5.5

Ian Gough 6

Dwayne Peel, Andrew Bishop, Sam Warburton and Rhys Gill not on long enough to be rated