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Here's how Ireland rated in a bruising battle with Wales

It was an intense and difficult day for Joe Schmidt’s men.
Aug 29th 2015, 4:53 PM 15,882 67

THE LAST CHANCE saloon is now closed for business. Ireland’s players now have to head home and hope they’ve done enough to make Joe Schmidt’s Rugby World Cup squad. 

Here’s how we think they fared today.

Rob Kearney: 7

The fullback was impressive under the high ball up until the rain made fielding almost impossible Attempted to inject some momentum when Ireland struggled in the first half.

Dave Kearney: 6

Had a good second half when the game opened up and Wales found escaping their half difficult. Looks very sharp and confident.

Iain Henderson celebrates scoring his try Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Luke Fitzgerald: 6

His day was ended by a worrying injury, but up until that point he looked quite at home in the centre and provided some of the rare sparks in the first-half.

Robbie Henshaw 7

Solid as always at inside centre. On top of his trademark bread and butter carries, he also showed off his athleticism in the tackle and short range passing.

Keith Earls: 6

Unable to latch on to Jonathan Sexton kicks sent his way, but in defence he never shirked a challenge. Worryingly stretchered off 10 minutes in to the second half.

Johnny Sexton: 7

Tried hard to force Ireland on to the front foot by constantly looking for a break with ball in hand. His kicking in open play was a little on the loose side however.

Conor Murray: 6

Back from injury and pre-season and still looks a game or two away from his best.

Jack McGrath: 5

A difficult day up against a very determined and focused Tomas Francis. Also found himself out-performed by Gethin Jenkins in the loose.

Richardt Strauss: 5

An early line-out wobble didn’t tell the whole tale, but suffered collectively with the front row. Continually sought add his power and pace to Ireland’s ball-carrying efforts, but well-marshalled by Wales for the most part.

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Nathan White: 6

A decent day out on his second cap. The scrum problems did not come on his side and in defence he played a major role in making Wales wait as long as they did for their opening try.

Iain Henderson: 8

An absolutely brilliant performance in attack and defence. Followed up an early powerful clean-out and turnover 10 metres from his line with a barnstorming run through three defenders under the posts for a crucial try on the stroke of half-time.

Paul O’Connell: 7

Not the send-off everybody wanted for him, but he will be focused on the days ahead His relentless battling for the ball on the ground to set up Sean Cronin’s attempted try.

Peter O’Mahony: 7

His day ended early by a knock, but was Ireland’s second best forward in the first half with his excellent breakdown technique.

Jordi Murphy: 5

With Justin Tipuric making himself the best back row on the park, Murphy was left in his wake more often than not.

Jamie Heaslip: 6

A frustrating day for the vice captain, but gritted his teeth after a poor opening quarter and took some of the leadership pressure off O’Connell with some decisive decisions in the lead up to Henderson’s try.

Replacements:

Sean Cronin: 5

Very unfortunate not to claim a late winning try and solid at set-piece.

Sean O’Brien: 5

A brilliant weapon to have coming off the bench, his powerful carries immediately had Wales on the back foot. He too went close to scoring a second half try, only for Tipuric to strip him in the act.

Dave Kilcoyne: 4

Carried well and that helped Ireland lay late siege to the Welsh line.

Tahdg Furlong: 4

Will be pleased to get a cap to his name and looked very good in difficult circumstances.

Paddy Jackson, Felix Jones, Eoin Reddan and Donnacha Ryan: not long enough to be rated.

As it happened: Ireland v Wales, summer international

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