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How did you rate Ireland's 14-man effort against Wales?

2021 got off to a rough start for Andy Farrell’s side.

Image: Laszlo Geczo/INPHO

IRELAND HAD TO play over an hour of their Six Nations opener with 14 men and, though they rallied after Peter O’Mahony was sent off, Wales ultimately prevailed (full match report here) and kept up a winning Six Nations habit at home to Ireland that dates back to 2013.

How did you rate Ireland’s first run-out of the year?

Backs

Hugo Keenan

6Our Rating

Calm and assured in a game that didn't offer him a shop window for his elusive running. Made his impact by patroling the back field with minimum fuss.

6

 

Keith Earls

5Our Rating

The reduced scope of the gameplan left him with a day's work primarily in the air and without the ball and he struggled with that remit.

6

 

Garry Ringrose

6Our Rating

Had to wait all of 83 minutes to show off his attacking verve. Solid in defence, but Ireland needed more to turn the red tide.

6

 

Robbie Henshaw

8Our Rating

Ireland's best back. The gainlines he makes in wide channels are worth his weight in gold. Brushed off a first-half handling error to back himself to burst through the Welsh 22 and briefly turn the game on its head by setting up Beirne's try.

6

 

James Lowe

6Our Rating

His attacking bravery and energy with the ball provided a worthwhile x-factor for a short-handed team, but second half was a little loose and Wales profited off errors.

6

 

Johnny Sexton

7Our Rating

Personified Ireland's steely refocused intent after the early red. Tightened the gameplan up to its necessary basics the reduced playbook suited Ireland, but his impact waned as the energy sapped from his seven-man pack. Removed early after a bang to the head.

6

 

Conor Murray

5Our Rating

Appeared to get more comfortable with his role after the red card and kept Ireland ticking. Box kicks were too often off target and sloppy second half pass played a part in George North's try.

6

Forwards

Cian Healy

7Our Rating

Played the part of the stalwart with big impacts in the tight, including in the lead-up to Beirne's crucial try, the visitors' best moment.

6

 

Rob Herring

6Our Rating

Had his line-out issues early, but contributed to Ireland's 14-man resurgence with his work in the loose before Wales made the numbers count.

6

 

Andrew Porter

7Our Rating

Showed his power with a big hit and drive tackle to repel Wales early in the second half. Steadily improving as a front-line tighthead and has given Tadhg Furlong a sizeable hurdle between him and the number three shirt.

6

 

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Tadhg Beirne

8Our Rating

Scorer of deserved try as he was shaping up for a big performance on both sides of O'Mahony's red. Wales got to grips with his impact on the breakdown in the second half and that made all the difference.

6

 -

Iain Henderson

7Our Rating

Introduced in the game after James Ryan's 19th minute injury and relished the opportunity through dynamic breakdown and line-out work. Unfortunate to be caught next to his second row partner for George North's try.

6

 

Josh van der Flier

7Our Rating

Energy in every contact. Great selfless awareness to avoid reaching for the try-line himself after running a perfect support line behind Henshaw and teeing up Beirne. Justified his selection with no missed tackles.

6

 

CJ Stander

7Our Rating

Typically gallant effort in a war of attrition. Added 17 carries to bring Ireland forward and didn't miss a tackle.

6

Others

Dave Kilcoyne: 4 

On early in the second half and was ready to work, but by that stage Wales had forced their way into the ascendancy.

Tadhg Furlong: 4 

A one-on-one sprint with Louis Rees-Zammit was far from his ideal return to Test rugby.

James Ryan: 5

Withdrawn early due to injury, but still managed to rack up tackles when Ireland were up against it.

Will Connors: 4

Battling against the tide, but his impact was felt as Ireland dug their claws in and made Wales sweat to the final kick.

Billy Burns: 3

On as a HIA for Henshaw and then Sexton. Energy and invention in attack was promising, but when Ireland had a chance to stage one last attack he fluffed his lines with an awful kick beyond the corner.

Jordan Larmour: 4

Short on action like all today’s wingers, but was lively in the frenetic late surge that almost snatched a result.

Ronan Kelleher, Jamison Gibson Park and Peter O’Mahony not on long enough to be rated.

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