- 30 Sep 07, 06:08 PM
Paris - I was at the Parc des Princes on Sunday as Ireland’s dismal World Cup campaign ended with a 30-15 defeat to Argentina.
Here’s how I rated each individual player’s performance. See if you agree and let us know your own thoughts.
Geordan Murphy – Try early in the second half failed to disguise a nightmare outing. Unconvincing under the onslaught of high balls that came his way, and hesitant in his counter-attacking, regularly making poor decisions and running into trouble. 3
Shane Horgan – Hardly seen as an attacking force, apart from one cross-field kick aimed at aim when he had switched to the left wing. Solid enough in defence but no real impact on the game. 4
Brian O’Driscoll – Played with passion and authority unlike those around him, constantly trying to inspire his side in adversity. Took his try superbly with a well-timed run onto O’Gara’s pass, and involved in all of Ireland’s best moments. 7
Gordon D’Arcy – Nowhere near his best again, running into trouble at times,and well shackled by the Pumas defence. One half-break in second half but spoiled it by getting turned over in the tackle. Disappointing. 4
Denis Hickie – Came to Ireland’s rescue in first half when he got to loose ball ahead of Contepomi to prevent a try, and spent most of his final Test before retirement on defensive duty. Warmly applauded as he went off with 10 minutes left, but not the way he would have wanted to bow out. 5
Ronan O’Gara – A couple of probing chips apart, his kicking game was a pale imitation of the player we have known over many years, lacking direction and power. Good pass sent O’Driscoll over, but otherwise failed to galvanise his backs. 5
Eoin Reddan – Hesitation at the base of the scrum did not help his side, and hospital pass to O’Driscoll put his side on the back foot, from where they didn’t recover. Too often scragged in possession and inexperience showed. Little to justify selectorial favour. 4
Marcus Horan – Part of a scrum which struggled to gain parity and sent backwards on a couple of occasions. Dropped pass on left flank in his only real sighting in the loose, and looked exhausted long before the end. 4
Jerry Flannery – A couple of line-out throws to O’Connell failed to reach their target but otherwise reasonably solid at set-piece. Tackled hard around fringes before being replaced with 15 minutes left. 5
John Hayes – Struggled to hold his own with Roncero at scrum-time, and spent a punishing afternoon doing his line-out lifting and defensive duties. Looked shocked to receive a pass from O’Driscoll in second half. 4
Donnacha O’Callaghan – Was Ireland’s go-to man in the line-out after O’Connell’s early troubles, tackled well around the fringes, and work on the floor retrieved ball for O’Driscoll’s try. Conceded a penalty for high tackle on Contepomi, his last act before going off with 15 minutes left. 6
Paul O’Connell – Not the reliable target of old in the line-out, missing a couple of throws, before recovering some stature in the second half. Put in his fair share of tackles and one charge late on, but his team needed more from him. 4
Simon Easterby – His usual busy stint around the breakdown area, and took a couple of line-outs, but struggled to stem the tide of Pumas marauders. Penalised for collapsing an Argentine maul at the start of second half; not ideal. 5
David Wallace – A burst off a ruck in the opening minute was the cue for his best game in the tournament, showing plenty of energy around the field, tackled well, and great support and scoring pass for Geordan Murphy’s try. Came off with 15 minutes left. 7
Denis Leamy – A couple of charges off the base of the scrum and kept hammering away until the bitter end, but couldn’t make much headway against a superb Pumas fringe defence. Driven back in the tackle on one occasion. 5
Neil Best – Had a three-minute spell as a blood replacement in first half, and came on for Wallace with 15 minutes, adding fresh energy to a losing cause. 6
Rory Best – Replaced Flannery after 65 minutes and found his targets at the line-out. 5
Malcolm O’Kelly – Came on for O’Callaghan with 15 minutes left but little Big Mal could do to stem the tide. Might that be the last we see of him at Test level? 5
Isaac Boss – Thrown into the fray with 14 minutes left and started with a good tackle, but little else of note. 5
Gavin Duffy – Replaced Hickie for the final 10 minutes, but saw little of the action.
Not used: Bryan Young and Paddy Wallace
Bryn Palmer is the BBC Sport website’s rugby union editor.