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Ireland v Scotland player ratings

Six Nations Ireland
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Ireland made it two wins out of three in this year's competition with an ultimately impressive 34-13 over Scotland, capped by a fine display from rejuvenated full-back Geordan Murphy.

The Leicester Tiger was named man-of-the-match after earning reselection in the wake of injury to full-back Girvan Dempsey.

James Standley has rated Ireland's players, while I ran the rule over the Scotland side.

Let us know whether you agree and what you made of their displays.

IRELAND RATINGS by James Standley

Geordan Murphy – The Leicester full-back produced his club form for his country as he turned in a dazzling display. He showed classy touches with both boot and hands; took some great catches from high balls, produced one glorious break and was always available in support. No doubt Eddie O’Sullivan will now drop him. 9

Tommy Bowe – The Ulster winger was quiet compared to some of the other Irish backs in the first half but was more prominent after the break. He took his first try superbly and was delighted to have a second handed to him on a plate right at the death. 7

Brian O'Driscoll – The captain produced a superb break and pass for the second try and was always keen for work in defence, but there is surely more to come from the Ireland talisman. 6

Andrew Trimble – He began the match with a couple of good hits to halt Scotland attacks and grew as an attacking force the longer the game went on, producing a couple of searing breaks as Ireland opened up. 8

Robert Kearney – The Leinster player is another of Ireland’s youngsters who looks assured of a long future in the green shirt. He swept well at the back from the wing, kicked assuredly and took his try with some style. 8

Ronan O'Gara – A cracking display from the Munsterman. He showed good vision to spark the move which led to the second try, produced a fine kick for the third try and then followed up with a brilliant reverse flick for the fourth. Marshalled his troops superbly, kicked well off the deck and generally ran the show. 8

Eoin Reddan – The Wasps number nine was his usual lively self around the base and his ability to mix up his game helped Ireland constantly keep the Scots on the move. 7

Marcus Horan – Always one of the livelier front-row presences in the loose, he scored a fine try from O’Gara’s pin-point cross-kick and held his own in the scrum. 7

Bernard Jackman – When you are the hooker your primary role is to hit your jumpers at the line-out and he struggled. He saw an early line-out throw picked off, was not straight after 32 minutes and was picked off again before the break, negating his good work in the loose. 5

John Hayes – Led a major defensive scrum drive late in first half and was increasingly on top in the scrums as the game wore on. And he still had enough to get around the park and put in his share of tackles. 7

Donncha O’Callaghan – Was part of a shaky Ireland line-out but that looked more down to Jackman’s shaky throwing than any fault on the part of O’Callaghan, who was prominent in the trenches. 7

Mick O’Driscoll – Did his best to fill the shoes of Paul O’Connell, who came on to replace him late in the second half. Tried his heart out but was not a dominant figure. 6

Denis Leamy – The battle between the back rows was always going to be close and Leamy was just outshone by opposite number Alasdair Strokosch. 6

David Wallace – Pacy and always eager for work, he strolled over for a well-worked try in the first half and produced a couple of typically rapid breaks as the hosts took control after the interval. 7

Jamie Heaslip – Played his part in Wallace’s try with a neat inside pass and always a presence for Ireland in both attack and defence. 7


Rory Best – The replacement hooker came on midway though the second half for Jackman, but Ireland’s troubles continued in the line-out. 5

Paul O'Connell – Back from injury to replace Mick O’Driscoll after 55 minutes and did his best to impose himself with a couple of muscular carries. 6

Simon Easterby – On for Heaslip after 69 minutes.

Peter Stringer – On for Reddan after 71 minutes.

Shane Horgan – On for Brian O’Driscoll after 69 minutes, gave the scoring pass for the final try. 6


Hugo Southwell – A fairly solid presence at the back for Scotland and brave in defence, though five opposition tries should trouble the conscience of any self-respecting full-back. A mixed bag with the boot, but some good link-up play with his three-quarters. Replaced by Dan Parks, with Paterson moving to full-back, on 66 minutes. 6

Rory Lamont – Plenty of bustle and went close to scoring twice just before the break, first when he burrowed to within inches of the Ireland line, and then shortly after in the right corner. A few other little cameos, particularly during Scotland’s purple patch in the middle of the second half but industrious rather than impressive. 6

Simon Webster – Showed his intent with a well executed catch-and-counter early in the first half. Grew into the chief pain in Ireland’s backside out wide as the second half wore on with his own brand of spiky running, capped by a well taken poacher’s try off Henderson’s little flick. Kept Brian O’Driscoll fairly quiet, too. 7

Andrew Henderson – Squandered a good try-scoring opportunity in the first-half as he failed to locate team-mate Rory Lamont begging to be released outside. Also guilty of letting Geordan Murphy through the Scottish midfield en route to Rob Kearney’s try. 5

Nikki Walker – Will have more sparkling days in a Scotland shirt. Or then again, maybe not. Will be embarrassed that Ireland loose-head prop Marcus Horan scored on his wing after a cross-kick from Ronan O’Gara. Tried to get involved and had his moments but restricted to a journeyman’s performance. 5

Chris Paterson – Maintained 100% kicking record and has now not missed for Scotland since a pre-World Cup warm-up game against Ireland in August. Began with a series of up-and-unders, some slightly short, but grew in authority and manoeuvred Scotland around the park well. Link play was effective enough but otherwise, not a frightening fly-half a la Dan Carter. 6

Mike Blair – Snappy-ish, busy and eager enough without really excelling. A few things not quite coming off and couldn’t quite hold Tommy Bowe for Ireland’s fourth try, though you can’t really finger him as the fall-guy for a sublime Irish move. 6

Allan Jacobsen – An aggressive little barrel of a prop and ferocious in the close-quarter defensive situations. Always on hand for his share of head-down carrying duties but will rue his part in Scotland being shoved off their own attacking scrum at the end of the first half. 6

Ross Ford – The odd early throw wasn't straight but otherwise found his impressive jumpers in a generally well-functioning Scotland line-out team. Industrious and nuggety in defence. 6

Euan Murray – Got through plenty of work and matched Jacobsen for effort, though penalised for collapsing a scrum in the second half as Ireland began to gain the edge up front. Limped off with five minutes left. 6

Nathan Hines – Hirsute. Chief pantomime villain for the Irish fans and a constant nuisance in the line-out and the loose. Anchored a promising if not faultless Scotland second row but was guilty of squandering a dangerous Scotland position close to Ireland’s line just before half-time as he chose to administer some retribution with a volley of haymakers. 7

Scott MacLeod - Safe hands alongside Hines and a less confrontational character, though no less effective for it. Lots of grunt in the Scotland engine room and a satisfactory enough day at the office. 6

Alasdair Strokosch – Arguably the hardest working Scotsman on the park. Always in the thick of things and instrumental for Scotland in defence and attack. Popped up for a couple of runs and tidied up well in the line-out and around the contact area. 7

Allister Hogg – Possibly not at his best and spilled a few balls. Got through his workload OK, with a few yards gained here, a good tackle made there, but nothing to write home about. 6

Kelly Brown – The weak link in Scotland’s back row at Croker. Defended too wide from an attacking Ireland scrum to allow David Wallace through his channel for the first try under posts. Several other blips saw him hauled off on 45 minutes and will have added up to a question mark in coach Frank Hadden’s head. 5


Fergus Thomson – on for Ford on 69 minutes.

Gavin Kerr – on for Jacobsen on 71 minutes.

James Hamilton – on for Hogg on 64 minutes. Carried off with serious leg injury late on.

Ross Rennie - on for Brown on 45 minutes but unable to make a real difference. 6

Chris Cusiter – on for Blair on 70 minutes.

Dan Parks – on at fly-half on 66 minutes, with Paterson moving to full-back in place of Southwell.

Nick De Luca - on for Walker as blood replacement on 61 minutes, then back on for Henderson on 69 minutes.

Latest 10 comments

Read members' comments or add your own

posted Feb 25, 2008

There are so so many things I could post but ultimately all I want to say is EOS has to go and soon. He needs to be bought out of his contract, because I think he has stifled Irish rugby for the past 2 -3 years. I mean, yes we played against Scotland but EOS hand was forced to make all the changes that mattered… he is finally playing the players in their positions not because he wants to but because the Irish public demand it. Why is he still in the job, because the executive decisions are clearly not been made by him! If he had his way, EOS would still be playing the lack-luster first-team that bombed out in the world-cup. He proved this by effectively playing the same first team against Italy at the start of the six nations.

The reason why Ireland are playing well is due to the fact that the players’ are playing for their country and the green jersey; there are certainly not playing for EOS! His reluctance to bring in new faces and play players in their rightful positions should be his downfall. This is apparent to everyone… so why is he still in the job?

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posted Feb 26, 2008

I love how the irish contingent are still adment it was Eddies fault at the world cup!!!
You were knocked out by two teams superior to you and it wouldnt matter who you had as coach!!!
EOS may not be the best coach but he certainly wasnt the problem at the world cup!! Argentina showed passion, pride, hunger and skill at the highest level and many teams need to take a leaf out of the argy book!! Every player fought till the end to bring their nation the success they deserve!! Every person in the Argy squad were will to put their body on the line when it mattered most hence the reason they got 3rd place!!!

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posted Feb 26, 2008

im sorry ros but ur wrong!in no uncertain terms u are wrong!u go through the argentina team and the irish team and u will see baring the front row, contemponi and hernandes, the irish players were far superior, played together more often and trained together more often!so why did they not win?the coaching staff picked players not on form, the players seemed to not be any less motivated and Osullivan has only made changes to the 6 nations team coz he was forced to due to injury. are u sayin if we did not have a warren gatland, jake white or nick mallet we would not have gone further....rubbish course we would because we have a very talented bunch of players who needed pointing in the right direction. for dear sakes we scraped past namibia and nearly got beaten by georgia!!!!!!!!with no changes following those dismal performances!!!so in closing u r wrong, just plain wrong....sorry

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posted Feb 26, 2008

So are you trying to tell me that 5 argentineans won them 3rd place!!! Think your the one that is wrong mate!!! Corletto, Pichot, Todeschini, the Lobbe brothers, Leguizamon etc etc even manuel contepomi. All these guys played briliantly at the WC!!! You all love O'driscoll yet he aint been on form for 2years!! Argentina beat you twice before the WC then at the WC!!! Before you go ranting that it was a 2nd string before the WC the same can be said about the Argentinean team!!! Argentina outplayed you in all departments on the pitch so I don't get why you all still harp on about the WC, you were the 3rd best team in that group no arguements!!! And by arguing that your players were "superior, played together more often and trained together more often" (your exact words) is stupid cause if that was the case you would have won!!! Really you've just turned round and praised argentina for being less skilled, hardly played together and hardly trained together yet they beat you!!! Good arguement you idiot!!!

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posted Feb 26, 2008

no hes right ross-bal4 (mostly), you're wrong!

EOS has felt compelled to stick with the same team, regardless of who's been knocking on the door. he didn't change things at the WC when it was blatantly clear some players were totally off-form. from all reports it seems he did nothing to ignite a stale atmosphere at what should have been a vibrant training camp at the WC. it has taken injuries and intense pressure for him to change the team this 6Ns. i can understand his reasons, he's ben coach for Ireland for many years now and as a result he's grown attached to the old players he's been through thick and thin with and they've come up trumps for him in the past. but he's struggled to move on. its gotten stale and whether or not people think EOS has done a bad job for Ireland, he's past his shelf-life. the team needs change IMO

Argentina played damn well though, some of the best rugby in the tournament, other than a blip against SA. It wasn't a fluke, they'd been playing great rugby for a while before that, its just most people hadnt really seen them/taken them seriously. The whole squad performed brlliantly i agree, but hernandez and contemponi at times were just on a different planet...n corletto was a pretty adept replacement FB when hernandez switched to FH! Argentina were greatly superior to Ireland peachlegs, you're mistaken there or maybe i just misinterpreted it.

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posted Feb 26, 2008

davemim are you saying i'm mostly correct??

Argentina have been looking for that final step for so long and have finally made it (at the WC) to the top table and fully deserve it!!!

I have nothing against peachlegs but I just wish Argentina would be given the respect they fully deserve!! They are one of the biggest hitting teams around and have one of the best forward pack around.

In my eyes Scotland have roughly the same problem with Hadden in that he tries to play his old Edinburgh boys when there are far superior players!! Plus we have a lack of players in some positions (standoff and centre) and to many in others (secondrow backrow).

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posted Feb 26, 2008

Totally agree with you regarding Argentina, I was v tempted at placing a wee bet on Argentina prior to the WC, v much under-rated at the time.

but I disagree with you completely regarding EOS...having France and Argentina in the group, I can accept it if we're beaten whilst giving a good account of ourselves, but we didn't and no changes were made, not even against the minnows!

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posted Feb 26, 2008

ros i was trying to make my point about osullivan and u inadvertently supported me in many ways!!!we have better preparation, training and in many departments better players therefore osullivans coaching has to come into question!!!!i am not getting at argentina they played with passion which i love to see but i am focusin on osullivan and ur silly comment that it doesnt matter which coach u had u still would of finished 3rd....what a load of bull!!!osullivan has killed off what should have been the most succesful years of irish rugby, looking at our backline with the likes of ogara odriscol darcy horgan hickie- dear god that backline has phenomal talent!!!and yet failed miserably at the WC!!conservative mr osullivan ruined this backline which had talent brimming from every pore!!are u saying another coach could not of got more out of them...well u did and ur wrong in saying that, im focusin on osullivan not argentinas brilliant progress and WC campaign.

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posted Feb 27, 2008

All I am saying is that it was a tough group and I don't think another coach would have made a big difference as I think Argentina were always destined to win that group!!! You may have challanged france for the 2nd slot but if you had turned up with jake white and Gatlan I don't think it would have made a massive difference!!

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posted Feb 27, 2008

you see thats where you're wrong ross, i really think it would have made a difference

it was a tough group, but i dont think anyone could doubt ireland had the potential to get through that group even with argentina playing so well...france didnt exactly set the group on fire and were there for the taking...not sure i like all this talk about gatland tho...3 games in for wales with his toughest to come, perhaps they're still in the honeymoon period with him

i would like to see jake white come in and shake things up a bit tho

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Rate Breakdown

  • 5 66.67%
    2 votes
  • 4 33.33%
    1 votes
  • 3
    0 votes
  • 2
    0 votes
  • 1
    0 votes

average rating:
4.67 from 3 votes