- 9 Sep 07, 09:19 PM
By Richard Hookham
Ireland lurched to an opening 32-17 victory over supposed tournament whipping boys Namibia in Bordeaux on Sunday.
Coach Eddie O'Sullivan's men at least top the pool after winning a bonus point for scoring four tries but there will be far greater tests to come and the battle is well and truly on with France and Argentina to escape the "group of death".
Let us know what you make of the ratings, and your views in general of the Ireland performance.
Girvan Dempsey Rarely able to come into the line and was outsprinted in a chase for a kick-ahead by centre Piet van Zyl for Namibia’s second try - 5
Andrew Trimble Calmly collected O’Gara’s cross-field kick to touch down for Ireland’s second try on the right wing. Tried to come inside and look for work after the break, but was partially at fault for Namibia’s second score in the second half - 6
Brian O'Driscoll (capt) The Ireland captain showed his intentions with a brilliant opening try when following up his own kick-ahead from Peter Stringer’s pass. Solid midfield defence and break created Flannery's try but was starved of enough quality good ball in the second half to really dictate proceedings - 7
Gordon D'Arcy Patchy performance. Made some typically willing midfield bursts but was let down by poor final delivery and some worrying handling, including one shocking drop from O’Gara’s simple pass, deep in his own half after the break - 4
Denis Hickie Took a huge early hit from Ryna Vitbooi and still looked groggy 10 minutes later when he dropped a simple catch on an overlap. Made some incisive runs on the left wing, but fluffed another take from O’Driscoll just after the restart and looked decidedly rattled - 4
Ronan O'Gara Took a while to settle, but his tap penalty and long kick to the right wing set up Andrew Trimble for Ireland’s second. Showed some inconsistent distribution but to be honest, he was on the back-foot for much of the second half as Namibia had the bit between their teeth - 5
Peter Stringer Winning his 78th cap, the little scrum-half produced a typically tenacious performance, although he suffered from receiving slow ball as his forwards became embroiled in a gruelling battle. One wild pass in the second half was nearly intercepted for a Namibian breakaway - 6
Denis Leamy The big number eight set out his stall with a rampaging early run, but there wasn’t enough of it later on . Forced into more defensive work than he would have wanted but still looked Ireland’s most potent weapon in the loose - 6
David Wallace Quiet first half and forced into making plenty of important tackles. Needed to assert himself around the fringes but was matched by a well-drilled Namibian back-row - 5
Simon Easterby The Llanelli flanker piled over for Ireland’s third try from a ruck on the half hour. Made some important tackles around the fringes but drifted out the game and could have offered better running support off the ball to give Ireland more variation - 6
Paul O'Connell Plenty of hard graft in the loose, although his hands let him down at times. Lost out too often in a normally rock-solid line-out giving Namibia a platform to attack. Certainly not at his rampaging best - 5
Donncha O'Callaghan Offered himself for plenty of little pops off the side of the ruck and looked hungry for some of the dirty work around the fringes, but struggled to dictate in the line-out where it mattered - 5
John Hayes Canny scummaging work against a fearsome Namibian front-row, forcing his opposite number to collapse the scrum more than once. Battled well, but not enough impact in the loose - 5
Rory Best His hit-and-miss throwing meant Ireland’s line-out wasn’t as solid as it should have been. Worked hard in the loose but was replaced late in the second half - 4
Marcus Horan Penalised for not releasing in the ruck which gave Namibia their chance to slot a penalty right on half-time. Faced a real battle in the scrum and did well to carry on after straining his back in the second half - 6
Jerry Flannery Came on at hooker for Rory Best and almost immediately got himself on the scoresheet with a controversial try on the left touchline, as Ireland made a rare foray into the Namibian 22 - 6
Simon Best Came on for Marcus Horan on 62 minutes. Little to distinguish himself from the rest - 5
Neil Best Little time to impose himself, coming on with just a few minutes remaining - 5
Paddy Wallace and Geordan Murphy came on too late to be assessed.