Wales 22 Ireland 9: Wales player ratings

John O’Sullivan runs the rule over a victorious Welsh side at the Millennium Stadium

Justin Tipuric helped Wales dominate the backrow battle against Ireland in Cardiff. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty

Justin Tipuric helped Wales dominate the backrow battle against Ireland in Cardiff. Photograph: Stu Forster/Getty

 

Leigh Halfpenny: He’s not the player that he was but he did manage to make a couple of crucial interventions in defence. He missed an early conversion but thereafter kicked everything. Rating: 7

George North: Back to his barnstorming best, he looked sharp, powerful and focused and finished his brace of tries with a typically muscular and athletic flourish. Rating: 8.

Jonathan Davies: He was effective in defence in shutting down the Irish players in the outside channel, forcing them into cross-kicks or seeking avenues closer-in. Rating: 7.

Scott Williams: Superb run and offload for North’s first try and was a handful for a while but also missed a few tackles and his replacement Jamie Roberts did make an impact. Rating: 7.

Liam Williams: Unusually quiet for him, he didn’t get much of a chance in attack, nor was he that prominent in defence. Rating: 6

 Dan Biggar: Two intercepted passes aside, he had some telling interventions in covering in defence and also varying the point of the Welsh attacks. Rating: 7.

Rhys Webb: Given the man-of-the-match award for a performance that got better as the game went on, starting from a low point of conceding two penalties but then reaching the heights of a brilliant creative influence. Rating: 8.

Rob Evans: Huge workload, carried very effectively and regularly and also looked reasonably comfortable in the scrum. Rating: 7

Ken Owens: The man who hasn’t lost a lineout throw in the Six Nations, maintained that proud record and did plenty more besides a fine, industrious display. Rating: 7

Tomas Francis: They used him as a buttress to try and break the Irish line and he didn’t shirk those responsibilities, while also shoring up a scrum that had creaked in previous games. Rating: 7

Jake Ball: Took on the hard yards and his calling of the Welsh lineout was impressive as it was blemish free and while he gave away a silly lineout penalty, he put in a huge shift. Rating: 7

Alun Wyn Jones (capt): Not as auspicious start as he was stripped by Jack McGrath but thereafter was back to his best, two lineout steals, one crucial one. Rating: 8

Sam Warburton: It was his thunderous tackle on Sexton that rattled the Irish outhalf to his core and the former Welsh captain was the immoveable object on the gain-line. A brilliant display, particularly in defence. Rating: 8.

Justin Tipuric: Lineout option and human dynamo, on both sides of the ball, I would have given him the man-of-the match award for a stunning display of athleticism. Rating: 9.

Ross Moriarty: Good support play for first try and a typically uncompromising and confrontational performance. Rating: 7.

Bench: Jamie Roberts scored a try, Luke Charteris nicked a lineout and offered an athletic and mobile presence in defence at a time when Wales need one. Taulupe Faletau was another who pressed strongly for a starting slot next time. Rating: 7.

Coach: Rob Howley kept faith with his team and they rewarded him with the hard-nosed performance and sustained it through the 80-minutes; a vindication. Rating: 8.

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