Get in! Mike Phillips celebrates scoring the crucial try to mark his 50th cap

IT WAS a cracking game at the Millennium Stadium as Wales clinched a 19-13 victory despite a try-line siege from Ireland in the final few minutes. Both sides contributed magnificently to the most entertaining match of this year’s Six Nations to date – but how did the players rate?

WALES

Lee Byrne 72
Few flaky moments in Wales’ 22 but looked dangerous when running from deep.

Leigh Halfpenny 68
Executed long-range penalty to perfection and looked good in wide channels.

Jamie Roberts 71
Took Wales attack into heart of Irish defence with powerful surges.

Jonathan Davies 68
Little opportunity to show his attacking skills but did little wrong.

Shane Williams 72
Worked usual magic in tight spaces but couldn’t break completely clear.

James Hook 81
More of a conservative display from Wales’ flair master – but it worked perfectly.

Boot boy: BBC Man of the Match James Hook

Mike Phillips 78
Great reactions for controversial try and happy to show Ireland his physical side.

Paul James 68
Coped admirably when having to switch to tighthead early on.

Matthew Rees 82
Quick thinking led to Phillips try, albeit illegally, and work-rate was exceptional.

Craig Mitchell 62
Limited opportunity to make an impact before leaving field with injury.

Bradley Davies 77
Lived up to his reputation as a great ball-carrier and worked hard in defence too.

Alun Wyn Jones 77
Towering in the lineout to ensure Ireland couldn’t put them under too much pressure.

Dan Lydiate 80
A rock in defence, especially in that frantic finish, and showing his class.

Sam Warburton 80
Improving with every game and looking so comfortable at Test level now.

Ryan Jones 74
Another impressive performance as he rediscovers his best form – solid not flashy.

Replacements
John Yapp called into action early and not found wanting, and Jonathan Thomas’s tackles proved important at the end.

IRELAND

Luke Fitzgerald 68
Few fumbled balls but effective when joining the line in attack.

Tommy Bowe 72
Full of running and always keen to get involved.

Try time: Brian O'Driscoll scores to equal Ian Smith's record of 24 championship tries

Brian O’Driscoll 78
A record-equalling try and didn’t let up in attack or defence throughout.

Gordon D’Arcy 65
Called into regular defensive action but has tendency to shoot out of line too fast.

Keith Earls 68
Few nice runs but little opportunity to threaten close to the line.

Ronan O’Gara 67
Showed his full repertoire of kicks to great effect but no running threat.

Eoin Reddan 65
Only a 30-second contribution – but his chargedown led to Ireland’s early try.

Cian Healy 66
Few silly errors and not as prominent a ball-carrier as usual.

Rory Best 67
Gave away a penalty in front of posts but accurate at the lineout.

Mike Ross 64
Conspicuous by absence in loose, but did his job at the set-piece.

Donncha O’Callaghan 71
Blew try-scoring chance with forward pass but no lack of effort from Munsterman.

Paul O’Connell 76
Back to his imperious best at the lineout and made presence felt in loose too.

Sean O’Brien 71
Outshined Heaslip in ball-carrying terms but sometimes runs too laterally and selfishly.

David Wallace 73
A typical top-quality performance in both the tight and the loose.

Jamie Heaslip 68
A relatively quiet game by his high standards but high work-rate at closequarters.

Replacements
Peter Stringer as effective a passer as ever but mass exodus from bench in second half wasn’t too effective.

THE KEY

0 – Should never play for this team again

10 – Shocker – lucky to get picked again this season

20 – Out of his depth

30 – Did one or two things right – must improve

40 – Willing but woeful

50 – Minimum requirement for  a professional – average

60 – Solid effort and a decent performance

70 – Made key contributions and guaranteed his place for next time

80 – Superb – should give himself a pat on the back

90 – A personal best – his greatest game ever

100 – Faultless – no one could play a better game in this position

May covers
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  • Martyn Winters

    You’re being ironic, right?