Wales player ratings: Wayne Pivac’s first capped game in charge of Wales could not have gone much better, with a bonus point wrapped up and a completely clean sheet.
There will certainly be tougher games for Wales in this tournament but you can only play what’s in front of you and Wales attacked with noticeably more flair, even if not everything they touched turned to gold.
Which players impressed most? We rate the full squad below.
- Leigh Halfpenny – 8
Since his return from his concussion troubles, Halfpenny seems to have refound some of his attacking spark. His assist for Adams’ first try was lovely and it was his quick thinking that helped set up Wales’ fourth. Excellent defensive positioning, as always.
- Johnny McNicholl – 7
Impressed in his uncapped outing against the Barbarians and did so again here. Not the highest level of competition but he looked comfortable with the ball in hand and at his feet.
- George North – 7
A controversial decision at centre, despite the paucity of current alternatives, North grew into the game – although Nick Tompkins stole the show in midfield. There was plenty of promise there towards the end, however. His finish for the disallowed try was a reminder of his threat.
- Hadleigh Parkes – 7
Given the difficulties in the centre, Pivac was always likely to ask his trusted lieutenant to hold the midfield together and he did so well until he went off with that appeared to be an injury after 52 minutes. That will be a worry ahead of Ireland next week.
- Josh Adams – 9
Remarkably appeared to be flying a little under the radar, despite topping the Rugby World Cup try-scoring chart and a year of impressive performances in 2019. He has 10 tries in 8 games after his hat-trick here and surely must be considered one of the best wingers in the world right now.
- Dan Biggar – 9
Anyone who questioned if he could bring his Saints form to Wales got their answer. The flick through the legs pass for Adams’ second try will star in the highlights reels but his all-round game was superb, from the crucial tackle to stop an Italy break to his trademark kicking.
- Tomos Williams – 8
The form scrum half in Wales and the coming man, although there is a high calibre of competition, he put in an action-packed display and was unlucky not to get a try for his efforts. His one handed catch in midfield is likely to see some social media action, though.
- Wyn Jones – 7
His power in the scrum continues to see off his Scarlets teammate and rival, Rob Evans. Here he put in a solid tackle count too and helped give the backs a platform.
- Ken Owens – 7
Pivac’s former Scarlets captain was always going to be in his first team and held a less experienced front row together well. His leadership was palpable, as always.
- Dillon Lewis – 7
A huge job to do in the absence of the injured Tomas Francis and didn’t let anyone down although didn’t quite have the impact of his replacement.
- Jake Ball – 6
A relatively quiet game for the burly forward, except for one clear out in the first half that night catch the citing commissioners eye.
- Alun-Wyn Jones (capt) – 8
Wales were pushing for the bonus point try and, unsurprisingly, it was the captain who quite literally got them over the line, with his powerful latch ensuring North touched the ball down. So indicative of his influence.
- Aaron Wainwright – 7
Part of an all-singing, all-dancing back row that didn’t get to show as much flair as fans might have hoped, as the backs stole the glory. Put in 17 tackles, outstripping both his captain and Tipuric – a rare feat.
- Justin Tipuric – 9
The flanker was always known for his skillful play and wide channel work but in recent years he has been noticeable for the grunt work he does. Another high tackle count here, as well as some significant breakdown work, and another Man of the Match award.
- Taulupe Faletau – 7
He hasn’t started a Six Nations game since 2018 and how Wales fans have missed him, despite their success in the meantime. Went off early after a relatively quiet but assured game and Wales fans will be relieved he appeared unscathed.
Ryan Elias – 7
The Scarlets man shows great promise and was reliable again here.
Rob Evans – 7
Surely determined to prove a point after missing out on world cup selection but had to make do with a bench spot here. No mistakes.
Leon Brown – 8
Some powerful carrying and rucking. He is an exciting prospect.
Cory Hill – 7
Got stuck in immediately, showing off both his work rate and handling ability.
Ross Moriarty – 7
Not a bad player to have coming off the bench.
Rhys Webb – 7
There was a touch of the prodigal son returning in the welcome Webb got as he came on, being roared by the crowd. Hasn’t lost his touch.
Jarrod Evans – 7
Didn’t get to show much of what he can do but some interesting flashes. May well get more game time as this tournament goes on.
Nick Tompkins – 9
Looked perfectly comfortable at this level, featuring at both 13 while McNicholl had an HIA and then at 12 when Parkes went off, getting a try and almost setting up another. An excellent snaffle by Pivac.
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