Argentina v England: England player ratings

1. Joe Marler: 6.5
Not bad but not great from the Harlequins man. Temper seemed to get the better of him at times amid petulant provocations from the opposing front row.

2.Rob Webber: 7.5
Near perfect lineout throwing but he impressed mostly in the loose where he carried with purpose and tackled superbly. Very impressive in his last two starts.

3. David Wilson: 7
Seemed to thrive opposite an inexperienced front row as showed his scrummaging prowess. Tackled well and proved very reliable in Dan Cole’s absence.

4. Joe Launchbury: 8
The young lock is maturing at a rate of knots and this was a performance beyond his years. Seemed everywhere at points in the first half and impressed as part of a dominant pack.

5. Dave Attwood: 8
Terrific target at the lineout and tackled well. Looked tired towards the end of his shift but the work he put in was crucial to England’s set-piece dominance.

6. Tom Wood: 7
A typically industrious performance from the captain. Alongside Attwood, the service he provided from the lineout set the foundation.

7. Matt Kvesic: 7.5
A lot was expected of him as a genuine openside and he seemed to have a nervy start but grew in confidence throughout the game. Made tackle after tackle (20 in total, a mammoth figure) and showed glimpses of his ability to thrive at the breakdown.

8. Ben Morgan: 9
A massive performance from Morgan who used the dominance of his pack to make several breaks from the back of the scrum. Showed terrific running power and took his try really well. What would have been for England had he been fit in Cardiff?

9. Lee Dickson: 6
A quiet if unspectacular game from the scrum half. Showed plenty of life but didn’t utilise his forwards’ dominance as much as he perhaps should have.

10. Freddie Burns: 7
Question marks may still remain about his game management after England’s tempo dropped after the break but he was impressive enough to provide his back line with quality service. Kicked well from the tee in a hostile atmosphere.

11. David Strettle: 6
A well taken try masked a fairly sloppy performance from Strettle. Finished well to score but showed carelessness in possession throughout. Defended well enough but was hardly challenged from Argentina’s wide men.

12. Billy Twelvetrees: 9
A majestic performance. Ran great lines and was rewarded with an easy try. His line breaks were a joy to behold as he exploited the aged Contepomi and gained huge ground. His defensive work backed up what was an inside centre masterclass.

13. Jonathan Joseph: 7.5
Showed glimpses of his pace and power in what was a good performance. Worked hard to make the most of any chance he had. His support play to Twelvetrees was invaluable in bringing Wade and Strettle into play.

14. Christian Wade: 8.5
Showed his searing pace as he cantered away and offloaded well to Morgan for the first try. Gained good ground for England and he had Argentina’s defence running backwards at times. A certain starter for next week and beyond.

15. Mike Brown: 7
Looked composed and comfortable at his preferred position of full-back. A solid performance with lots of metres made – however, Ben Foden’s cameo will put his place under pressure.


Courteney Lawes looked lively in his brief appearance before being sent to the bin.

Ben Foden was instrumental in the lead up to Billy Vunipola’s late try and will give Stuart Lancaster plenty to think about come next week.

Billy Vunipola grabbed a late try, taking advantage of a tired Argentina but after Morgan’s performance he may just have to wait a little longer for his first England start.

David Paice, Henry Thomas and Paul Doran-Jones picked up from where their colleagues left off when introduced.

Richard Wigglesworth made no real impact when he came on.

Kyle Eastmond showed plenty of spark in place of Jonathan Joseph and his diminutive figure proved elusive at times.

By Rich Elkins (@richelkins)

45 thoughts on “Argentina v England: England player ratings

  1. Strettle: 6 is ridiculous. He deserves a 1, and that’s only for his finish for the one try out of four he didn’t butcher. Hopefully his last game in an England shirt.

      1. agree with the lads above. Strettle has done May and Yarde some favours here.

        Even Foden could be an option at 11. It would mean both he and Brown play, and he is more of a “finisher” so would be more of a threat on the wing than Brown.

  2. Wade only 8.5? Surely a 9 he had a hand in three tries, was all over the place in a good way and was a constant threat, he was easily as good if not better than Morgan & 36.

    A few more performances like that and its bye, bye Ashton.

    Also Strettle deseerves less than 6 as it was a total school boyhandling error which stopped him walking in a second try for himself, prooving why he is not first pick at 11.

  3. “Wade only 8.5? Surely a 9 he had a hand in three tries, was all over the place in a good way and was a constant threat, he was easily as good if not better than Morgan & 36.”

    He didn’t touch the ball in the second half. He had a few nice touches and looked really sharp out there, but I’d say 8.5 is a tad high

    1. Totally disagree, yes he didn’t get as involved in the second half, as did other players but it was clear the team were told to ease off as the game was won and its better to save legs for the second test when your playing a game at around 4000ft above sea level in intense heat.

      To say he desevered lower puts him almost on a par with Strettle and Wade totally outplayed him regardless of the try.

  4. Decent game from a few players, but the second half was incredibly disappointing. Lawes’ yellow card was so unnecessary, continues to show his immaturity as a player.

    Morgan is a good carrier, but he really needs to get more on top of it. Easily isolated a couple of times against Argentina, running straight into contact without support. He needs to learn to run an angle and give everyone a chance to get with him.

    1. Thought Lawes’ card was more of a team card and he just happened to be the unfortunate player who got punished

      But yes, the penalty he gave away was completely unnecessary.

    2. Wookie, there were a few times when Morgan was looking frantically for someone to offload to, but had no one on the shoulder.

      Players need to bust a gut to get with him. we saw what happened when wade did… it lead to a clean break and eventual try.

      the big lad actually has a great skill set (something that was sighted by Rowntree when he first committed to england)

  5. It mystifies me that nobody rates Dickson as a scrum half. It seems that when a scrum half doesn’t snipe around the fringes often he is seen as having had a quiet game, when actually Dickson was really at the heart of the attacking prowess in the first half. He doesn’t fanny around at the base of the ruck and provides an incredibly snappy service that keeps the opposition on the back foot. Look in the highlights: In the buildup to Twelvetree’s try the speed with which he gets to the breakdown and moves the ball on in the final phase is phenomenal. England somewhat dried up as an attacking force when he came off for Wigglesworth.

    1. interesting comment on the “sniping”.

      guys who snipe are regularly regarded as “busy”. but if the sniping doesnt work, then they come under scrutiny for “crabbing across at rucks”.

      Dickson does his job effectively and efficiently. he gets to a ruck, and he passes the ball. Burns is the guy who has been told to run the show, Dickson is just providing the ball.

      Sometimes its good to have a 9 who passes. plus, a 9 who isnt deemed a “running threat” surprises everyone when he actually does run.

  6. Christian Wade, brilliant vision and so unselfish, team player through and through, we could do with more of them.

    1. agree, was very impressed with his ability to create here.

      for wasps i have seen him blow the odd chance, because he wants to finish the opportunities he creates. but it seems that for england he doesnt care about scoring tries (maybe no varndell to compete with), winning is more important to him.

      very impressed so far!

  7. Think the ratings were justified at half time, but a little on the high side for a team that only managed to get 35% possession in the second half. After such an excellent start I was disappointed to see the little ball we did have being kicked away aimlessly into the breeze for the gain of limited territory.

    The highlights:
    – Morgan’s passing and improved work rate to go with the power we know he has was a huge plus.
    – Delighted to see that Wade’s speed of mind matches his speed of foot, thought his ability to fix defenders and deliver great passes was exceptional.
    – Stormer from 36
    – Kvesic 20 tackles (100%), gave away too many pens but a very encouraging debut.

    The lowlights:
    – 15 penalties many of which were needless.
    – Brown & Strettle: Not bad but surely not enough to hold off the challenge from Foden/Yarde/May

  8. Think the scores for Brown and Strettle are generous. Does Brown EVER pass. Reminded my of the Italy game in the 6n where seemed to do his utmost to ignore Ashton. Very seflish display – Foden please.

    1. thats a fair comment, i didnt really think about it too much, but Brown does seem so obsessed with beating people that he doesnt pass.

      maybe he is becoming desperate for the first test try? who knows, but it needs to change.

  9. Really hope Lancaster persevered with burns at 10, ksevic at 7 and wade on wing and does not reinstate flood, robshaw and Ashton. Quite agree yarde and may should be selected over strettle. I would also select Eliot Daley at 15 after his performance for the baa baas – 49m conversion, beautiful offload to rokokoko, lovely arcing runs, afterburner when needed and a siege gun penalty kick giving line out 5m out. What more could you want from a fullback?

    1. he is prone to the occasional clanger at 15. plus his physicality in defence has been brought up as an issue in the prem a couple times.

      personally i like daly more at 13. especially with the likes of Brown, Foden and Tait at 15.

      Daly’s versatility would mean i would look at him at 15 too, but for me he would be primarily a 13. his outside break is unreal!

      plus imagine 36 and Manu smashing and passing for 60mins, then take one off and let Daly shoot round all the tired legs for 20mins.

  10. As an addendum; don’t know who got MOTM but I thought 12t was fantastic. The most complete performance from a centre since Greenwood. He passed, scored, broke takles, ran good lines, and defended well.

  11. Thought 36 was fantastic – showing Barritt that you can be a good defender and class in attack as well.

    Wade was so good, and I would like to see a back three of Foden, Wade and Ashton, I think that offers a really good blend. Despite comments about Ashton, he runs world class supports lines – off those two, 36, Burns and Tuilagi all in a back line I honestly believe Ashton will score bundles of tries.

    Also thought Launchbury was fantastic!

    1. 100% agree Jacob.

      this “rest” could cost Barritt big time. I also think that if something happens in aus to a centre, we may see 36 called up, and not Barritt – who is one of those who is resting incase the lions call.

  12. Looking forward to the second test avidly. Very eager to see if Argentina will make any changes and play at least a few of their first team players to avoid another mauling.
    I’m massively hoping they do as it will speak volumes of the depth and future talent of the England squad.
    The strength and resources of all home nations has been sapped by the Lions tour, but whilst a second rate Wales and Ireland are getting marginal wins against Japan and USA, the second rate England are smashing Argentina. If this team can get another win, but against an Argentine side that features a few of their stars (Ayerza, Lobbe, Hernandez), then England are in a very comfortable place going into the Autumn Internationals.

    1. in fairness, i wouldnt quite categorise this as a “second rate” england.

      half of these guys (wade, twelvetrees, burns, foden, brown at 15, kvesic, billy v) have all been excellent this year. many of them have actually been better than the guys that they have replaced.

      I would highly expect these lads to replace current members of the EPS when everyone is back in contention.
      i dont think the lions will be replaced. but guys like ashton, flood, barritt and possibly haskell (would be more “expendable” than robshaw) will be under threat.

      1. Agree here – the only one I would want to see back in is Asthon. I still think he is an excellent wing, and him and Wade would really compliment each others styles.

  13. If I were to pick my starting England 1st XV today based on performances this year (bar one exception at loose head) then it would look like this:

    1. A. Corbisero
    2. T. Youngs
    3. D. Cole
    4. J. Launchbury
    5. G. Parling
    6. T. Wood
    7. C. Robshaw
    8. B. Morgan

    9. B. Youngs
    10. O. Farrell
    11. C. Wade
    12. B. Twelvetrees
    13. M. Tuilagi
    14. C. Ashton
    15. M. Brown

    16. D. Hartley / R. Webber
    17. M. Vunipola
    18. D. Wilson
    19. D. Attwood / E. Slater
    20. T. Croft
    21. D. Care
    22. F. Burns
    23. B. Foden

    A lot of people would say that Vunipola is streets ahead of Corbisero at the moment but I would disagree as, in my opinion, Corbisero is the best scrummaging loose head England have and we will be solid in the set piece in starting him alongside Cole. Every team needs to concentrate on getting the upper hand in scrum, line out and breakdown before they can set off their backs with consistent, fast and clean ball. Once this area is taken care of then Vunipola provides the perfect impact sub to go and run hard at tired defences with 25 minutes to go.

    Croft has played brilliantly since coming back from injury but I can’t ship either Wood or Robshaw. Woods game against the All Blacks was superb and a hark back to the golden days of Richard Hill whilst Robshaw’s two MOM awards during the six nations still keeps him ahead of the promising and impressive Kvesic. Croft brings dynamism to line out and lose as a sub and pace to hurt defences in the latter part of the game. Morgan’s game against Argentina showed how much we missed him against the Welsh and B. Vunipola is pushing all the way. Attwood or Slater would be my picks at second row as they both have ballast and this compliments a team with Parling and Launchbury as neither are huge men. Lawes is a gamble – he is either very good or very poor and has less than impeccable discipline which drops him out of my team.

    Solidity and fluidity in the backs with three outstanding impact subs in Care, Burns and Foden ready and waiting to completely change a game if required. Oh, and yes, Ashton on the wing with Wade on the other. Both these men were designed to run lines and they will score tries with a distributor in Twelvetrees at 12, a wrecking ball in Tuilagi at 13 and a man who consistently breaks the first tackle and runs more meters per match than most in Brown at 15.

    Simple really!

    1. like the team, and i agree with the comments regarding Corbs and Mako.

      I think that Corbs could have travelled with the lions over Mako, had he not had such an injury plagued seasons. having said that, Mako has been great so far, and will come back a better player.

      1. Completely agree with your team – almost.

        Would swap Foden over Brown. Big fan of both but I think that Foden would worry a defence more than Brown and that edges him ahead for me. Would also back Foden to finish most chances he has, whereas that is an area that I think Brown lacks, so edges Foden ever so slightly ahead.

        Would also Swap Croft in for Robshaw, moving Wood to 7.

        But it is nice to have selection dilemmas. Particularly at lock where for me, Parling and Launchbury are way ahead, then pick one of about five for the bench.

    2. Like the team very much. I would say that over the past year that Jonny May has played far better than Ashton has (which is your guidelines) but I’d still rather have Ashton in my side.

  14. “Really hope Lancaster persevered with burns at 10, ksevic at 7 and wade on wing and does not reinstate flood, robshaw and Ashton”

    That’s a bit harsh considering Robshaw was easily England’s player of the AIs and 6Ns. Robshaw clearly better at the moment, particularly beside someone like Wood.

    1. agree with Steve. i think Kvesic is good, and one for the future AND present.

      but i would not bin robbo. he and wood are excellent in tandem.

      sure, he does not fill the “genuine 7” role, but england dont have to play that way. in fact, they tend not to.

      plus, we have guys like Kvesic, Wallace and Faser to come in and play that if it is required.

      the beauty of rugby in this age is the rotation. a rugby game has become a 23man effort, not a 15. but rugby in general, tournaments and tours, have become 30man affairs. you can rotate guys in based on the style you want to play.

      i still think that Wood and Robshaw are the best flankers we have, but i would definitely not hesitate to play another flanker if needs be. and i know we are in good stead if someone gets injured.

      i think that haskell should start being regarded as an 8 though.
      with wood, croft, clark and johnson at 6, robshaw, kvesic, fraser and wallace at 7.
      we need to get a bit more depth at 8, so we have options other than just Morgan and Billy V. as we have seen, Morgan can be injury prone, and Billy is still so raw, we need at least a 3rd 8 option.

  15. Agree. You can’t drop out captain and best player. Robshaw must stay. Could possibly play at 6 and Kvesic at 7 though.

    1. but that means dropping wood, who would probably be the next in line to rival Robshaw for the “best player” award.

      also, interesting that we are labelling them as the best player, and yet Launchbury won the “England Player of the Year” award…

  16. Why was Launchbury not on the Lions plane? He is simply awesome. I would honestly rank him with Whitelock, O’Connell and Etzebeth in the top 4 locks in the world. Fantastic.

    More and more it is obvious how much Morgan was missed in the 6 nations.

    Wish Yarde was playing over strettle, who was very sloppy.

    Wade delivered.

    In terms of the back row, i think the last few years have shown balance is the key thing, which means some good players may have to sit out. In terms of competition that means:
    6 – Wood/Croft/Robshaw
    7 – Kvesic/Fraser/(Robshaw)
    8 – Morgan/Vunipola

  17. Think this is probably the beginning of the end for Hartley, Lawes and Haskell. Three players who have the physical gifts but can’t back it up with the mental edge when it matters.

    1. Not sure I agree here. Lawes and Hartley will both certainly about the England camp for years to come. Lets not forget that they are only 24 and 27 respectively; that is nowhere near old in rugby terms. For Hartley, most front rows peak around 30 (that is changing in recent years but still), there are plently of years left. Yes they both have issues, but in my opinion Hartley is still our best hooker, and Lawes can be so destructive.

      Haskell is slightly different. He will struggle due to how much competition there is, and the fact that no-one is sure of his best position. Most people think of him as a 6, when he was younger he was always thought of as a future 8, and down in NZ he played 7 every week. I am a massive Haskell fan, he brings a great amount of physicality to the game (and I think he has great banter which adds a lot to my opinion of him), but I do think he will struggle to get in many more EPS squads. He is probably being Wood and Croft at 6, behind Morgan and Vunipola at 8, and behind Robshaw, Kvesic and Fraser at 7. Difficult one.

      1. Think that Hartley and Lawes are forever getting pinged on the pitch, particularly with stupid penalties and sin binnings. That was fine when there wasn’t any opposition for the jersey, but Webber has put himself up there for selection now, as has Attwood (who I don’t think did anything wrong on his first trip into the England setup), and that puts pressure on their places. Lots of competition in the back row, although to be fair Haskell is one of the few players who can cover all backrow spots.

        To be fair, I didn’t say that it was the last we have seen of these players, but I do think that this is the point when they no longer became automatic selections to the England squad or EPS.

        1. Sorry, must stop saying “to be fair”, upon rereading my post. I sound like a football manager!

        2. Agree to a point. There is certainly a lot more competition for places now, which puts pressure on everyone.

          But I still think that Hartley is some way ahead of Webber in terms of quality. Lawes is different, as I said, there is so much competition at lock that probably only Parling and Launchbury look guaranteed. I personally would have Slater on the bench, as I’m a big fan of his. But then there is Lawes, Attwood, Kitcehiner, Myall and probably more than haven’t come to my mind.

          I still think Haskell is a really good bench option. As you mentioned he can cover all three positions, as well as having the bulk to carry good impact in the last 20 minutes.

  18. Some good comments apart from everyone wanting to reinstate Ashton. How badly does a guy have to play repeatedly for him to get left out? He has been terrible for two years for England and hardly world class for Sarries. Wade and Varndell, as well as Yarde and May are better. I’d even take Foden or Daly instead!

  19. Just to be clear – I was not suggesting that we should “bin” robshaw. I just think that he is a 6. I do think that England need a ksevic/Wallace/Fraser at 7.

  20. I think a lot of the picks being discussed above depend on your balance between the ultimate goal of WC 2015 and winning in the here and now.

    e.g. I think Corbs is the best loosehead but Mako could be better by 2015 if he improves his scrummaging. That’s only going to happen if he’s a starter in the test side.

    Its the same with Robshaw and Kevisc. I don’t think Robshaw can be much of a better player then he is but Kevisc by 2015 could be the sort of opensides teams fear, e.g. Pockcock, Mccaw, Brussow etc.

    I could go on but you get the drift.

    I suppose my main concerns for 2015 would be,

    – hooker: does Youngs lack Bulk to give us a really solid set piece

    – Tight head: don’t think we have any that dominate, more just hold their own

    – Second row: We have plenty of second row / sixes e.g. Lawes, Lauch, Parling but we need real beef to power scrums, mauls and clear rucks. I don’t think we need two all singing all dancing second rows

    – Backrow: decide if we are going to play with a real seven or two 6.5’s and stick with it. I prefer a real 7 but if we don’t have the depth and quality its a high risk strategy for an injury prone position

    – Flyhalf: Farrel has to play flatter ( it think he can), Burns is 1st choice if he cant

    – Centres: Manu and 36 for me, but back-ups need to be developed

    – Wings: wade plus one other ( or what is the current state of cloning technology?)

    – Full back: Brown is one dimensional, Foden and Tait seem to lack something they had previously, I would plump for Elliot Daly, he has real gas and the x-factor, his 60m penalties might come in handy too. Very raw but could be ready by 2015 (big call though)

    Aplogies for long post

Comments are closed.