Crusaders 7 v 38 England: England player ratings


15. Alex Goode: 7.5
A good day out for England’s most maligned fullback. Put in a beautiful grubber kick for Foden to snaffle early on, and then jinked his way to the tryline for a score of his own. His positioning was, as usual, superb, which nullified the Crusaders’ kicking game.

14. Ben Foden: 7
Like his back three colleagues, Foden contributed to a ruthlessness in attack that will have immensely pleased Lancaster given the chances squandered on the tour so far. His ability to pluck the ball from the air while still staying in field was incredible. Loses half a point for some poor work at the restart, however.

13. Henry Trinder: 6
Didn’t get to see much of the twinkling feet or searing pace that he does possess, but Trinder managed to bring those outside him into the game reasonably well, and gave a nice pass in the build-up to the Goode try.

12. Brad Barritt: 7.5
A strong outing for Barritt who, to be fair to him, showed some nice touches in attack as well as his usual solidarity in defence, making 13 tackles without missing any. His grubber through for Pennell in the last minute was a joy to behold.

11. Anthony Watson: 7
Was kept quiet for the majority of the game but proved just what a talent he is with a beautifully timed run that saw him streak through the Crusaders line, before sheer pace took him away from the last man. A sublime finish.

10. Danny Cipriani: 7
Started superbly with a gorgeous break and pass for England’s first try, and from then on he controlled the game well without ever really kicking on too much. A hugely positive performance, though, and one that will have caught Lancaster’s eye.

9. Lee Dickson: 7
Accurate, quick service from the Northampton Saint was exactly what the England backs wanted, and got. With Care an injury doubt for the third test, Dickson will be an excellent option if needed.

1. Alex Waller: 6.5
Like the rest of the front five, Waller overpowered his opposite man in the tight to hand the English backs a perfect platform to play from. Showed a couple of nice touches with ball in hand, too, offloading out of the tackle well.

2. Joe Gray: 7
Hit the majority of his lineouts and popped up on the shoulder of Cipriani to cross for England’s first try in the second minute. That the set piece struggled after he was removed proved his influence.

3. Henry Thomas: 7
The scrum dominated and Thomas also put in a solid shift outside of the set piece to finish with eight tackles and two turnovers. Sterner tests will await in the scrum, but Lancaster will have been pleased with what he saw from his young tighthead.

4. Ed Slater: 8
Never, ever has a bad game these days. To be captain on the occasion of your first senior England appearance might overawe some people – but not Slater. He gave everything for 80 minutes, tackled manfully and showcased his delightfully soft hands on more than one occasion. Just a shame he plays in a position of such strength for England!

5. Dave Attwood: 7
Bristling physicality as always from Attwood, who formed part of a front five that was simply too strong for the Crusaders. Useful at the lineout too.

6. James Haskell: 7.5
Another good performance from Haskell who showed why he will be an important part of the England squad for the World Cup. Never shirks the physical challenge, carrying strongly and not falling off a single tackle.

7. Matt Kvesic: 8.5
This was exactly the performance Kvesic needed. He hurtled into rucks and showed his jackaling ability with aplomb to win several turnovers. Always seemed to be the first man at the breakdown and was regularly on the shoulder of the man with the ball. Showed some good hands and made an astonishing 17 tackles too.

8. Tom Johnson: 6
Didn’t catch the eye as much as his back row colleagues, but was solid in what is not his preferred position. Would have hoped for more return with ball in hand given the armchair ride he had behind the front five.

Replacements: 7

This was mostly positive for Lancaster. Chris Pennell showed why he has been making headlines this season with a smartly taken try, Kyle Sinckler and Nathan Catt looked good at scrum time, with the former also making a few barrelling runs, and Richard Wigglesworth and Stephen Myler controlled things well.

Sadly for Dave Ward his lineout throwing faltered, and probably justified the doubts Lancaster had over him going into the first test. Jonny May didn’t really get a chance to show his pace from outside centre, but certainly looks more comfortable on the wing, where he doesn’t have to worry about distributing. Minor issues in an overwhelmingly positive England performance, though.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

12 thoughts on “Crusaders 7 v 38 England: England player ratings

  1. A little ironic that the two highest scoring backs are the two that so many people keep saying they don’t want in the squad. I know it was against weaker opposition, but you can only play what’s in front of you.

    Not a Sarries fan are you Jamie??!! ;-)

  2. Interesting that for all the talk of inside centres, it is Barritt who is consistently good, while the other contenders go up and down a bit. Just saying……..

    1. It’s probably because he’s the one we don’t expect much from. We know he doesn’t do anything flashy, but is a solid, consistent player. He probably compliments Cipriani quite nicely, and his combination with Goode stepping up in the line always works well for Sarries.

  3. Bit of a damp squib & an insult to the oppo. Canter should surely have put out a better side/effort than this. Should have stayed in bed for an extra 40 winks.

  4. Man, England really can’t win, can they? Before the match the press was all “Strong Crusaders side will really stretch England, could beat them. England combinations untested, weak side”.

    Then England reserves turn up and win with a nice set of tries, mainly backs, not a forward dominated rumble to be seen, and the press is “Canterbury were far too weak”.

    For my money, this is a scratch team that still managed to play well, with some lovely tries and played with fluency and direction for much of the game. You can’t ask for much more than that, and I was very pleased with it.

  5. Wonder what the reaction would have been if a NZ 3rd team played a weakened Leicester team and won by this margin. We’d have probably all started singing the praises of super rugby and the strength in depth and quality of the ABs.

    Note to the English nation. We must stop being so self depreciating (except for football, where this world cup makes a pleasant change from the ridulous overblown optimism normally expressed – myself included if I’m honest!).

  6. Making excuses when objective evidence of their supremacy on the field is shattered. It is a peculiarly myopic approach from many in New Zealand, but it does seem confined to “fans” and their “press”.

    I have played with many Kiwis in my younger years, and certainly there are a lot of Kiwi coaches working in the UK these days, and not one that I am aware of has ever looked at excuses for losses/failures. In fact, I would suggest that most do quite the opposite and go out of their way to avoid making excuses for games that they are involved in.

    I wonder if it is some sort of defence mechanism.

  7. As an overall comment this is the first time in my life that we have seriously competed with NZ on a consistent basis (and I saw the 1953/4 AB’s!)I think we should be very proud of what SL and the whole party are achieving.And we will be strong contenders for the World Cup

  8. Blub

    That’s an objective comment if ever I read 1. How many NZ ‘fans’ do you actually know out of a pop of say, 4m?

    The fact is England ‘reserves’ beat a Canter scratch side (11 ist teamers out). Draw what you will from that.

    On the other hand, esp as this site is largely abt opinion, are you of the opinion that no one is entitled to comment on England’s game unless they praise them?

    FYI & IMO England, on this tour, have played 2 tests & lost 2 tests… so far. But then that’s, IYO, likely my myopic ‘D’ mechanism @ work is it?

    You’re having a giraffe, but do keep those cards & letters rolling in tho.

  9. In general I’ve read a fair bit of NZ praise for Eng after Tuesday’s match. They were impressed by the manner of the win more than anything – running, passing, etc. Not the grind they sometimes mistakenly assume all NH rugby is. Read similar praise for Ire/Wal/Eng U20s teams on NZ sites as well.

    You’ll always get a few ignorant “fans” who come up with reasons a team lost AFTER the match was played and it’ll never, ever be gracious deference to the champions. Those fans are “whiners”.

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