England 38-21 New Zealand: England Player Ratings

Tom Wood

Alex Corbisiero: 8
The scrum was the basis for England’s first half lead, as they won penalty after penalty. Corbisiero put in a titanic shift, and over the course of two games he has cemented himself as hands down the no.1 loosehead in the land.

Tom Youngs: 7
He is so small and strong that it is very difficult to knock him backwards. A couple of bustling runs in the loose proved this, and although a couple of line-outs went awry Youngs rounded off a largely successful Autumn with a good performance.

Dan Cole: 9
After the Australia match he was questioned, but how stupid that looks now. He has re-affirmed his quality with a couple of excellent showings, this one easily the best. Once again he was not only the cornerstone of the scrum, but managed to win a couple of turnovers at the breakdown. Once he gets over that ball, he is impossible to move.

Geoff Parling: 7
Not as destructive in the loose as he was last week, but he ran the line-out as well as ever and contributed to an immensely impressive forward effort. Never stopped running and typifies Lancaster’s never-say-die attitude that has been instilled.

Joe Launchbury: 9
The young lock has, in the space of 2 weeks, cemented his starting place. He will always come under pressure from Lawes, but the way he covers every blade of grass on the pitch is so impressive. Strong carries allied with an indefatigable work-rate meant his was easily one of the performances of the match.

Tom Wood: 9
Launchbury was everywhere, but Wood took it up another notch. His defensive effort was nothing short of epic, smashing black shirts back all day and leading a line that gave New Zealand no time or space to get into their usual free-flowing groove. Not only that but he carried strongly and, along with his back-row pals, bossed the breakdown in a manner the great McCaw would have been proud of himself. Far and away his best showing in a white shirt and a deserved MOTM.

Chris Robshaw: 8
It’s been an incredibly tough week for the captain, and it is a mark of his character that he bounced back with this effort against arguably the best team of all time. He led his men from the front, and along with Wood England seem to have a great balance in their back-row despite not having that out-and-out fetcher.

Ben Morgan: 8
The final part of a mammoth back-row triumvirate, Morgan completely outplayed his much-vaunted opposite number Read. The best part of this performance wass that you sense there is still more to come from Morgan – an exciting prospect for the years to come.

Ben Youngs: 8
A couple of wayward box-kicks in the first half took nothing away from Youngs’ enthusiasm. He got in the face of his opposite number Smith, which contributed to a torrid afternoon for the All Black 9. Showed all of his pace in a searing break towards the end of the game, and his service was generally good. Like most others, his best performance of the series.

Owen Farrell: 8
He did everything that England asked of him. Not as complete a footballer as his replacement Burns, who you suspect is the long-term answer at 10, but Farrell’s distribution was better than last week and he had ice in his veins to kick flawlessly in the first half to give England a healthy lead going into the break. A couple of missed kicks in the second half could not detract from what was an overwhelmingly positive return to the starting line-up.

Mike Brown: 8
He may not be the most exciting winger ever, but Brown just never knows when to give up. On countless occasions he looked like running up blind allies, only to emerge with several metres gained and the crowd roaring in appreciation.

Brad Barritt: 8
Finally, when he needed it most, Barritt showed some attacking nous to go with his undoubted ability in defence. Kieran Read, an incredibly athletic no.8, couldn’t lay a finger on him as he stormed onto Farrell’s pass and ghosted outside him, exchanging the ball with Tuilagi before crashing over the line. The question is, can he show this kind of form every week or was it a one-off?

Manu Tuilagi: 9
What a game for Tuilagi, who out-Nonued Ma’a Nonu himself. Set up two tries, one with a beautiful offload to Barritt after some strong support running, the other with a barnstorming run through 3 New Zealand tacklers before giving a beautifully timed and weighted pass to Ashton. He was also very solid in defence, putting in a couple of huge hits to take the wind out of building All Black attacks.

Chris Ashton: 7
Ashton looked almost back to his best this weekend, but there is still a little way to go. He will never lose that innate ability to run great support lines, which was in evidence for his try when he followed Tuilagi and gratefully received his pass to Ash-splash his way over the line. He did, however, fluff a couple of easily catchable passes and was found wanting in defence with some flaky tackling on occasion. Still, an encouraging performance from England’s golden boy of wing play.

Alex Goode: 8
Goode’s autumn came to an end with another consummate performance, and one which left Foden with a lot to do if he is to regain this jersey when he returns from injury. One break from his own 22, in which he danced round the great Dan Carter, was particularly outstanding. Aside from his footwork he has great distribution skills, a booming boot and an appreciation of space that seems to give him so much time on the ball. One of the finds of the series for England.

The substitution strategy was slightly surprising at the time, particularly with Freddie Burns coming on at a time when control was needed. But Burns was superb, trying his luck as expected, but doing the basics like kicking goals and fizzing flat passes out wide. Courtney Lawes also made a couple of carries, adding fresh legs in the pack along with David Paice and James Haskell, whilst Danny Care was pretty good as well.

By Jamie Hosie

28 thoughts on “England 38-21 New Zealand: England Player Ratings

  1. I wish I could claim some kind of English bias, but the truth is it was all deserved. Congratulations England, commendations to Lancaster and the team. Look forward to seeing how they perform in the 6 nations.

  2. All the marks fairly earned. It was a great performance from each player.

    However still not convinced by our wing options and Barritt benefited from the AB’s over concern about Tuilagi (even if that concern was probably justified!).

    Having said that, I was hoping for a couple of wins from the AI’s, which we got and was also hoping for some development of the squad and playing style. Definitely got the former and patchily got the latter. So on balance a productive AI series.

    Let’s hope we can push on in the 6N. France are still the team to beat and anyone who thinks that Ireland or Wales (despite AI form) are going to be given wins is much mistaken. Scotland and Italy will not be easy either.

    When all is said and done, I will go into the winter (international) break with a very fond memory of an extraordinary game at Twickenham to keep me warm!

  3. I didn’t see the game but caught the highlights and I was massivly shocked and proud with the result!

    The team played excellently in every department and turned around what would of been a slightly disappointing autumn series into a very pleasing one.

    I hope we can carry the momentum into The Six Nations as I am rubbing my hands in anticipation of England facing Scotland in the opening match at Twickenham, get the right result here with a impressive points total and the momentum should be with us.

    Well done boys!

  4. All in all a very successful AI series. If you think about the progression this team has made, it’s quite impressive. Some dogged performances in the 6N, and some close games on the summer tour have instilled a belief in the team, and they are now pushing forward.
    Compare this to Wales and Scotland particularly and we should be very happy indeed. Played 4, won 2 looks and sounds much better than played 4 lost 4! Especially when all England’s results were close, and of the two games we lost, we could have won with try! The future is bright for the men in white!!

  5. Agree with most of that to be honest.

    Would still give Ashton a 6 even though he scored. His tackling was poor and too many knock ons – a result of him knowing he was going to take a pop.

    Mike Brown “He may not be the most exciting winger ever” – in comparison to what? The amount of little holes he finds and his breaks got Twickers on its feet more than anything else over the past two weeks! Lets not forget he’s actually a fullback.

    I love Tom Youngs, his style and the way he plays – its just a shame he isn’t the best hooker we have to offer. He’ll be great coming off the bench though

    1. Been supporting Brown on this site for the past few weeks. He shone again yesterday, making more metres than anyone but for Tuilagi and beating more defenders than anyone else (twice as many as Ashton and Goode put together)

      He got England on the front foot and Twickenham to its feet a number of times and demonstrated in the first half that England shouldn’t be afraid to run with the ball. How he finds the holes he does I have no idea.

      If the rest of the team can learnt to get onto his shoulder in support like Quins do, then he’ll be yet more dangerous.

      Thought Ashton was poor by comparison. Imagine what Brown could do from his best position at fullback.

      Foden has got a fight on his hands to get back in the team. How about a back three composed of fullbacks – Fonde, Goode and Brown?

  6. Agree with your comments regarding substitutes. Lancaster has always used what appear to be pre planned substitutes often taking off players having blinders. Once he sorts this out he’ll become a much better manager.

    1. Agreed – like taking Launchbury off for Lawes. Yes it was good to get Lawes on the pitch, but unless there was an injury, Launchbury was not the man to be taking off!

      1. Launchbury looked absolutely shattered when he came off. No doubt he played himself to a standstill with the foresight that he knew he would not play the whole 80 mins. I think it made perfect sense to replace him, likewise the front rowers and Haskell.

        That is the game today, fresh legs for the last 20 mins or so.

  7. On of, if not my favorite England games ever. Everybody deserves full marks for effort.

    What a 6N we have ahead of us, France look in rude health and Wales and Ireland are strong teams,on paper probably still stronger than England.

    This England team has problems, 10, 12 and a winger are still missing, although with hartley and lawes coming back, the pack looks strong, good enough to live with the best.

    I would like to see this team performe under the weight of expectation during the 6N, but Lancaster looks to have developed a belief there, so no worries.

    But what a perfomrance

  8. I’ve not been a Farrell advocate, although he wasn’t the best player on the pitch I do think his performance was the most influential. His contribution to the suffocating defense was impressive, but as his kicks went over you could see the team grow in self belief. Confidence players, such as Ben Youngs, became more and more influential.

    On the back of that I have to say I would have Farrell and Burns as my EPS picks for Jan.

    Key to everything looking so much better was quick ball in my opinion. No standing around waiting for a ball to come out, that inevitably leads to static one out rugby. Just so pleased to see that with quick ball we could run decent lines and that even the best defenders in the world will leave holes where there are multiple threats running at them and they aren’t sure which one will take the ball.

  9. Quite generous marks for the backs I thought. Didn’t rate Youngs that highly. He made a few breaks but still doesn’t supply the ball quickly enough for me. The midfield provided some great running lines and defence but their passing was poor. The wings were mostly kept out of it by our 2 big midfielders who in my mind are a road block to them. Only one of them should start. Farrell was icy cool but Burns passing and running looked like another dimension. Goode gets into good positions under the highball, makes a good attempt but too often comes off 2nd best. Love Brown but a winger he is not. Still think I’d like to see Foden back, Joseph at centre, and Danny Care back at SH (until Youngs properly returns to form), but we do have depth ni some of these positions now.

    Think we are underestimating quite how sluggish NZ looked by their high standards. Hope this doesn’t paper over our cracks.

  10. First time in my life that an English team has made me giddy! – That’s saying something!
    Congratulations from an Irish fan! Forget about the 6N’s and 2015 – enjoy the moment!
    Ding Dong

    1. Absolutely agree Ding dong. It was always justified imo about their previous demonstration of skills or lack thereof. If the AB’s hadd somehow came back and they had lost the game, I wouldn’t be saying much differently. Very clinical but I have to say, they still depend a lot on Tiulagi, and the AB’s misfired. Zebo, Murray, Gilroy, Launchbury, Youngs, Farrell, and Visser look to be the in form players of the new crop so Wales are not going to win it too easily this time around. There’s young competition on their heels, and you have to say England and France have the momentum, you could argue Ireland too. I don’t think any team will get the slam this year. I can’t see it happening. But England and France are the most likely to, but ..can’t see it. Too tight with top 4.

    2. For those of us who have agonised the ebb and flow of England post 2003 this was of those games that show cased just what quality of players we have in this country and dare I say allowed us to dream of what may be in the not so near future, lets hope it was not a flash in the pan as per the similar battering of Australia in Nov 2010 (under the Johnson era).
      I will start by saying how disappointed I was with the comments of TV pundits as well as others which as always try to play down the performance of the All Blacks suggesting they were tired after a long tour? This was an almost full strength Kiwi XV and lets face it these are professional athletes who do nothing but eat sleep and breath rugby.I would hope that if asked for an honest overview of their performance not one All Black would put the defeat down to the teams fitness. I have seen the All Blacks come unstuck before as many of us have, could it not just be that they were not tired but in shock as they no doubt expected to control all aspects of the game as well as the score board but that just did not happen. And after falling behind, getting back into the game and an almost instant response by England, for one of the very few times in there international careers they wobbled and began to panic (as they almost did against France in the 2011 final).
      Too long have the coaching staff concentrated all efforts and game plan around the set piece and dominating those aspects of play hopefully to build up a territory or a score or two via penalties. Those days of the defensively solid midfield that gave little in the way of creative attack, the constant short pass to a forward for carry after carry, the relentless slow Maul and distribution of slow ball to the backs.I could go on and on but I think you get the point
      I will always praise the old guard and what they achieved but its now time to move on and let these new kids grow.
      The likes of Toby Flood who himself is a young man and very talented etc have unfortunately come about at the wrong time. He has lived under the shadow of Wilkinson and finally when he believed it was his time in comes 2 younger players both more deserving of the 10 shirt (If he was to be selected into your XV who would you sacrifice, Farrell/Burns or one of the Centres I think not)
      Finally a coaching team who have said thanks to all the old guard but its time to look to the future and lets hope they continue with that theme.
      The big test now however is the Six nations, I would say nothing but a grand slam but let us be realistic.
      Forget the Autumn results of the Welsh and Irish, these two teams can do damage to any team and the French, well enough said about them.To win the title is the first challenge.
      finally although an England fan I am a lover of the game and when it comes to internationals I like to see all the GB teams and Ireland perform (makes it interesting for Lions selection) and with that in mind would like to say to the Scotland fans Robinson should have gone earlier. His methods are ancient and his style of play to easy to combat the try scoring record is proof alone of that. With the talent on the field in Scottish Rugby at this time there is no way this team should be outside of the Top Ten world ranked teams.

  11. Could criticise it, but not yet. Mike brown took it up a few notches, its his shirt to lose now, same with launchbury.

  12. Have to say that Tom Youngs performances in the AI’s have reminded me of a young Kevin Mealamu. TY outshone him on Saturday. Probably will end up on the bench when Hartley returns, but what a sub to have available. Has taken to international rugby well and has improved with each game. Can’t ask for anything more.

  13. Can we also put to bed this idea that Eng cannot compete without an out and out 7. I think this back rwo looks pretty balanced. I know a few on here wondered whether Wood’s had been over hyped after his 2011 6N – I’d say he lived up to SL’s expectations.

    1. I still think he was over hyped slightly one great game doesn’t change that. But yes this back row does look pretty balanced Robshaw and Wood are both kind of 6.5’s. Personally I want Armitage on the bench I think hes a better player than Wood still. You can’t ignore the fact he was voted player of the top 14 last year and he would be a serious impact sub. I kind of feel sorry for Johnson never really had a bad game for England.

      1. As Trevor suggests i don’t think this display was really about individuals. We get way too hung up on personnel on these forums. the forwards just seemed to click together.

      2. I was just about to ask if anyone else thought it worked so well due to the fact that we have two 6.5s rather than an out and out 7 and a 6. At the moment i dont think we’re missing too much by not having a 7, we have dan cole anyway who was better than McCaw at the breakdown on sat. And I think McCaw is probably the greatest rugby player to ever grace the game.

  14. England committed the right number of players at the right time. Wood made a nuisance of himself and Robshaw filled gaps in the defence around the ruck. Excellent tactic – poor old McCaw was very ineffective!

    1. Yes, it does look balanced. I’d probably switch Robshaw and Wood around, but it doesn’t really matter

  15. Would disagree with the Youngs rating – his kicking game was very, very poor. The one moment that really stood out was his complete refusal to see what was around and box kick with only Corbisiero to chase. Youngs was very fortunate that England were disciplined and chased as a unit, preventing the oft seen AB’s switch of play from poor kicks.
    His passing wasn’t great either, often being a bit slow or a bit off. To me, Care and Burns provide a better attacking threat, as we saw with Burns bringing Barritt onto the ball and forcing his backs over the gainline. To deliver great service, he needs quality delivery from the SH and Youngs isn’t quite doing it.

    Was also at the game – what an occasion and what a noise in Twickeham. Fantastic stuff! England’s defensive discipline and breakdown work was fantastic and Smith found out how difficult it can be when the breakdown is messy, slowed down and the defensive line has time to reset and attack the ball carrier. Incredible scenes!!

    1. I agree with the Ben Youngs comment but we have to wait and see with Burns. Fantastic player that he is for club, he came on at a time when for all intense purposes the game was all but won. He obviously wanted to stamp his mark on the game and make his first cap memorable and because of that I can see how the occasion forced him to do such things as the speculative kick over the defensive line when he had the first penalty advantage as well as the over cooked pass out to Ashton in the right hand corner. But we have to see how he manages the international game from the off and see if he can construct points based on what the defence are doing. I am a big fan of Burns at Gloucester and hope he can bring that game management to England but for me Farrell has done enough to warrant the 10 shirt for the moment.

  16. Now, surely people see that Manu is a world class 12? the destruction he would have caused if he was that close to the ball all the time. Who cares, Manu at 12 and JJ at 13 or Billy 36 at 12 and Manu at 13. All good options, only reasoning behind barritt being dropped is how well the team worked when he moved the ball from 12, makes me think what would happen if we had a 12 who naturally played the ball more. Im probably Mike Browns biggest critic on this blog, and id happily have him play wing until the world cup unless Wade or someone can find some of his tenacity. He looked like a man with the confidence to walk on water on saturday, didnt look out of place on the wing at all on sat.

    1. Totally agree with the Brown comment. That’s the kind of player I want to see.His first opportunity with ball in hand in a difficult situation he had the confidence to take on his opposite number and lets face it made him look stupid.You can argue as to whether or not that was the smart thing to do against the All Blacks inside your own 22 but that is a confident lad.
      If you watch the highlights you will see Brown in his first contact with Jane less than a minute in he has a little word with him on the floor in the ruck, as an ex player I would hope he was telling him what he was going to do with him throughout the 80.And Tuilagi just look at him licking his lips after the Haka, you just knew he was going to enjoy that game. Whether a loose cannon at times or not he is a must.

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