RWC Warm-Up: England Player Ratings v Wales

Jonny Wilkinson

15. Delon Armitage 7

Couldn’t really have had a better return to the side, bar scoring a try. Strong under the high ball, he produced one brilliant try-saving tackle on Sam Warburton and produced a thrilling 50 metre run to remind the crowd of what he’s capable of.

14. Matt Banahan 5

Offered remarkably little. His impact is reduced out on the wing, and he needed to be brought into the midfield more by Wilkinson. Never going to be troubled in defence against Shane Williams.

13. Manu Tuilagi 7

Martin Johnson’s assessment of Tuilagi’s performance as “pretty good” was accurate, as Tuilagi created more excitement in midfield than Hape and Tindall have done during recent times. Booked his seat on the plane.

12. Riki Flutey 6

Not outstanding, but struggled to get decent ball through a good Welsh defence around the 10/12 channel. His versatility though is his key asset, and there is more to come from him.

11. Mark Cueto 6

One lovely catch and break stirred the crowd into life, but otherwise Cueto produced a forgettable afternoon on the wing. Mysteriously absent from his position for both of opposite man George North’s tries.

10. Jonny Wilkinson 7

Score could have been higher, but at times Wilkinson’s decision making looked a tad desperate when he went on his own without support into the tackle. His kicking in open play and for the posts was excellent however.

9. Danny Care 6

A reasonable performance from Care, but did he do enough to justify selection ahead of Ben Youngs? We’re not convinced, although his sportsmanship to stop the game when he saw Morgan Stoddart in agony in front him will be remembered.

1. Alex Corbisiero 6

Big scrummaging performance, and relished playing alongside Stevens and Hartley at the coal face. Would have been better to have seen him producing more in open play, an aspect of his game that was underused at Twickenham.

2. Dylan Hartley 7

Another accomplished performance from the Northampton captain in his 29th cap aged 25. A real fighter who stood up to the physical challenge.

3. Matt Stevens 8

Big performance all round from Stevens, relishing his return to the big time by giving Paul James a nightmare in the scrum. Worked hard in the loose as well.

4. Simon Shaw 6

Age looked as though it was finally starting to slow him down after a tough pre-season. But his experience and physciality are still irreplaceable. As long as New Zealand have Thorn and South Africa have Botha, England need Shaw around.

5. Tom Palmer 5

Failed to hit the heights of his Six Nations performances. Overshadowed in the lineout by the expertise of Croft, and was less of a presence around the park than we saw against France back in February.

6. Tom Croft 7

Great return for the Leicester forward. Always a handful around the field, he was physically imposing throughout and always has the potential to cause problems for the opposition. Must stay injury free.

7. Lewis Moody 6

Concerning sight to see him carried from the field, because up to that point Mad Dog had been at his rampaging best. Leads by example.

8. James Haskell 7

With Waldrom gone from the squad, he has put his name into the hat for number 8 selection. Not first-choice, but a capable option, and seemed to relish scoring his try.


Charlie Hodgson was never going to set the world alight, whilst Botha seemed to amble around casually. Sharples impressed, as did Wigglesworth.

18 thoughts on “RWC Warm-Up: England Player Ratings v Wales

  1. Disagree with the 5 for Banahan. Thought he had a fairly strong game, but wasn’t brought into the game enough by everyone else. If Cueto and Flutey got a 6, Banahan deserved at least the same

    Not actually a fan of Armitage, but he did have a brilliant game.

  2. banahan was ok, but doesnt have the pace from a standing start or even from jogging to sprinting that you NEED as an Int winger. Hes too easy to turn and thats what any decent side will do to him.

    Sharples must start next week.

    Re Botha v un fair.he must start – the guys a human wrecking ball.have you seen him for Sarries?

    Haskell isnt a number 8…but did ok. wouldnt trust him, in a WC knock out tho, would you?

    Wilko – this game showed that he hasnt changed from the player he has always been. when there is broken play he NEEDS someone (9 or 12/13 etc) to guide him as he often just shimmies and runs into the nearest tackler.

    hopefully we pan them next week.

  3. Banahan i thought had a decent game.

    We moved him to centre. he suddenly dissapeared completely from the game.

    So what have we learnt?
    not that much Banahan is at best a average winger but had another poor performance at centre…
    Martin get it out of your head. Banahanahanahan is NOT a international centre

  4. Banahan was ok, but I agree with Will, he’s not an international centre, and doesn’t have the gas to be an international wing. He looks great at Premiership level, but that doesn’t always translate – we had a massive bloke in our U15 school team who looked good at that level just because he was massive.

  5. have been saying for a while Cueto has lost his edge , he offers precious little going forward but the defense of him has always been his defensive capabilities…well they have now gone too…I think it should be perm 3 from 5 between Ashton,Sharples,Armitage,Foden and Banahan….whilst not a great fan of Banahan he does fill a roll.
    Fraid to say the writing is on the wall for the old warhorse Moody , Shaw however, does bring something and its down to the others around him to cover the extra yards.
    CH is a joke you cannot take a 10 who can’t tackle.
    The welsh were able to extend their line by openning a gap between 9 /10 that Flood/Carter/Cooper and the rest would have run through all day ..Wilko simply dosen’t have the pace.

  6. Take 1 point from Hartley, Croft, Wilkinson, and Moody and add a point to Banahan and I’d agree.

    Botha missed a tackle that led to a try in his first act. No idea why he’s in the squad.

  7. Banahan just didn’t get into the game. It’s as much Wilkinson and Flutey’s fault as it is his own for not looking for work. If used well he’s a menace but that didn’t happen on Saturday.

    Sharples offered more threat, so England need to decide whether they want another raw pace winger like Sharples, or whether they’re going to use Banahan more effectively like Bath do.

  8. Utterly disagree with ratings for Moody who charged around in a headless fashion with no thought as to whether that was actually the right thing to do

    England need an openside who can compete for the ball. Moody is certainly not it

  9. Thought Armitage put his hand up well. Anyone else like the idea of putting him on the wing for Cueto? Foden, Ashton and Armitage are our best back three players and i see the arrogance/confidence in Delon to make the switch without too much worry.

    1. We are talking about the RWC here. It’s not the time to start switching players to positions they are not comfortable in. Remember Armitage came on in the Autumn international on the wing and was woeful – he just looked out of place, gave away penalties. We have enough wingers to choose from. He will remain a full back and if I were him, concentrate on improving his goal kicking…..something Foden doesn’t have.

      1. I don’t really know how much of a change of position full back to wing is. James O’conner never played wing in his life until he stepped up for Aus, Israel Dagg and Corey Jane much the same for NZ. Established internationals with rounded back three skills should be capable. In reference to that specific game, i can’t say i remember it exactly but i think he was quite out of form at that time (a problem that now appears resolved) who was it against?

        Enough wingers to choose from?
        Banahan acceleration troubles and i don’t think england use him effectively. Cueto good all round player just not quick enough.
        Monye if he can prove some form then i rate him, does he have time? also he appears a bit of a confidence player.
        Sharples does he have time to prove international quality? I hope so.

        I think Armitage will take the 22 spot as he covers 15/14/13 and 11

  10. Cueto and Banahan are so over rated and always under deliver in my opinion. Like the idea of Armitage Ashton and Foden, Sharples looked, well, Sharp. Why is no one considering Sarries James Short? Very fast, very strong, quality finisher!
    As for Moody, Doesn’t offer enough but just like every other position at one point in the past, the management can’t move past the incumbent! Look at how long it took to get rid of the liability that was Joe Worsely! It has been written elsewhere but we need someone who can turn a ruck ball over (our way!).
    Saturday looked experimental with some notable absences, need to start the starters next game!

  11. Cueto was by far the most disappointing of the English backs. All three Welsh tries were scored in his corner and he did very little going forward against an inexperienced, yet decent, George North. Forwards were ok, no-one really stood out though, certainly nothing offered as yet to make any of the southern hemisphere sides worry.

  12. How did you give Hartley 7? Where we watching the same game? Lazy player. No effort given from an accomplished player, needs to buck his ideas up; luckily there isn’t any other decent young hooker in England at this time.

  13. I’m starting to change my mind about Moody. I’ve always been a fan, ‘he’s our leader’ ‘he’s a warrior’ and so on, i’ve often thought.

    But is that enough to warrant his selection when, to be frank, he’s not a great openside flanker….

    I can’t see him competing with the likes of Pocock, McCaw and so on. I am unsure – who is the best rucking openside we’ve got? Most competitive at the breakdown.

    Fourie? Wood? I’m not sure. But i’m loosing patience with Moody…..

  14. Again I would ask why James Short isn’t considered as Cueto replacement? Ashton on one wing and Short on the other. He is fast enough and certainly strong enough as well as a finisher, Foden at 15!
    Our back row and centres are the weakness we need to fix to stand any chance, Tuilagi does show promise and would be on my list, he needs a more experienced partner that still has pace???

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