England Player Ratings versus New Zealand

How did you rate the England players’ performances at the weekend? Here are our thoughts on how they fared.

Ben Foden – 7
Looked lively with ball in hand, although the gaps never quite appeared for his counter-attacking runs. He was a threat, but the Kiwi defence closed him down well.

Chris Ashton – 6
Was responsible for a few defensive errors in the first-half when the All Blacks seemed to find space out wide with ease. A better second half with some excellent scrambling defence.

Mike Tindall – 5
Wasted a 2-on-1 situation, and it’s those opportunities that have to be taken against the best sides. Otherwise a fairly unremarkable game, although probably deserves credit for his defensive efforts.

Shontayne Hape – 5
Another unremarkable game, and that summed up England’s midfield. His opposite man looked a lot more dangerous, and Hape couldn’t create anything for those outside him.

Mark Cueto – 6
Performed as we’ve come to expect – solid in defence, carried the ball a few times, but without a great deal of pace or threat at any stage. Didn’t cause the Kiwis too many problems, and I can’t imagine the Wallabies poring over strategies this week for how best to contain him.

Toby Flood – 6
Another reasonable performance, but couldn’t create much either. No glaring errors in defence which may have been a concern before the game, but unable to keep England on the front foot.

Ben Youngs – 5
The All Blacks were quite aware of his threat and contained him effectively. Missed a tackle that led to a try, and should have spun the ball wide during an England attack when there was acres of space to score. Slightly disappointing but did the basics pretty well.

Andrew Sheridan – 8
Dominated the All Blacks’ scrum, forcing free kicks and penalties. Was also prominent in the loose with a few strong carries, the likes of which we haven’t seen too often when he’s played for England.

Steve Thompson – 5
Seemed to be defending in the outside centre channel on two occasions in the first half, and obviously couldn’t keep up with New Zealand’s backs as they exploited the mismatch. A couple of crooked throws as well, and Dylan Hartley made a bigger impact when he came on. I’d pick Hartley for the next Test.

Dan Cole – 8
Another fine scrummaging performance, and further proof that Cole is becoming a key figure in this England pack.

Courtney Lawes – 8
Played like he has been for Northampton, with several strong runs and one or two big hits as well. A credit to him that Tom Palmer was replaced by Dave Attwood, suggesting that Lawes is becoming the senior lock in the side.

Tom Palmer – 6
A solid if unremarkable game. He wasn’t used a great deal in the lineout, with Tom Croft and Lawes so prominent, but dependable and hard-working as always.

Tom Croft – 6
Incredible lineout performance on England’s ball, providing excellent first-phase possession. Didn’t quite have the impact hoped for on the All Blacks’ throws, but looked capable of cementing his place at 6.

Lewis Moody – 8
Impressive game against Richie McCaw, and showed outstanding leadership to prevent any heads from dropping and sustain England’s performance through to the end.

Nick Easter – 7
Made up for one or two early errors with powerful ball-carrying that forced England onto the front foot. He still hasn’t managed to pull out his offloading game for England, but provided much-needed strength with ball in hand.

9 thoughts on “England Player Ratings versus New Zealand

  1. Foden butchered the 4 on 2 overlap that led to Hape’s non-try. He had a good game but it’s those kinds of situations that we had to take especially with an AB in the bin. I thought Hape improved as the match went on though when things broke up.

    Disappointed with Lawes and to some extent Moody. Youngs passing to Sheridan was unfortunate.

    re: Palmer, pretty sure I read that he put in the most tackles of the match for England.

    Thought Nick Easter deserved an 8 or 9 for those last 20 minutes alone. Very impressive performance. Barnes was right, he’s everywhere on the field.

  2. I disagree with you on Lawes, I thought he had an impressive game and adds an edge to the pack that we haven’t had over the last few years from Borthers, Deacon and Palmer.

    Easter nearly got an 8, and definitely improved as the game went on, justifying his selection to those on here that gave him a hard time last week.

  3. I thought Lawes was very good but I was expecting a little more from him. Had it been any other second row player making his first start at Twickers it would be at least a 9 out of 10 but I think Lawes is such a great prospect that simply a very good performance somehow isnt enough!

    Tindal and Cueto didnt seem to offer much in attack but they seemed to help with the defence, especially in the second half.

    I would change any of the match day 23 for the Aussies but I suspect Dylan may be off games for a few weeks.

  4. I’m a Barkley fan, but I’d give Hape and Tindall the rest of the series to prove themselves (or not). They had their work cut out against SBW and Nonu, so I’m inclined to forgive them for not creating anything.

    On Saturday though, I want to see them running and Quade Cooper and the Aussie centres and hopefully causing a few more problems for the defence.

  5. Agree that Hape and Tindall need the rest of the AI’s to prove if they are up to the job or not, though in doing so, if it turns out they are not, it doesn’t leave us with many chances to try out a new centre partnership before the RWC. I think with this in mind, the bench needs to be filled with serious candidates fighting for the starting shirt. I’d personally have Barkley (who can cover 10 and 12) and JSD (who can cover 11/13/14) on the bench and give them the last 20 mins of the remaining games to show that they can do.

    Hate to say it, but Easter actually had quite a good game. I’m NOT a fan of his, and if it wasn’t for a few poor handling errors he would have gotten an 8/10 mark from me.

    For me, the biggest disappointment was Croft. Unfortunately, Croft rarely seems to show his talent when in the England shirt, and I’m wondering if maybe someone else should be given a chance to show what they can do i.e. Dowson/Robshaw/Fourie, with Croft being demoted to the bench. Thought Moody had quite a good game, though he did look a little unfit. Also thought Fourie was brilliant when he came on.

    Foden – 7
    Ashton – 7
    Tindall – 5
    Hape – 6
    Cueto – 6
    Flood – 6
    Youngs – 6
    Easter – 7
    Moody – 7
    Croft – 5
    Palmer – 7
    Lawes – 7
    Cole – 9
    Thompson – 7
    Sheridan – 8

  6. I am afeared ahead of the Wallabies that Tindall and Hape’s bulk and lack of wheels will be hideously exposed. That Australian back line is younger and quicker and there’s not as much of them to grab hold of as Nonnu and SBW.

    In attack, as I will explain in my Taking the Mic article in the morning – Tindall’s pass is highly suspect. Hape would have scored without such a looping effort on Sat gone. Oddly, I had hope and excitement of how close we might come against the ABs. I’m more nervous ahead of the Aussies and their ability to run rings around us. Targeting Cooper can be our only strategy and hope that we can get around their back row to do so.

    That said – it’s a must win game.

  7. I think these ratings are fair. The scrum was the only place where England got the advantage mainly through penalties and free kicks than actual domination I might add. I thought Lewis Moody had a great game and into everything. I am glad you didn’t have to rate Hartley on his performance off the bench. England can keep him, New Zealand doesn’t want him back, although somehow he was awarded a try. As a kiwi I was impressed by the England attitude and scrambling defence which stopped New Zealand scoring more tries. That is the way to play rugby though because it seemed to startle the All Blacks for a while. I actually thought Shontayne Hape was better than the rating you gave him.

  8. The Aussies have the potential of absolutely stuffing us, in a way that the Kiwis threatened to.

    If we dont get our out of hand kicking and midfield defence sorted we will get humped.

    I think we will play a tighter game and suffocate them

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