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.