A mild depression has set in about the state of English rugby, and I haven’t been able to shake it off since half time during the Scotland v England game on Saturday. With that in mind, I wasn’t in generous mood when considering Player Ratings.
Delon Armitage – 4/10
His first instinct is to kick the ball and play it safe, and England are desperate for someone to inject some life into proceedings. If Ben Foden doesn’t start against France, I’ll be looking for a different sport.
Mark Cueto – 6/10
Another solid effort, and someone that you can rely on to do a decent job. You’d want him in your team, but he needs some flair around him.
Mathew Tait – 5/10
‘I’m not convinced by Tait’ is a commonly uttered phrase in pubs and armchairs around the country. He’s had plenty of opportunities to convince people, yet fails to inspire. He could be great, but I’m just not sure – how many more chances will he get?
Riki Flutey – 5/10
Looked a little shaky in defence, and another player that doesn’t inspire much confidence. Many people blame Jonny for the lack of bite in the backline, but surely the 12 needs to take some responsibility?
Ugo Monye – 5/10
Seemed to make more effort in looking for the ball, but when he gets it, he doesn’t seem to have the hands to offload in a tackle, and with the pedestrian recycling of the ball, England need to keep it alive more than they do.
Jonny Wilkinson – 6/10
I thought he had a pretty decent game. His kicking out of hand is still poor, but his defence was superb again, and I wouldn’t want anyone else at 10 at the moment.
Danny Care – 5/10
He’s had enough of an opportunity, but his service is slow and he couldn’t inject much pace into the game. It could be time for a change at scrum-half, but I doubt we’ll get one.
Tim Payne – 6/10
Held his own in the scrum against a solid Scottish front row, although what on earth was going on with all those resets? He’ll never light up a game, but did what was asked of him.
Dylan Hartley – 4/10
A disappointing display with some wayward throwing once again, and glimpses of the bad temper that cause many people to doubt his captaincy credentials. Looked more like a petulant child, rather than the fired-up warrior he probably sees in his head.
Dan Cole – 6/10
Another strong performance and one of the few positives to be emerging from this Six Nations. The scrum was a bit of a mystery, but Cole clearly wasn’t taking a backward step.
Louis Deacon – 3/10
He’s just not international class, and wouldn’t be selected in any other Six Nations team. Deacon is an average club player, so why he carries so much favour with Johnno – a pretty handy second row in his day – is astonishing.
Steve Borthwick – 5/10
There are still question marks over his leadership, but he has made a few valuable contributions in recent games. Pity is the overrriding sentiment towards Borthers at the moment, and that’s not ideal for the captain of the national team.
James Haskell – 5/10
You get the impression that he thinks he’s a better player than he is. His workrate is admirable, but he doesn’t often have a huge impact. I really want him to grow into a Dallaglio-style colossus, but I’m doubting if it will ever happen.
Joe Worsley – 7/10
The tree-cutter did his job, and made countless tackles to ensure Scotland couldn’t sustain much momentum. A defensive selection and a strong defensive performance, but where did it get us?
Nick Easter – 6/10
Another solid performance, but nothing spectacular. Does the job, but is never going to light up the game, and that’s the problem with the whole setup at the moment.