England Player Ratings versus Wales

Following Saturday’s victory over Wales, here are our views on who played well and who didn’t.

Tim Payne – 6/10
Nothing spectacular, but Wales’ dominance in the scrum did not materialise and Payne held his own. Showed us all that we needn’t have worried about him.

Dylan Hartley – 8/10
England’s lineout was dominant, and Hartley was mostly spot on with his throwing, for which he doesn’t get enough credit. Made a number of carries in the loose and gets better all the time.

David Wilson – 6/10
Wilson’s side of the scrum looked a little less secure, and he didn’t offer much around the park. Lucky that Jenkins wasn’t fit to show him up.

Simon Shaw – 6/10
Made a couple of errors including a clumsy knock on when England had a chance to break. Probably did a lot of graft work that I didn’t spot, and you wouldn’t want anyone else in there.

Steve Borthwick – 8/10
One of his finest games for England. The Welsh lineout may have made him look better than he is, but he stole plenty of ball in the first half, and this gave us most of the possession. If England had lost, we would have slated his lack of leadership in capitulation, so perhaps we should credit him?

James Haskell – 8/10
Stole the headlines with his two tries, and generally deserved the plaudits, although he wouldn’t have been my Man of the Match.

Lewis Moody – 7/10
Came up against one of the best in the world in Martyn Williams and was not shown up. Probably one of the most annoying players to play against, and gave the Welsh no time on the ball and no easy possession.

Nick Easter – 9/10
Finally ran with the ball in and England shirt, rather than just taking two steps and putting it through his legs as he has done in the past. He is pretty massive and made some holes in the Welsh defence – let’s use him more often to get us going forwards. He also offered a good lineout option, suggesting that Tom Croft might not be missed.

Danny Care – 9/10
That’s the Danny Care that we see with Harlequins, not the forlorn, clueless player that was dropped in the autumn. Put some pace into the game with quick tap penalties, and generally made all the right decisions.

Jonny Wilkinson – 7/10
Still didn’t get the backline firing, despite enjoying some much better quality ball. Kicking out hand was dreadful, but his goal-kicking was immaculate and that lifts the side when three points is almost guaranteed from any penalty in opposition territory.

Ugo Monye – 7/10
Made one or two strong runs, but didn’t get much of an opportunity. Wales’ defence tended to snuff out any threat before the ball passed through the midfield.

Toby Flood – 5/10
The midfield was a mess. Jonny takes some of the blame, but Flood didn’t offer much in my view. When I played in an Under-11 team, our backs had a few moves to run, but England don’t seem to try anything that might test a defence. Flood also let James Hook through too easily for his try, and was at least partly responsible for squandering a couple of overlaps.

Mathew Tait – 6/10
Not much space to operate in and was dealt with pretty easily. Took the opportunity for Haskell’s second try after Armitage’s interception, and deserves more credit than Haskell who just had to walk it in after Tait’s pass behind his back.

Mark Cueto – 7/10
Played well if not brilliantly. Hardly made a mistake, and did his best to run at space rather than people, even though those inside him didn’t help him much.

Delon Armitage – 4/10
Oh dear. Where was the Delon of last season? Looked like a shadow of that player, not so comfortable under the high ball and not exactly watertight as the last line of defence. After Monye’s autumn, is this becoming a problem position? Ben Foden for Italy anyone?

4 thoughts on “England Player Ratings versus Wales

  1. Very generious witht he grades.

    I didn’t see much improvments from the autumn, the only difference is we were playing a reall weak Wales.

    Hook showed more class then the entire English backline and the welsh generally looked dangerous when they we getting quick ball. England almost never got quick ball and looked clueless when they did.

    Care had his best game for England but his passing is too slow and this forces the 10 to stand deeper. Not that johnny has any intention of standing flat or taking the ball at pace. It looks like he is perminently looking for a drop-goal even when he’s not.

    The forwards are the real bright light, Borthwick had his best game, so did Easter, Haskell and Hartley Moody was his usual hight standard as was shaw even though they can both play better. Add to the pack a couple of massive props, which we do have and we look like having a good pack with room to develop.

    So lots of good news but lets not get carried away, we are a mid-table ranked team and we played like one.

    France and Ireland look complete class compared to anything we offered, France have injurry/suspension problems and it doesn’t seem to bother them.

    I particularly liked Scotland’s attitude to run everything back at the french and maintain possession rather than kick it back. It didn’t always work but they rarely lost the ball while countering and made some good breaks which allowed them to start in french territory with good possession. Other teams take note. You don’t have to kick it back all the time.

  2. Thats a pretty fair assessment. Payne look out of his depth, but general did what was needed. Hartley got carried backwards too many times, but otherwise had a good game. Wilson looked as though he was struggling with a shoulder problem. Shaw was average. Borthwick played one of his best games ever. Haskell was superb. Moody (IMO) won the battle between him and Williams. Easter – quite simply should of been MOTM. Care was fantastic. Wilko did most of what was asked of him. Monye was average – bring in Ashton! Flood was lucky to play due to Flutey (no.1 choice) was injured and I think he’ll be lucky to even make the bench next week. Tait simply wasn’t used – every time he got the ball it was near always from a hospital pass – showed us a glimpse of his magic.
    Cueto was solid as usual. Armitage was crap

    Whoever though the combination of Wilko, Flood and Tait was a good idea obviously doesn’t remember when they all played at Newcastle together – they didn’t combine well then, and they see don’t now

  3. I find it hard to believe that England win and in the news on on tv they are still slated, yet Wales lose and are praised! (Mainly referring to Nigel Owens on BBC Commentary) It was not a polished performance by any means, Armitage and Floody should be dropped in my opinion, but it was a win, and in the end a fairly convincing one. We all know the tests will come against Ireland and France but last week the majority of people were sure Wales would win, they didn’t it was a good opening performance with plenty left to work on for the following games.

  4. I haven’t heard a huge amount of praise for Wales…I think Warren Gatland will be giving them a pretty hard time this week, and they’ll be infinitely better against Scotland.

    It will be interesting to see whether Armitage will get dropped. I’d like to see Foden given a chance against Italy – it’s probably not a bad opportunity for him to find his feet, and he could be just what we need in our armoury to take on Ireland.

    Will there be any changes when Johnno announces the team tomorrow? Who knows?!

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