England & South Africa Player Ratings – 2nd Test

15. Ben Foden – 6

Roughed about under the high ball and should have passed outside when he broke through in the first half.

14. Chris Ashton – 7

Subtly excellent. Chased well after Youngs box kicks, ran a great line in the build up to Flood’s try and looked hungry.

13. Jonathan Joseph – 6

Went well for a first start, but didn’t cut loose as was hoped. Mind you under the pressure of de Villiers getting away passes and staying on his feet was enough.

12. Manu Tuilagi – 7

A mixed bag. Made plenty of good tackles but missed a key one on Spies. Easily England’s most effective option going forward until Waldrom’s arrival. Must remember he’s still only 21.

11. David Strettle – 5

Looked far too lightweight and suffered from Alberts and Pietersen channeling his wing.

10. Toby Flood – 7

Made the most of what little clean ball was on offer to orchestrate attacks but this was an uphill battle. His experience was vital, kicking well at goal.

9. Ben Youngs – 8

Excellent. His passing game at times was a touch too slow but overall showed real determination and was rewarded with two tries. His effort to stop Pietersen on the decisive try summed up his commitment.

1. Joe Marler – 6

England’s scrum seemed to perk up following the departure of Bismarck du Plessis and the arrival of Alex Corbisiero, but credit to Marler for his shift. Developing well.

2. Dylan Hartley – 5

The lineout struggled under pressure from Kruger and England could have done with seeing more of Hartley going forward in the loose. Defensively sound.

3. Dan Cole – 7

Seemed to pour everything into it, even half his right ear. Bemoaned Rolland’s interpretation of the scrums at times but hit hard around the fringes.

4. Mouritz Botha – 5

Sadly quiet around the park when England needed to be at his most abrasive. This was a fight and we didn’t see enough scrap.

5. Geoff Parling – 6

Plenty of big hits linger suggesting he was effective as ever. A latecomer to Test rugby who will only get better learning from Saturday.

6. Tom Johnson – 7

Niggly, brute of a flanker who hunted every high ball on offer. His consistency was remarkable considering this was his 2nd cap. England need a character like Joe Worsley and he came close.

7. Chris Robshaw – 7

Relentless. Leads from the front, constantly found hanging off runners. Looked shattered when Spies sped round him but came again. The openside is a strong position right now in world rugby and Robshaw is up there.

8. Ben Morgan – 5

Didn’t give enough. Supposed to be England’s main strike runner from the pack yet was comprehensively overshadowed by Waldrom.

Replacements:

The aforementioned Corbisiero and Waldrom both put down big markers – the London Irish prop helping to dominate the scrum with Waldrom’s run posing a threat. Alex Goode showed good touches in the short time he has available.

South Africa:

15. Pat Lambie – 7, 14. JP Pietersen – 7, 13. Jean de Villiers – 7, 12. Frans Steyn – 7, 11. Bryan Habana – 7, 10. Morné Steyn – 6, 9. Francois Hougaard – 7; 1. Tendai Mtawarira – 6, 2. Bismarck du Plessis – 9, 3. Jannie du Plessis – 7, 4. Eben Etzebeth – 7, 5. Juandré Kruger – 8, 6. Willem Alberts – 8, 7. Marcell Coetzee – 7, 8. Pierre Spies – 7

For about 50 minutes, one of the best performances of the season. The problem was in between there was a half hour gap where the Springboks crumbled. Letting a side come back into a match from an 18 point lead to 4 points is unforgiveable, but there were so many good points it’s hard to criticise. The pack were phenomenal, spearheaded by the incredible Bismarck. A performance to remember.

by Ben Coles

14 thoughts on “England & South Africa Player Ratings – 2nd Test

  1. We need a big winger for games like this, and I don’t mean Banahan. Ashton held up well, but Strettle looked out of his depth in defence. I would think about moving Foden back to the wing for the next game, and giving Goode a shot at full back. Or moving Tuilagi to the wing and bringing Turner Hall in. Flood did well with the ball worth using, but he also looked defensively frail.

    1. I would go for Monye if fit. If not then I would put JJ on wing (thought he ran some quite good lines when he was moved out there) and bring Barritt back if fit to do the lumberjack role.

    2. Is Monye fit yet?

      BTW, it seemed to me that Hartley fell off an awful lot of tackles. I certainly wouldn#t have described him as defensively sound

  2. “England need a character like Joe Worsley” – as Will Greenwood described him, the ankle-chopper. I think Tom Wood should have been that guy in this tour – incredible work rate, brutal in defense, gets all over the park and stops men on the gain line every time. I think a back row of Wood, Robshaw and Waldrom or Morgan (depending on form), would be our best option in the future. Just hope Wood isn’t another Tom Rees – top quality player who should have been England captain but forced out of the game due to persistent injury. He’s had a long layoff to let his foot heal, hopefully that has done the trick.

  3. I seriously think that England are lacking a tackler in the back row. They needed some one who was going to lead the charge and stop the Boks on the gain line. This didn’t happen in the first half and gave them far to much momentum and confidence.

  4. Well, I don’t think anyone could accuse Robshaw of shirking tackling duties.

    I don’t think Morgan really makes his size and power felt in defense. He’s a big bloke and should be putting the big hits in to drive oppostion players backwards, but i can’t remember seeing him do it.

    1. In 6N Morgan was largely excused defensive duties and was positioned for kick return (suspect this was a Farrell senior ploy to use him like Britz), so we never really saw much of his defence. Saturday was a day for big men to step forward and make big tackles, as our post powerful backrow athlete we needed him at the forefront.

      I wonder when Robshaw’s thumb went, as you say he didn’t shirk them, he just didn’t complete them as he has been doing.

      Are thumbs becoming the new metatarsal?

      1. According to the reports, Robshaw cracked his thumb in the first game.

        And yes thumbs are the new metatarsal!!

  5. Oh dear – Chris Robshaw is out with a broken thumb now. Hartley to captain next Saturday. Not worried about the captaincy but deeply concerned about our back row options now. Guessing that either Dowson or Haskell will take his place in the back row but we’ll really miss Robshaw’s impact both in defence and attack.

  6. Robshaw missed 4 tackles and made 10. Missed nearly half his tackles. Gave away 3 penalties. Don’t think he deserves a 7.

  7. Really wasn’t convinced by Parling in this game. Was supposed to be the top tackler, but I can only remember him being brushed off by the SA runners. Lineout didn’t function correctly either.
    Would also knock one point off Habana (what did he do after the first 5 minutes?) and add it to Pieterson who I thought was outstanding. Despite Bismarcks play I thought JP was the SA man of the match. Class apart every time he had the ball and when he didn’t.

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