England v Argentina: England player ratings

15. Mike Brown: 6.5
None of the fireworks from last weekend, but still a solid performance from Brown. Has an astute understanding of space that seemingly means he is always in the right place at the right time.

14. Chris Ashton: 5
His stats looked good, and reflected a high work-rate, but there were too many errors and missed opportunities for Ashton to warrant his place in the team next weekend, if a replacement is available. He scored a try (that arguably could have been ruled out had it gone to the TMO), and butchered a one-on-one that he should have finished. He was also stepped far too easily in defence. Better, but not good enough.

13. Joel Tomkins: 5.5
Solid but unspectacular again from Tomkins. Made his tackles but does not look dangerous with ball in hand, and has been unable to get his offloading game going. Looking like merely a custodian of the shirt while Tuilagi is away.

12. Billy Twelvetrees: 7
Much better from Twelvetrees, particularly in the first half. Fizzed passes away off both hands, and showed his impressive strength to barrel over the line from close range. Faded in second half but then so did everyone.

11. Ben Foden: 6
Worked hard in defence and made a couple of slick offloads, but didn’t have the opportunities to show his exciting running game.

10. Owen Farrell: 6
Kicking demons from last week were, thankfully, nowhere to be seen, but there was still a failure to get the back-line going too often. A mixed bag kicking from hand, too, which is something that will need to be rectified ahead of next weekend.

9. Lee Dickson: 7
A huge improvement on last weekend, it was surprising that he was substituted so early on in the second half. There was less aimless kicking and more of the snappy service that saw him elevated to starter in the first place.

1. Joe Marler: 6.5
Filled in the carrying roll of Mako Vunipola in the loose well, and also went well against the Argentinian scrum. Unlikely to have done enough to keep Corbisiero out of the starting line-up next weekend, however.

2. Dylan Hartley: 8
Hartley was at his rampaging best, beating defenders in several strong carries. Stayed on the right side of the boundary between aggression and thuggery and if he can continue to do that, he will be England’s no.1. The line-out also went better with him there.

3. David Wilson: 6
An OK performance from Wilson, but one that does not lift him above Cole in the pecking order. Dealt with Ayerza and the Argentinians well, but will likely be replaced by the Leicester man for next weekend.

4. Joe Launchbury: 7
More of the ‘unseen’ excellence that makes him such a key part of this England team. Twelve tackles, seven carries and a try to cap off another good outing for Launchbury in a white shirt.

5. Courtney Lawes: 7
The line-out was a huge improvement, which is a credit to Lawes, who obviously benefitted from having club teammate Hartley throwing in. There was one huge (potentially borderline) hit that stopped any Argentine momentum.

6. Tom Wood: 7
Worked as hard as ever and made plenty of tackles, but also managed to get his hands on the ball quite often. Will never provide a huge source of go-forward ball, but with a big no.8 behind him he doesn’t need to.

7. Chris Robshaw: 7.5
Excellent stuff from the captain who has more than justified his selection as starter and captain in the space of two performances. Twenty tackles gave him a total seven higher than anyone else, and nine passes points to his fulfilling of the link-man role that he does so well.

8. Billy Vunipola: 5
Did not back up last weekend’s performance. Looked sluggish and failed to get over the gain-line regularly, in large parts thanks to Argentina’s brave defence, which threw itself at Vunipola’s feet time and again. Needs a back up plan for when his brute force isn’t working.

Replacements: 6
The second half performance was infinitely worse than that of the first half, so it is tough to mark them too positively. Ben Morgan was one exception, finally showing the kind of form that got everyone so excited last season and capped a good afternoon with a try. Geoff Parling worked hard in defence after coming on, but with the line-out functioning well without him, will sweat over his place for next week, as will Tom Youngs. Corbisiero shored up the scrum.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

22 thoughts on “England v Argentina: England player ratings

  1. Had some healthy (or not so healthy…) debate over the weekend about Ashton’s player rating. I don’t think he played particularly well. However relative to other players I feel he was no worse, yet he is marked lower across a number of papers/blogs compared to the likes of Foden and Tomkins. I can’t help but feel Ashton is being prejudiced for recent form rather than judged on his performance in this game alone (nothing says this is the way it should be done btw, but that’s the way I’ve always understood it to be) .

    whilst I appreciate the comment to acknowledge the good stats, I feel there is too much in his favour to ignore. For example Ashton compared Vs Tomkins & Foden;

    – made more tackles at a higher % completed to Tomkins – yet Tomkins is described as solid (3 tackles made, 1 missed seems pretty average) and Ashton is “stepped far too often”. If Ashton was stepped (which the stats say he wasn’t), I assume this refers to kick chases, the kicks are too deep if they allow players to run at him and the chase is poor from team mates if he’s left on his own on a 1on1. (More so if he’s expected to make tackles in 1on1s.. why is he criticized for not finishing a 1on1? Seems inconsistent. Juan Imhoff is no mug too, he’d expect to make 1 on 1 tackles, and only just manages a tap tackle to stop Ashton scoring)

    – Far more involved and far more metres gained than both Tomkins & Foden. This is a stat often used to praise individuals like Mike Brown.

    – 1 more offload than Foden, yet Foden gets praise for his “slick offloads”…

    – He also makes 1 break, nothing to shout about, but vs zero from both Tomkins & Foden.

    -Scores a try and had a nice assist for the Twelvetrees try, where he cleaned up a poor pass off the ground to keep the move going. Foden & Tomkins come up empty here too.

    So whilst I don’t necessarily disagree with Ashton’s 5, I don’t see how the likes of Tomkins and Foden score higher, based on this game alone.

  2. Agree for the most part. Although I think Corbs did a lot more than just ‘shore up the scrum’, I thought he was excellent and also won three (might have been two) scrum penalties in one half of rugby against the Argentinians, pretty impressive!

    Also thought Foden deserved more than a 6, I thought him and Brown actually combined really well.

    Ashton was a weird one – I thought has played poorly but then he had 8 carries that all broke the gain line and 100% tackle success from 7 attempts. Sounds decent. Obviously that stat ignores the fact that he was completely out of position for one tackle so that he was so far from the carries it didn’t go down from the missed tackle, but still! I think that demonstrates how misleading stats can be sometimes.

    Yarde to come in if he is fit, if not Wade. Would like to see Wade on the bench over Goode if both he and Yarde are fit.

      1. It was definitely Corbs for the one near our try line – and I’m pretty sure he won another near half way. The one near our try line the ref actually spoke to their tight head – so it was definitely Corbs.

          1. Excellent. Thanks for your expansive points and explanation as to what actually happened at these scrums that I seem to have misinterpreted.

  3. Oh dear. If Ashton’s “stats” look good, I fear that is all the pretext needed for managment to stick with him. Next week’s selection will say a lot about the ambition of this coaching set up.

  4. It says everything about the direction we’re going currently that the backs are being marked almost entirely on their defensive ability. We need to face facts and look at the coaching and half backs, find precisely where the problem is and clear out any dead wood!

  5. Ashton may not have a missed tackle in his stats because the Argentine stepped him and got round him with meters to spare, it wasn’t a missed tackle because Ashton wasn’t even close enough to dive for a pair of heels.

    He failed one try attempt which may or may not have been down to the defence more than his efforts, but he was almost certainly in touch for the 2nd, whilst the ref may have missed it, the coaching staff won’t.

    He had a clean break, but that came from an overlap, his defenders beaten tally for England over the last year or so has been awful.

    I think he was trying too hard, but in the end, if it’s not working for him, we need to try someone else. Unfortunately there’s question marks over Wades fitness :(.

    With 36 we’re merely using the same fix for Farrell as when we selected Goode, someone else to play as first receiver. Farrell is a fine player, and could be a good choice for closing a game out in the last 20, but at the moment we seem to be trying to fix a problem that shouldn’t exist.

    1. Credit where credit is due on the missed Ashton try. Great tap tackle and excellent work by the defenders to get onto it and hold him up

  6. All so very disappointing in the end… At half time everyone watching it agreed we should thump Argentina, really put down a strong marker to NZ. Instead we got the most lacklustre second half I have seen in a long time (Morgan’s try aside).

    Would honestly be tempted to start Flood next week (putting my helmet on, ready for the rain of abuse), actually think he’s looked pretty good coming on and playing out of position- certainly offers more attacking threat than Farrell, and should link well with former team mate 12T.

    Would also bring Wade and Yarde in on the wings, or one plus Foden if still injuries. Ashton I have believed in you for far too long, frankly I am bored of being disappointed by you. And you even failed to ground your ‘try’. Lucky mate.

    Been really disappointed with Tomkins too. He has done pretty much nothing in two games. Definition of the word average. Shame Trinder was injured, really think we need a gas man at 13 (though not as Woodward suggested Jonny May. At 13? Whatcha smoking Woodward?) if we cant have the human wrecking ball of Manu.

    On a side note, anyone see Leicester/Ospreys on Fri? NZ born outside centre Javiah Pohe looked very threatening; definitely a similar player to Tuilagi and England qualified. Give it a little while and we may have a suitable deputy in case of injury.

    1. Watched that game, was hugely impressed with Pohe, and Catchpole as well. Mind you, they were up against a ridiculously understrength Ospreys team – no idea how they would go in the Premiership, but it’s certainly promising. Was equally, if not more, impressed with Harry Thacker at hooker – if he bulks up a bit he looks like he could be the next Tom Youngs!

      1. It was certainly a weak ospreys team but I thought a lot of these new guys were fantastic. It was a marker that experienced players like Hamilton and Waldrum (that try scoring run aside) weren’t the best players on the pitch. Thacker was outstanding. Think we have a brilliant generation with guys like these and the under 20 World Cup winners coming through. Too late for 2015 but 2019? Alongside our already capped stars like Tuilagi, wade, yarde, launchbury, youngs, who are all still only 21/22/23? Should be interesting…

  7. Is that the same Ben Morgan who spilt the ball on his first carry, and then had one moment when he broke through a tired defence to score?

    I think Foden had a better game than Yarde did last weekend. Looked good going forward and better in defence than Yarde. Also good positioning to fill in at 9 when needed.

    I think a 5 for Vunipola is harsh. As you pointed out, Argentina were always going to try and stifle him any time he got the ball. He still carried well, and I don’t remember him giving away any penalties. Would still keep him as a starter for New Zealand.

    I would be tempted to start with Flood at 10 against New Zealand. He’s looked good the last two weeks when he’s come on, and I think he could link up better with 36, as he played a lot with him at Tigers.

    My squad for next weekend:
    1. Corbs
    2. Hartley
    3. Wilson
    4. Lawes
    5. Launchbury
    6. Wood
    7. Robshaw
    8. Vunipola
    9. Youngs (if fit) (if not Dickson)
    10. Flood
    11. Foden
    12. Twelvetrees
    13. Tomkins
    14. Ashton
    15. Brown

    16. Youngs
    17. Marler
    18. Cole
    19. Parling
    20. Morgan
    21. Dickson (if Youngs not fit Care)
    22. Farrell
    23. Wade (if fit) (If not Eastmond)

  8. The good news from these games and over thelast year is that we now have a pack which has been tested and looks capable of serious business. That provides the foundation to win games. Our depth in the front row in particular is excellent. All the pack are playing well as are the back ups. Considering we also have the inexperienced/uncapped potential players like kvesic, Fraser, Thomas, Clifford, and slater, things look good.

    In terms of the backs, youngs and tuilagi are genuine world class players. However, though we have some other good and improving players, we need to get a few more players up to a standard where they can be considered in the top 3 in that position world wide.

    I hope against the ABs wade and yarde run out and, behind our excellent pack, the backs really go for it

  9. Thought the marks were generally fair.

    We now have the pack to take on anyone and enough competition to replace injuries, but how are we going to use the ball next week?

    I think Tomkins has to play next week given the lack of alternatives and generally he won’t let anyone down defensively, but I think that he has played himself out of longer term reckoning. My only hope is that he plays like the last centre to be labelled a one dimensional defensive centre against the ABs! However he hasn’t got Manu next to him so unlikely.

    I think that I did say that I would be happy for Wade to be on the wing next week but am becoming more worried by the NZ kicking on reflection. Foden and Yarde give us better experience and size respectively to counter this, so would prefer these two, injuries permitting. Hopefully Cole now knows he’s not guaranteed a place and works harder on his game, as I feel that he has gone backwards over the last 12 months.

    Am expecting a loss next week, but a part of me can’t help thinking – what if we do play the perfect game for the second year running……….?

  10. Yes, I also think that 5 is a little harsh on Vunipola. I actually thought he had a good game, just not as effective as last week.

    As i said a few days ago on a another chain, I cannot see Foden NOT playing next week, as we need players to field and counter the ABs kicking game. I would love to see Yarde or Wade on the other wing.

    I have commented often that change for sake of change is not wise, but I really don’t see what Ashton brings to the game anymore. Twice he was out of position for a pre-planned passing move running blind to open (though one time it did lead to Twelvetrees try) and this is supposed to be his forte.

    Ashtons try? Well there was no definitive camera angle to suggest he was out before touching down, but my gut tells me that he was touch in goal. I feel that he “got away” with that, and even to be in a position to cast some doubt on it, is very poor.

  11. Not sure where a 5 for Vunipola came from, sure he wasn’t the 8 of last week, but still by far our best ball carrying forward (Marler’s ball carrying gets a positive mention for his whopping contribution of 3m). I think 6.5 or 7 is fairer.

    Otherwise agree.

  12. Did I see Vunipola get best 8 of the week somewhere over Read and Faletau, etc? I might be dreaming it, but if not someone thought he had a good game!

  13. Mike Brown did not miss a tackle always made yards and other than one difficult catch was amazing and yet some idiot thinks this mark is correct! Obviously can’t play rugby and has no idea of what is happening

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