Ireland v England 6 Nations 2013: England player ratings


15. Alex Goode: 7
Much better from Goode. Assured under the high ball and composed in his general play in what were horrific conditions for the backs.

14. Chris Ashton: 4
How has he survived this long without being able to tackle? Was shocking in defense, although thankfully the conditions dictated his missed tackles didn’t lead to anything. Anonymous in attack.

13. Brad Barritt: 6
More sterling defensive work from Barritt, in a game made for him. It was tight, all about making the hard yards and shackling the opposition on the gain-line – both of which he did well.

12. Billy Twelvetrees: 6
Not quite the fireworks of last week but a solid follow-up performance from the man known as 36. A couple of solid runs and a big kick were his only real contributions.

11. Mike Brown: 6
Once again top of the metres-made stats, Brown doesn’t tend to do anything that takes the breath away, but rather the basics very well. On a day like that in Dublin, it was exactly what England needed from him.

10. Owen Farrell: 8
The man with ice in his veins. Nerveless from the tee and boisterous in defence, Farrell is growing into a fly-half of real quality. In better conditions he will still have to prove himself in attack, but in the wet his game management was again sublime.

9. Ben Youngs: 8
Like Farrell, backed up superb Scotland performance with another here. Sniping runs kept the Irish defence honest around the fringes, and his box-kicking was well-directed.

1. Joe Marler: 7
Didn’t dominate the Irish scrum the way Corbisiero did last year, but then it was a much-improved Irish unit this time around. More obvious in the loose this week, Marler relished the close nature of the encounter.

2. Tom Youngs: 5
In tough conditions, the line-out somewhat fell apart in the second half. Not entirely to blame, but must take the brunt of it. To his credit, he is still fantastically busy in the loose.

3. Dan Cole: 7
How often is he the first man to the breakdown? Doesn’t always win the ball but slows it down at least. Consistently one of England’s most important performers.

4. Geoff Parling: 6
Made 10 tackles, an impressive figure for a lock forward, but along with Tom Youngs must take some blame for line-out malfunctions in the second half. Could have been more obvious in the loose.

5. Joe Launchbury: 6
A quiet game from the young Wasps lock, which is disappointing. Conditions meant the ball had to be kept tighter, and we didn’t really see Launchbury making the hard yards at close quarters. Still bags to come from him, though.

6. James Haskell: 7
A cynical yellow card was the only blemish on an otherwise assured performance from Haskell. Some huge hits and strong carries defined a good game for the Wasps-man.

7. Chris Robshaw: 9
Another titanic performance from the England captain, who seems to have finally grown into that role. Topped the tackle charts with 14 and also made more ball-carries than any other forward. Superb in leading an England team to a first Six Nations win in Dublin for 10 years.

8. Tom Wood: 7
Adapted to the no.8 role well in Ben Morgan’s absence, and his versatility will be useful when considering, say, summer touring parties… More good breakdown work allied with strong tackling meant this was another performance typical of Wood.

Courtney Lawes made a huge physical impact but seemed to get slightly carried away and ended up leaving the pitch in a daze. Manu Tuilagi was more obvious in 35 minutes than most of the other backs were for the whole game, but couldn’t quite finish a move that would have put the game to bed. Mako Vunipola made a few strong carries but didn’t do anything more than Marler had.

By Jamie Hosie

Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

43 thoughts on “Ireland v England 6 Nations 2013: England player ratings

  1. A little harsh on Ashton. It wasn’t a game for flamboyant wing play and one thing he did do well was to chase Farrell’s kicks and put a lot of pressure on Kearney.

  2. Given the nature of the game I’d have expected Barrit to score more highly. I think the overall low scores for a winning team reflect the fact that it was a messy and low skill quality match.

    Farrel was nerveless but what was it with all the whistling and booing during kicks? I’ve never had any time for this idea that kicks should be greeted with cathedral-like silence but the Irish used to seem to pride themselves on it and take it extremely seriously (I’ve heard people being shushed in pubs during kicks). Is it perhaps easier to magnanimously respect the kicker when you’re winning; when losing it’s a lot harder?

    1. The Irish obviously didn’t hear Farrell’s interview recently when he said he prefers a bit of noise. If anything they probably did him a favour.

    2. i recall wilkinson saying that he preferred noise. and as Dazza says, farrell feels the same.

      as much as i think that the silence is a sign of respect, and would prefer fans to be silent, the kickers all say that having 80,000 people staring at you in silence freaks them out. the irish missed a trick there.

      i also think that we should keep in mind the fact that mako, launchbury, t. youngs and 12Ts had never played a game away from twickenham until yesterday. and this young lot managed to go and win a 6N game in dublin! not an easy task by anyone’s standards.

      one final note! i think healy was lucky to have not seen yellow at least once. a bit of a hot head, he will need to sort that before the lions, because Deans has admitted to watching the 6Ns so he knows whats coming in the summer.

  3. I would say Mike Brown did better than the two centres and Alex Goode deserved an 8. Also Ashton didn’t do that badly, but other than that I agree.

  4. The impact of all subs was quite significant. Hartley got the better of Youngs by a mile. Restructered the Line-out. I thought Lawes had great impact and Tuilagi was quite good. Nevertheless a good win without once breaking a line..

  5. Dont usually comment but I have to say Ashtons 4 is harsh. His kick chase after the sin bin led to the penalty that got us back on top in the game. Was crucial.

  6. Ashtons 4 is a joke. He chased kicks and won the penalty to make it 9-6.didnt get ball on the wing due to nature of the game in awful weather

    1. 4 might be a tad harsh, I admit, but he certainly doesn’t deserve more than a 5. There were at least five or six occasions on which he either missed or ran away from a tackle. His pat on the back for O’Brien was comical. The 4 is more to attract people’s attention to the fact that he simply cannot tackle – which it seems to be doing. It is baffling for a man who has come from Rugby League.

      When on form, he is as good a finisher as there is in world rugby. We haven’t, however, seen this form for quite some time now. On the other wing, Mike Brown consistently makes more than double the amount of metres he does. Either defences have worked him out, or he isn’t as hungry to get involved as he used to be.

      As for his winning the penalty that made it 9-6, frankly any player on the pitch could have done it. It was almost expected.

  7. I have to agree with many, Ashton can’t tackle, which is something that RL players have generally always been good at. I like the rest of his game though, always hunting for the ball. Just can’t tackle.

  8. Also, Haskell is always going to be a liability. He has the skill, the fitness and the power but is still as thick as two short planks.

    1. its strange though because he actually isn’t thick, he is very eloquent. I think he is the human equivalent of a Labradooodle in that he is actually smart most of the time but then he suddenly becomes a Lab and does something totally retarded

  9. Really harsh on Asthon. I actually thought that considering the nature of the game he was quite involved.

    I really can’t take to Goode. He is too slow to play full back. A fair few times he received a kick on broken play but isn’t fast enough to make use of the space so has to kick (which to be fair he does well), or just gets caught.

    You saw from the one ball that Brown received from deep, he made a little jinking run and broke a couple tackles.

    With 36 there, Goode is not his usual use of being an extra first receiver.

    I would actually drop him; move Brown to 15 and play Foden at 11.

  10. goode’s positional play was absolutely outstanding, he defintiely managed to respond to his critics (of which i was one!)

    brown showed that he is a FB, but also why he should continue to play 11 for england as long as goode is 15.

    i felt that ashton did some good things, chased kicks well, found space putting a few kicks down the touchline. but ultimately he was by far the worst back.

    barritt was the typical mr dependable that we all excpect. 12Ts was quieter (possibly why goode seemed more prominent) but this was not a day to go throwing the ball around.

    backrow were all busy. i was fuming with haskell’s yellow at the time, but in hindsight he should have stuck his hands up and said “ref i can’t move without the ball being played” at which point if the ref told him to keep moving, then he would have had no grounds to bin him.

    locks were quiet for their standards, but the weather meant that they had to hit rucks and do the grunt work. props were good, felt t. youngs was off a bit. this may give hartley a chance to start, then we can see what youngs brings off the bench.

    9 and 10 were outstanding. great game management, both looked like old heads, amazing that they are only 23 and 21.

    all in all, i think this was good, as it showed that this england can go out and grind out a win in poor weather.

    regardless of what happens in the next few games for england, there will definitely be something to play for against wales on the final day – Triple Crown. although i would like to think that they can push for the championship, and dare i say it, the grand slam (a bit premature, i know but with them being the only team left able to get it, it is all the press will talk about!)

    subs were good too. i also liked that SL didnt take b. youngs and farrell off just for the sake of it. i feel that subs are made too often these days because a coach feels that they should use all 23 players just because they can. if it aint broke, dont fix it!

  11. Think Barritt and Brown deserve more – Barritt’s was a crucial role and he barely put a foot wrong. Made a nuisance of himself at the breakdown as well. Brown caught everything that came his way, kicked well, chased very well and was one of the only England backs to make any yardage whatsoever

    Cole should have less – he really didn’t show at this best during the scrums

    Ashton’s mark looks correct to me. Isolated and turned over a couple of time and seems to have decided that tackling is something other people can do. Can we replace with Foden or perhaps Biggs or May?

    1. Agree with most of this. Brown covered for Gooode on occasions and did well with minimal ball. Barritt has been instrumental in defence getting a crucial turnover and even in attack holding the ball well. Simply wouldn’t have the heart to tell him he’s not starting. Ashton has scored most of England’s tries and is our only out and out speedster and finisher. He did make errors and although trying to look for ball inside showing industry, it wasn’t the weather or the team to try this against. May is knocking on England’s door with his phenomenal pace however brown would be the man to replace (in better conditions).

    2. To be fair Pablito he was probably having to scrum with only one good ankle!!

      The scrum is so much the sum not the individual components. Withness how Sheridan and Steven became worldcall when they had the behemoth that is Shaw locking behind them. I think the scrum missed Morgans’ ballast and drive. I hope he is fit for France, and really think we need to see what Billy V can do. Perhaps Haskell to be dropped from the bench in punsihment for his stupid yellow and lack of honesty over the incident.

  12. Ashton’s 4 is very harsh. He offered himself in midfield several times and it was only a strong Irish defence that held him up.
    Aside from that I would probably agree with the other scores.

    1. I don’t know how precise they are, but the stats show that Ashton made two tackles and missed four. He did well to win a penalty from one chase though.

  13. Can people stop laying into Asthon? I actually don’t think his tackling is that bad in general; I remember him making a couple of massive hits down in SA last summer. People have such short memories.

    Considering the weather, he got involved quite a lot. He also got a crucial turnover that could be argued swayed the game strongly in our favor. He is also our best finisher on the pitch by some way.

    1. Of course people have short memories. As they say, you’re only as good as your last game

      Just ‘cos Ashton made 2 good tackles last summer does not excuse his poor defensive showing on Saturday. In better conditions, his reluctance to tackle may well have cost points

    2. I agree Jeff

      Ashton is playing well, he scores when he is given a sniff of the line, and it is not like the england team is overwhelmed with finishers. Our back three is beginning to look very slow although solid.

      In have nothing against a good defensive fullback but a people suggesting we walk out on the field with three fullbacks?

      Speed in the back three is an area we need to work on, even though I’m delighted with the current situation.

      Very impressed at how B youngs has come back and made 9 his own, he is playing really well.

      Thought Parling deserved more, tough day for the lineout and it went well for Enlgand, he works hard and is always running at the attacking line with all his might, he made O’gara come inside several times without getting a charge down, both times led to a turnover. He is an unsung hero for me.

      1. Agree with you Ronbraz; Ashton is our best finisher.

        And Pablito, I agree with you that Ashtons defense was not great on Sunday; but my point was that people are taking it too far. He had a poor game defensively; but its crazy to start saying that he can not defend based upon one game.

  14. As composed as Goode was, I’d be tempted to try Brown at 15 and stick May on the left wing, where he’s scored about 4 in 3 games since injury?

    Adds a bit more pace to the back three. Stick with 12.Barritt 13.Tuilagi for France and try 12.Twelvetrees 13.Tulagi v Italy.

    The rest of the team picks itself.

  15. Youngs and Farrell were both playing so well, and I think if Care and Flood (particularly Flood) had come on, it could have lost us the game. From last week to this Farrell has proved that he can adapt his game to the situation. Something I think Flood has struggled with in the past. I think this is mainly down to Farrell being generally more aggressive in defence. You can see how much he enjoyed getting stuck in with the rucks and making a nuisance of himself. I know some people will say that it’s not a fly halves job, but who cares. If he’s winning the ball, or slowing down the oppositions play, then it’s all for the good of the team.

  16. I think Farrell in particular has really enhanced his reputation this Six Nations campaign. I’ve always been a fan of him myself right from the start, but I could never understand why other people gave him so much flak. Solid in defense, kicks his goals, might not be the best attacker but gives a decent pass, what more can you ask?

    Ashton has been hit a miss for me, sometimes I’m watching the game saying ‘Well in Ashton’ other times I’m shouting ‘How did he miss that tackle?’ swings and roundabouts with that player.

    1. The problem I have with Farrell is his ability to get the line moving forward. It’s often static and he passes too early to keep the defence on their toes. Now in a game like yesterday it’s fine, but what Flood always does is try the line, hold a defender and opens a hole, same as Dan Carter (the comparison is not to suggest he’s as good, just the style). I think the day suited Farrell better, but he still needs to improve his passing and timing. Solid is a word I’d use to describe him, but sometimes you need something more.

      Ashton – for all those defending him did have a bad day yesterday, missing half of his 8 attempts to tackle. That said, aside from yesterday his play has been pretty reasonable, I wouldn’t be calling for the axe yet.

  17. Haskell made 3 metres, saw the ball only 5 times (6 if you include his stupid yellow card) gave away 2 penalties. Not sure how he gets a 7. launchbury made as many tackles, carried further (albeit only 1m) with less ball with a clean record from the ref and only got 6. I’d have given him 5 if I were being generous, but to be honest I don’t think he showed anything in his performance worthy of another game.

    If we’re penalising Tom Youngs and Geoff Parling for the lineouts, we ought to be penalising Tom Wood for the scrums (in part). Without a specialist number 8, the scrum was unsteady and his keeping the ball at the base is far from ideal. I’m hoping the England management don’t look back on his efforts from the position as positive because it helped Ireland disrupt no end. Looked much better when he returned to his 6 position

    Surely it’s time to put wood back at 6 and Morgan at 8 with Waldrom on the bench to cover the whole back row rather than flankers that “can play 8”

  18. Lions team today
    1 Cole
    2 Best
    3 Heally
    4 Launchberry
    5 Parling
    6 O’Brain
    7 Robshaw
    8 Faletaeu
    9 Youngs
    10 Sexton
    11 Viser
    12 Roberts
    13 Tuillagi
    14 Cuthburt
    15 Hogg

    1. Completely agree with the pack. I would have Ashton in there over Visser though.

      I also wouldn’t have Roberts as I think he is way out of form. Potentially have Davies in there with Tuilagi but they are both 13s really.

  19. Aspect of the performance I’m most pleased about (other than the win!) was Ben Youngs. When it is tight, scrappy, ugly, the ball isn’t on a plate and the pressure is on we’ve seen him fall apart before. Seeing him able to perform this well in a game of this magnitude and type is a big plus.

    Shame that Lawes did a Moody, however he did absolutely obliterate RoG, so it’s still a positive contribution in my book.

  20. england requested that foden be rested by saints over the weekend, as they feel he needs more time… so i guess we know why he hasnt been picked in the squad then. i wonder whether they will look at him for the france game, especially as he seems to have a decent try scoring record against the french.

    my view would be to drop flood out of the 23. with 12Ts and Goode, i think 10 is covered, and i use the word cover with the proper sense, as i dont think farrell should be brought off unless injured (or having a complete stinker)

    so my backs would be out of;
    youngs, care
    12Ts, Barritt, Manu
    Brown, Ashton, Foden, Goode

    Not decided who should start out of this yet though… i would go with youngs at 9, off the back of the ireland game. but with the centres and back 3, i could quite easily make a case for why any of them should start, or be on the bench.

    1. Simo, I have pondered your view on the replacement 10 and it is a decent perspective. However, the cynic in me worries that this may leave Farrell open to targeting from the opposition.

      Twelvetrees and Goode may well provide decent cover at club level, but they would be far from ideal at Test level – or at least, unproven.

      1. completely know where you are coming from, as i was thinking it while i wrote it. but my overall view was that firstly, they should both (12Ts & Goode) be on the pitch at the same time if this is to happen, therefore being able to share the responsibility and also take the pressure off each other.

        i also think that if we continue with flood in the squad, then it means that someone out of 12Ts, Barritt, Manu, Brown, Goode or Foden (assuming ashton stays as the only actual winger) will have to miss out. and based on how they have all performed for england, i think that all of them would be in my first choice 23.

        having said all this, flood has not done anything to warrant being dropped, and on his day can play some great rugby. i have also just remembered that burns is still recovering from injury, so that is another player who i would want there or thereabouts. and JJ keeps getting overlooked.

        i guess the reality of the situation is that england have actually managed to come across a group of young backs, and quite a few of them. not only are there all the ones i have mentioned, but the like of daly, wade, may, biggs, tomkins and many more! england actually have some great depth for once. i only hope that we take a large number of these guys on the summer tour to Argentina, to expose them to test rugby, and let them develop a bit further.

        my heart says to go with my original post, but i think the rational man in me knows that you are right blub! flood should be in the squad to cover 10. but then i think we need someone like foden or jj to cover wing/fb/13, which will mean that one of 12Ts, Barritt or Manu misses out.

        i do not envy SL and the decisions he has to make!

  21. I remain amazed that there are still some comments on here about the lack of pace in the back 3. Apologies if i sound like a bust record but Brown has oodles of pace, and he definitely showed it yesterday when chasing a couple of kicks. Goode, not so much pace, but he was superb yesterday. I, too, like Foden but at the moment I don’t see him improving the starting XV.

    Most impressive for me yesterday was Lancasters performance; bringing on Lawes and Tuilagi after just 7 minutes of the second half, when Ireland were taking control of the game, leaving Care and Flood on the bench, and dragging Lawes back off even when he seemed (from the TV) to have recovered from his “bump”.

    Incidentally, did anyone note that he has tweeted today, an apology to everyone (on Twitter) for setting such a bad example in his tackle technique. Good man.

  22. I think Ashton deserves more than a 4. The pressure he put on Kearney led to a crucial penalty and the lineout that almost led to a Tuilagi try. I also think Goode deserves an 8. He barely faltered under the massive pressure and had excellent handling given the appalling conditions.

  23. Too harsh on Ashton I thought. Brown, Barritt, and Parling deserved one more and Haskell one or two less. I was beginning to be converted again by Haskell but I’m afraid he showed his true colours again.

  24. I was apprehensive when I saw the weather – remembering many occasions over the last fifty years when the Micks had more than the luck of the Irish! However, a win’s a win – and as long as we beat the best team on the planet (since an Englishman scored the winning try for them against the French last Saturday)I don’t care!! (I have a half-Taff brother, incidentally(!))

  25. When is Varndell going to get a chance? Why does Ashton keep getting the nod over him? Another quick try again against Quins and some solid tackling, he isn’t even making the squad. Mystifying!

    1. About 8 years ago and again about 5 years ago. Defensive liability. I did always try to stick up for him, but he was just never up to it at that level. He tried to play the 7s game but he just repeatedly got caught out. Even at Leicester he was struggling in that department and I don’t see him doing any better at Wasps.

      It’s all very well scoring a try, but if you concede 5 on the way it’s not good economy. For the same reason I don’t see Wade making the senior side any time soon. Ashton’s game is usually his tackling, though he had a poor one in Dublin, I wouldn’t exactly be calling for someone I thought was poorer in that department.

  26. Have to say I think Ashton needs to be replaced. Varndel in? Ashton should feel it a kick up the arse to sort his all round game out and fight for a return. In general though it feels great to be an England supporter , long may it last. 2015 Farrell in the pocket?

    1. I just don’t think Varndell has proven that his defence is that good. Not just his defence but his propensity to run away from support and lose the ball. Ashton has had 1 bad game, you don’t get rid of him and replace him with an unknown quantity based on that. If you’re going to replace him, you have to replace him with someone who is actually going well with a complete game which Varndell ain’t. Tom Biggs, Johnny May and even Charlie Sharples are threatening but also that bit smarter than Varndell and I wouldn’t mind seeing them get a run out, but at this stage I’d be more interested in sorting out the wing that doesn’t have a winger on it.

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