June Internationals 2018: England Player Ratings 3rd Test

Owen Farrell

Joe Large reviews the individual performances of England’s players in the final test against South Africa.

Joe Marler – Not a player I would have chosen to see return to the starting line-up. However, he acquitted himself very well in the tight and was more present in the loose, where he also showed some nice hands. 7/10

Jamie George – Probably his best performance of the tour, but was wayward in the lineout and has probably not really cemented his place in the way he would have liked. 6/10

Kyle Sinkler – Another who has been unable to really take his chance. Probably his best game of the tour as well, but not great enough to displace Dan Cole, who has had his reputation enhanced by his absence. 6/10

Joe Launchbury – I think this man is probably one of the most indispensable players we have. He steps up and leads with a cool head. Due to his maturity, I think he would have been a more sensible choice to take over the captaincy than Farrell. 7/10

Maro Itoje – More like what we know he is capable of. He seemed to channel his aggression in a more positive way this week and looked less rankled and more disciplined. 7/10

Chris Robshaw – In a game when a work horse was needed, he gave his all. Whether he has a future going into the world cup is debatable, but he will forever remain a reliable member of the team. 6/10

Tom Curry – After a solid – if unspectacular – tour, he found himself winning a few turnovers. If openside is a tricky position for England, we need to give somebody a run of games and he has probably done enough to say that it should be him. 7/10

Nathan Hughes – One of the most frustrating members of the team. By all accounts, he should be a menace with ball in hand, but he makes it too easy for defenders with his running style. 4/10

Ben Youngs – We are in desperate need of a scrum half capable of picking up the pace. His kicking and passing were ineffectual and an understudy needs to be found quick sharp. 4/10

Danny Cipriani – Not a game in which he was able to flourish. However, all he needed was one opportunity to do something sublime, which he did with aplomb for that try-assist. 7/10

Mike Brown – Not a winger. When he had the ball, he was powerful, but inaccurate and not overly threatening. 5/10

Owen Farrell – Dead-eyed from the tee and knew exactly how and where we wanted to play. He is the glue of the backline and dictates the game. I still have reservations about him as a captain though. 7/10

Henry Slade – He is just not taking any chances he is given for England and has done nothing all tour. The South African try came as a result of his defence. He could still be used to good effect from the bench, but that starting berth seems to be at severe risk. 4/10

Jonny May – The man of the tour and the man of the match, capped with a try. He has excelled whenever he has been given the ball and has been solid in his defence as well. The finishing quality he possesses will be invaluable going forward. 8/10

Elliot Daly – He is still performing under the (admittedly high) quality that has come to be expected from him. Another vital member of the starting XV, but the Wasps man needs to be given a run in the 13 jersey that he occupies for his club. 5/10

Bench – Mostly went unused. Those that did come on did manage to find the pace of the game and acquitted themselves well. 6/10

by Joe Large

25 thoughts on “June Internationals 2018: England Player Ratings 3rd Test

  1. Agree with most of the marks and comments. The lumbering Hughes is simply not worth his place. Our back row was far more effective when Wilson replaced him.
    And Youngs….well thats his usual standard. You get one good game out of six with Ben, which makes the decision to completely ignore Robson and give Spencer less than 10 minutes from the bench utterly inexplicable.
    Farrell a 7, for doing what exactly? Didnt make a break, put in a telling pass or kick, win a turnover or make a crucial defensive intervention. He’s glue all right – gumming up our play by being relentlessly ordinary.

  2. I commented on Farrell’s leadership last week and I want to do so again. His reaction to Cipriani’s kick (throwing his arms up in the air and turning away in disgust), is NOT a small matter. There are so many sub-conscious issues at play here:

    1) He should be chasing that kick hard! I can’t help but think he would have been after it had Ford been the kicker.

    2) Why was his first port of call to tell Cipriani off – before he even knew the outcome of the kick (!!!)…

    3) Can he operate in a team with big characters or is he going to surpress anyone he sees as a threat to his alpha position…?

    I understand that this could be seen as reading a lot into a little isolated incident but I truly feel that it gives a big insight into his character.

    My feeling is that he will stifle this team as captain and given his ‘group leadership’ position could well undermine our efforts towards RWC 19 as his place in the team is granted.

    I’d like to see him dropped, not rested, dropped for two games in the autumn.

    1. Not one to usually quote Jerry Guscott but he pointed out the issues with Farrell’s reaction. When Ford is 10, he is usually subordinate to Farrell at 12. However with Cips, Farrell finds himself outside a 10 who will take initiative and dictate play. It can’t be easy to adjust when Ford-Farrell have been playing together for nearly 2 years in a certain way. It looked bad but I’m sure Farrell will have accepted responsibility and the 2 can move on. Farrell, with Cips inside, will need to take on more of a traditional 12 role. Which then leads to the question, why is Farrell needed at 12 if we have a leader at 10.

      1. I got shot down for my comments about Farrell in an earlier post. I have seen nothing to make me alter my view that he is too petulant, headstrong and volatile to make a good captain. I think you hit the nail on the head SJ. He sees himself as an alpha male, which arguably ,you need to be in a game like rugby but the (controlled) aggression and testosterone should be directed against the opposition not your team mates.
        Cipriani has a bit of the same chipiness about him allied to his surpassing natural ability. Not something “Faz” is used to.

        1. In a way, all of the players should expect the highest standards of their own team. But that expectation shouldn’t come out in the form that it did with Farrell.
          I hope too much isn’t made of this; as stated I think it is an adjustment that Farrell will get used to.

        2. Acee
          Not shot down by me. See my comments to Andy. Farrell’s too widely elevated above his all round worth IMO. Robotic. Most value as a goal kicking points accumulator which may merit his inclusion, but otherwise too limited in innovation or invention.

  3. I cant fathom how a lad as big as Hughes struggles to make more yards after contact. Being driven back by Faf must have been humiliating and he’s surely suffered with a heavy fine. Another Teimana Harrison, flat-track bully – good in the prem., found out at international.
    For me, Marler, Curry and May were the standout performers, with the latter being player of the tour. May has really added to his electric pace, with a good kick chase and better defense.
    At the other end, Youngs and Slade were both poor…again! Young seems to get slower each game, killing any momentum and getting caught out picking from the base of the ruck before passing, a criminal offence as a SH. His box kicks were ok, one led to the try, but far too many couldn’t be contested.
    Slade has surely had his last chance at 13. He was anonymous, with the only memorable moment being burnt on the outside by Kriel leading up to their try. I know there are many JJ detractors on here who feel he doesn’t offer enough in attack, but at least he usually defends well, and England look better with him at 13. Slade did neither well, and Daly is surely in line for 13 at the AIs.
    A short cameo but also thought Wilson played well, brings something different to the backrow.

  4. The problem with Farrell is that England do not play him in his best position. His best rugby for his club has been at 10. Its here that he at his most assured, where he can dictate the play and his chronic inability to take the ball up isnt such an issue.
    As it is, we are lumbered with him due to his generally reliable goal kicking.

    1. Daly can take on the kicking role and will also make breaks with more speed and unpredictability. Put “Faz” at ten EJ and lets see hoe he performs for England.

  5. Mike Brown has been very good on this tour – reliable. Just look at his positioning to cut off Jess Kriels line break on Saturday. He may lack raw pace but he was precise and did the heavy work again. Necessary glue player to England’s foundations

    1. Totally agree Geraint.. How Farrell gets a 7 and Brown only a 5 is beyond me. His tackling and defensive work was excellent, he was looking for work all the time, is hard to bring down and good over the ball for a back. At least a 7, and confirmed for me why he should be one of the first names on the team sheet at full back. Not as sold on Curry as most people seem to be. He did some good things, but doesn’t make much impression in contact. Not sure why Alex thinks he ploughed a lonely furrow pro Allmand on here. Half the country would like to see his sort of abrasiveness given a fair go and have said so frequently.

      1. Andy
        Agree too. The sores for Brown & Farrell are beyond me. To reverse them would be more objective. Brown played pretty well, esp out of posi, to score his TRIES & Farrell’s main worth is as a goal kicker, maybe a defender, but a Barry John he ain’t. Indeed, he glues up the works @ times. Lacks innovation & TRIES.

  6. Nathan hasn’t played well at international level and not at Premiership level since 2015/16, he is also injured too often. I’m not banking on Vunipola being fit in November, I would have Ben Morgan return to the side with Sam Simmonds coming off the bench.

    1. Ben Morgan, Armand and Ewers. we need more big carriers across the back row. I fear Billy is becoming ever more fragile. The number of fractures he suffers is really something that needs looking at. I’m guessing the sarries fitness and nutrition boffins monitor the players but has anyone checked to see if he’s deficient in calcium or minerals?

  7. Not that i know much about the dark art of the forwards but surely a forwards coach can teach Hughes to lower his body angle when going into contact.
    Unless he can do that , he is a waste of space. Morgan would definitely be a better option or even Armand who i plough a lonely furrow for on here.
    Despite comments to the contrary i’m sure Tuilagi can make a return. 6 mths in the premiership is all he needs (in my books anyway) and he always was short of pace. A race track whippet he never was! A bulldozer he was!

    1. I don’t think anyone would be anti Tuilagi if he returns to full fitness, but if you are right and he needs six months game time to get there, the question has to be asked how likely is that to happen? In the past four years he has scarcely managed to string six games together, never mind six months. Hoping that he is going to be fit is extremely optimistic, and I agree with Jacob B that the same applies to Billy.

      1. It is not just a question of physical fitness either. He has missed most of four years skill development as well, and is hardly likely to have improved to become a more rounded player as Nonu and Basterau have through remaining largely uninjured.

        1. Tuilagi has just turned 27 so, if he can remain fit (big caveat) then he has time to improve his skill set to the level of Nonu and Basteraud. Nonu was known for his power most of his career, only in the latter stages did he become more well rounded. And Fat Basteraud has only the past year or so displayed more facets to his game.
          Tui put a good run of games together at the end of last season, hopefully a summer off will help his fitness.

      1. What kind?
        Pearl diving
        Harbour diving
        Or skuba diving?

        I’m guessing its harbour diving as he has prior form there.
        Please clarify without emojis, achronyms or other incomprehensibles.

        1. AlexD
          You got in 4 brother. Auckland Harbour diving of course. As I recall, it didn’t seem to help England though.

  8. Remember that Tuilagi played well in the latter part of this season for Tigers, had he not got a pec injury vs Wasps that disrupted his momentum he could have gone to South Africa but if he carries on this momentum from his performance at Sale through till the squad naming in October, he’ll be in that EPS.

    1. Thanks for the info.
      Being positive about a Tuilagi return can only be a good thing though alot of people remain sadly anti him!

  9. I would love to see Tui make a return to the England fold but, I can’t help thinking he needs to make a change to make it happen.
    As someone pointed out above, in the past four seasons he has barely managed six consecutive games. Maybe he needs to think about changing clubs and training environment?

    Whilst we’re waiting for Tui to string these games together, can we discuss the alternatives?

    I think Marchant would be a worthy addition to the EPS. A genuine centre (not converted fly-half!) with plenty of power, pace and decent in defence.
    Sam Hill had a good season for Chiefs and is another genuine centre with all the same attributes as Marchant.
    I would love to see one of these guys given a chance in the AIs. I would make Launchbury the captain and give Faz the 10 shirt with Hill or Marchant at 12 and Daly at 13. May, Nowell and Watson as the back three (provided they’re all fit and in form).

  10. Nathan Hughes has not been fully fit for 2 years. He should have been rested this Summer but keeps getting rushed back to cover for Billy. Looked like he was trying to protect his knee when caught off balance by FDK. Brown is a combative full back. Full stop. I am not convinced by Daly at full back, but playing as winger with licence to roam suits him. May was outstanding. Slade poor, which was disappointing as he’s a class act. Surprised Robson wasn’t given a chance particularly with Cips playing. Robson is the 9 who picks up the pace as he gets straight to the breakdown. Playing Robson and Cips would change the whole attacking philosophy. Not sure EJ is up for that. I don’t see Launchbury as captain. Not forceful enough.


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