New Zealand v England second test: England player ratings


15. Mike Brown: 7
Whether his 71st minute score was a try or not, he did brilliantly to make it over the line and make the referee ask the question. Also had an important hand in Ashton’s late try, but was comprehensively outplayed by the sheer brilliance of his opposite number.

14. Manu Tuilagi: 7
Wasn’t found out defensively as many thought he would be, but his influence on the game was negated by being stuck out on the wing. His offload to the man outside in the final play shows why he must be moved back to centre next week.

13. Luther Burrell: 5
Four missed tackles including a crucial one on Nonu 10 metres out from the try line speaks of a poor day at the office for Burrell. Threatened on a couple of occasions with ball in hand, but couldn’t influence matters has he did in the Six Nations.

12. Billy Twelvetrees: 4.5
Needed a noteworthy performance, and he delivered – but sadly for the wrong reasons. There were too many unnecessary and inaccurate offloads, some poor kicking and three missed tackles. One classy break in the first half caught the eye, but the negatives outweighed the positives unfortunately.

11. Marland Yarde: 7
His best performance to date in an England shirt. Showed immense strength to shrug off the tackle of Richie McCaw for his try, and no little skill to loop a gorgeous pass over the top to Wood to start the move that led to his side’s last try. Did miss a few tackles, though.

10. Owen Farrell: 5.5
Not his best outing for his country. Gave away a couple of silly penalties, one of which led to a yellow card, and his kicking from hand was largely ineffective and allowed the brilliant Ben Smith time to run back. Also missed as many tackles as he made.

9. Danny Care: 5
Injected tempo well early on but his influence faded and ended up only carrying the ball once all game. Like his half-back partner, his kicking was inaccurate, too often either going straight out on the full or comfortably into the arms of the dangerous New Zealand back three.

1. Joe Marler: 6
Worked hard in the loose to make plenty of tackles, but his influence in the scrums was completely negated from last week, to the point where he gave away a costly penalty just before half time.

2. Rob Webber: 6.5
Like Marler, not the influential game of last weekend, but not a terrible one either. He is still one of the most accurate around with his lineout darts, but will nonetheless likely make way for Hartley next week.

3. David Wilson: 6.5
Worked unfeasibly hard to finish with 15 tackles, but again it seemed the All Blacks had done their homework at set-piece time as he wasn’t able to provide the platform that the rest of the team enjoyed the week previously. It hasn’t influenced his score here, but that kick was a thing of true beauty, too.

4. Joe Launchbury: 6
Starting to look tired at the end of a gruelling season. An impressive charge down in the first minute set the tone for the team, but thereafter his influence waned and he even, almost unthinkably, fell off a couple of tackles.

5. Geoff Parling: 8
England’s best performer – 21 tackles and two turnovers prove why Lancaster kept the faith with Parling. There were a couple of wobbles at the lineout towards the end, but nothing that can’t be ironed out before the next test.

6. Tom Wood: 6.5
A crucial source of lineout ball and a typically high work rate in the loose. Not quite the physicality that Haskell brought last weekend, but still an important shift.

7. Chris Robshaw: 6.5
Led from the front as always, but didn’t have as much control over the breakdown as in the first test as the All Blacks were allowed to play with the quick ball that they love so much. To his credit, he was one of only four starters to finish with a 100% tackle success rate.

8. Ben Morgan: 5.5
Nowhere near the power-packed performance that we saw in the first test. Wasn’t helped by a much shakier platform in front of him, but still would have hoped to return more metres with ball in hand.

Replacements: 7

Courtney Lawes, Dylan Hartley and Billy Vunipola all added some much needed physicality, and played better than the men they replaced. All three will likely start the third test. Kieron Brookes was afforded his first taste of international rugby but didn’t have time to influence things, and neither did Matt Mullan or Ben Youngs.

Chris Ashton showed his value to track the play well and pop up on Mike Brown’s inside shoulder to finish England’s final try, and at least had the decency not to put in a full ‘Ash Splash’, given the game was already lost.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

44 thoughts on “New Zealand v England second test: England player ratings

  1. Massively harsh on Twelvetrees. I’ve commented about this elsewhere – crazy slating of him IMO. I thought he was really good in the first half. His passing game really stretched NZ. He also wasn’t the only play to throw dodgy offloads. The Wood offload, which is the one that led to the try and sticks out in memory, also was not a crazy offload at all, just poorly executed. He drew in two tacklers brilliantly and got him arms free, only to execute the offload poorly.

    Whilst I still think he makes silly errors, most of them this week were whilst he was playing at 10 (a couple of stray kicks). He was certainly better than Burrell, who seems to have avoided too much attention in the media for his performance. Really poor stuff from him.

    I’d go Twelvetrees probably a 6 on balance of his performance, in that he was 7 first half IMO, but a 5 in the second.

    Next week I’d like to see him paired with Tuilagi, honestly still think that this is our best centre partnership.

    1. Not sure I was watching the same game as you, as Twelvetrees looked very poor to me. Given he’s supposed to be in the squad for his distribution and kicking skills, his dodgy passing/offloading and terrible kicking out of hand didn’t really float my boat. He’s currently just not consistent enough for this level of rugby, but gets a pass because of this cursed focus on a ‘second playmaker’, second only in raising my blood pressure to the drive for an ‘out and out 7’ (*vomits). This is the reason that 12T and Alex Goode keep getting picked for England ahead of superior players.

      Burrell had a poor game as well, by his standards, but worth noting he is playing out of position in one of the toughest defensive positions on the field. It was less noticeable in the 6N because we were always the better team and his attacking qualities overshadowed his defensive lapses, but when you’re chasing the game against the world’s best team it shows up more.

      If I’m honest, I’d probably drop both of them and give Eastmond another go at 12 (seems promising given his omission from the team v. Crusaders). But I’d be equally tempted to give Burrell/Tuilagi a go at some point, just to see if it works. Perhaps in the Autumn tests though, as I think it’s more important to win this game than experiment.

      1. If you see DanD’s comment below on 12Ts – my response would be along those lines.

        The back line functioned really poorly this week, and for some reason we are all blaming 12Ts/ Burrell was much worse, Care was really poor too. When you add in that our pack did not enjoy the dominance that it had last week, suddenly we get a good idea as to why our back line did not look too great.

        12Ts offers a passing game that stretches defenses. I want to see him play with Tuilagi. If we get good ball, we will see Tuilagi make loads of meters – just like 12Ts managed to get Burrell doing in the 6Ns.

  2. Sorry Jacob I have the opposite opinion on this! 12T for me was the stand-out disappointment, that one lovely break aside, he was ineffectual: missed tackles and made poor kicks and offloads- essentially conceding possession 4 times by my reckoning?
    Whilst he is not always bad by any means, he still hasn’t put in a ‘world-class’ performance, rather been consistently ok- a 6/7 out of 10 most of the time. I know Lancaster has invested a lot of game-time in him, but as they were questioning in the commentary- I think he remains the dream of the ideal 12 rather than actually being it.
    Maybe one last chance with Tuilagi at 13, but if it was me- would go with Eastmond and Tuilagi.
    Was also very disappointed with Wood this week- never thought I would be pushing for Haskell over him but we missed Haskell’s breakdown work (4 turnovers he was involved in I think 1st week?), been playing 7 for wasps and his jackelling and all-round speed has increased brilliantly. With Croft to come back next year, Wood is really going to have to raise his game.
    Also agree that some of our best players are looking a little tired- Brown and Launchbury especially. Maybe Launchbury on to the bench, Lawes starting, but not too fussed either way (looking forward to seeing Attwood/Slater go against the Crusaders- a fearsome combo. We have brilliant strength in depth at lock).
    Otherwise Hartley, Vunipola and Ashton to come in. Burns and Youngs if Farrell/Care don’t recover from their injuries.

  3. Keiran Brookes and Matt Mullan may not have influenced the result but by the 65th minute it was all but put to bed. What they did do however was prevent a possibly humiliating scoreline.
    When NZ get a 5m scrum, it’s usually followed by a try given they only have 7 defenders to beat. To win the penalty against the head was massive and if I was Robbo, I’d be ordering the entire squad to give them a high five there and then.

    I also don’t agree with the notion of the scoreline flattering us. We edged the first forty minutes, they dominated the next twenty five minutes scoring 22 points to our 3, then we dominated the final ten scoring 14 unanswered points. Over the full 80 that’s a fairly even performance and had we got our heads back into it and started our comeback just a couple of minutes earlier; we may just have had the time to clinch it.

    I’m gutted to have lost the series this way and to have not taken our chances better but at this stage last year, France’s aggregate score was 53-13 (ending 77-22), Ireland’s was 64-29 two years ago (ending 124-29). Ours is 48-42.
    Eight points, five points, one point, we’re improving with every game and with it we’ve emerged and overtaken the South Africans and Wallabies as New Zealand’s toughest rivals. And that’s excellent.

  4. Hugely harsh on 36. Watch the game again, with him in mind. He makes a scything break, some great passes, and works like a mule. He’s constantly baby sitting Burrell, covering Burrells misses at least three times, and he does the same for Farrell each time Nonu takes Farrell out. Burrell showed nothing in attack, and was absolutely worse in defence. 36 may get a bit too speculative, but he was working harder than any other back.

    Farrell had a dire game, how he can be ranked about 36 I don’t know. Terrible kicks (missed touch in the 75th minute from a penalty!), diabolical tackling (that 36 saved the day from), and really offered nothing in return. Harshly carded though.

    I want to see 36 at 12, when he has Burns inside of him, and Manu outside. Let him worry about being a 12, rather than having to be a 10, 12 and 13 at various times. Make it so he isn’t the sole source of creativity (and has that on his shoulders) and doesn’t have to be constantly shepherding others defensively. Amazing that he’s never had the chance to play with Manu at 13.

    Webber was immense also, he was pulled off before the heavy traffic came, but he was far and away our best weapon at clearing out on rucks. Hitting them like crazy. Not as effective as Youngs in the loose, but far better in the set piece, and potentially equalling Hartley in the set piece, whilst being better in the loose.

    Launch comes off to give Lawes a decent run out to stretch his legs, and suddenly everyone has the knives out, you’re not going to take Parling off whilst he’s running the lineout (if you don’t have to). Great chargedown, great offload, tackled almost as much as our flankers, even though they both got the full 80 and lived through the heavy traffic periods, just as involved at the breakdown, makes it across the full width of the pitch to get involved at times.

    Wood had a better game than Robshaw, more involved at key events, and Robshaw seems to struggle to clear people out of the ruck. Maybe only 0.5 in it, but Wood was the better of the two. Especially given Robshaw should have been right in Peypers ear about the ABs collapsing the maul in the 67th minute, since they were on a warning about interfering with mauls.

    Morgan was working hard, covering a lot of meters, especially as he got stamped on at one point. Not as impressive as before I agree, but I think the ABs targeted him a bit more.

    1. Massively agree with almost everything you’ve said here. You’ve given a better description of 12Ts game than I managed to so cheers for that!

      Burrell was woeful, and I’d drop him. Only thing I’d disagree with you on is Farrell – I’d keep him in. He can be more creative, but Saturday was not him best game.

      1. Right – the same Burns and Twelvetrees combination that has been tearing up the Premiership with Gloucester this season?

        As much as anything else, their form this season doesn’t merit a place in the Saxons, let alone the senior squad. Burns was able to rise above this last week and put in a solid performance but Twelvetrees showed nothing this time around to indicate he’s recovered from Gloucester’s diabolical season.

        Burrell is a far more effective 12 than Twelvetrees, and should get a chance in his actual position for England. Twelvetrees will probably start in the third test (should be Eastmond) but if he doesn’t improve drastically it’s time to look elsewhere.

        Anyway, we’re probably going to end up at some point with a midfield of Slammin’ Sam and Manu Tuilagi, so may as well get used to playing a big lad at 12!

        1. The Billy and Burns combo, that had Billy training to play at 10 at the majority of the games, whilst Burns sat on the bench due to diabolical form. The one where 36 is still being asked a hell of a lot of, whilst being behind a powderpuff pack. Yes, that combo.

          Burns showed that when his head is in place, he still knows what he’s doing, he’s not been kicking like that for almost 18 months now, but he was capable before. Something has clicked for him.

          Eastmond looked good in a game where the ABs never got into their attack like they did on Saturday, and he had Burns playing like a demon and nailing Nonu every time, and Manu in position at 13 as a wonderful safety blanket distribution option. They both made fantastic breaks.

          I want to see what 36 can do when he has a flyhalf capable of decent distribution, making his tackles, and having a more reliable boot, and a 13 that knows his positional work, and doesn’t simply flap at passers by. We’ve never seen 36 + Manu, give him that at least, even if you keep Farrell.

          1. In your last paragraph you’re describing exactly what we saw in the 6N. This week were unfortunate enough to see all 3 players have a bit of an off day. Neither Farrell, 1 2 or Burrell played too well on Saturday, but we still only lost by a point. In the time Farrell has had at 10, he’s made significant improvements in his distribution, flat attacking of the line, and game management. 12T has not had as much time for England, but the point is we are running out of time. We need a combo from 10 to 13 that can work together, create space outside them for the wingers and full back to score tries, and work defensively together as well. Farrell, Eastmond and Tuilagi is IMO the best combo we have based on form and ability.

            1. 36 was still having to be the creative force for Farrell in the 6N, and was still the better first receiver. Farrell is definitely improving though, even in this past test his distribution was much crisper (I hope it’s not coming at the expense of the rest of his game).

              And 36 was still having to cover Burrell in the 13 channel in the 6 nations, it’s just the opposition weren’t as effective at exploiting this.

              We have a fantastic 13 (albeit a bit greedy at times) in Manu Tuilagi. We have a 10 who has just stood up to the best team in the world, nailed all his kicks including some real tough ones (every time bisecting the posts) and not miss a single tackle on Nonu (even hunting him down at times).

              And we have a 12 who’s never had the chance to play on the international stage with them either side of him. People forget that 36 and Manu have never been paired in the centres together for England. Lets give it a chance, because 36 does a ton of work in defence, and in general. He also showed impressive footwork in his break.

              I think Eastmond is a real talent, and have thought for some time he may be the better 12 for England, but I don’t want to make that decision whilst another top prospect hasn’t enjoyed the same advantages to show off his game.

  5. With the third test now effectively a dead rubber am I alone in thinking Cipriani deserves a shot at redemption?

    Don’t get me wrong Farrell is good but he is prooving to be a liability, I haven’t seen the game from Saturday so cannot comment on his yellow card but in the 6 Nations I remember him being rash on more than one occasion and getting away with it plus his kicking ball from hand isn’t the best.

    1. It was a harsh yellow in my opinion. He tackled a player and tried to hold him up but an All Black got there and drove it forwards. When it went to ground, Farrell stayed over the ball.
      Thing is, when a carrier is held/supported by at least one member of each team, that’s a maul, in which case Farrell doesn’t have to roll away.

      1. The ball didn’t make it to the ground either, Farrell was under it. It had multiple people from each side, and stayed up for some time. Almost any NH ref would have called it a maul. Peyper kept quiet, and didn’t yell anything at all when it went down. Farrell was, reasonably enough, acting as though it was a maul and sticking to the ball. Very injust in my mind.

        Funny story though, apparently that isn’t something that SH refs would consider a maul (according to a kiwi), not sure why, and the kiwis certainly didn’t have that opinion when it came to Fekitoa, Barrett and Smith not releasing Johnny May last week, since they were all certain it was a maul, and there was no need for a release.

        1. I thought it was harsh. I think both Farrell and Robshaw were sure it was a maul, but as you say Peyper neither called ruck or maul, so how are the players supposed to know to roll away. Peyper needed to communicate better at the breakdown. I also didn’t hear him tell Farrell to roll away. Also seemed harsh when you see some of the things the Kiwi’s had got away with earlier in the game. Forward passes, obstructions all seemed fine.

  6. I agree with Jacob on Twelvetrees. I think the score is incredibly harsh.

    He showed moments of excellence, mixed with moments of shoddiness. Even so, I would give him a 6/6.5.

    He brings so much more to the team in providing an extra playmaker off the 9. This should count for much more once Tuilagi is back in at outside centre.

    1. I don’t think 36 was as harsh as this score shows, but I don’t think he is the only option for England. I think Eastmond is equally capable of putting players into space, but asks more questions of a defence himself.

      What is it that 36 does much better than any other alternatives? It seems for me he is “quite good” at a lot of things, but not “really good” at anything. Sometimes it’s ok for a team to have a player like that, but I think with the talent pool that England have to choose from, they could find someone better.

      That said, I would play him and Tuilagi in the centres for the 3rd test, with Eastmond on the bench. Although I heard somewhere that Care, Farrell, 36 and Burrell all picked up knocks so they might all miss out.

  7. Tom

    Have you looked up the IRB rankings lately? Just for some objectivity. This is a bit of an English weakness for me, perception over reality. England are competative, but they face a blackwash nxt Sat. If they can retrieve something from the series with a win, it may give some substance to yr words, but until then…?

    1. 2nd attempt.

      Whilst I don’t think we are clearly NZ’s closest rivals, I do think that referencing the IRB rankings is relevant. They are not always the most accurate thing in the world! Wales were ranked 9th the same year they won a grand slam, as one example.

      I’m sure if you ask any NZ player they will tell you that England are just as competitive to play against than either Australia or SA. The last time played the Aussies we beat them and we haven’t played SA since 2012. We ran them close then and are a much better side now.

      Based on that, I don’t think it was one-eyed to suggest we are we are among the best sides in the world. I still think we are a level below NZ, as are SA and Australia, but the gap in closing.

    2. We’re the only side to beat New Zealand since their world cup victory and the only side that has come within a point (let alone five) of beating them on home soil.
      Our last two games against them we’ve collectively lost by 6 points. Look at the 2013 quad nations and you’ll see that Australia lost by 18 and 11 points; South Africa by 14 and 11, and both of those sides had the advantage of a home fixture.
      Regardless of what the IRB rankings say, England have been the side to give New Zealand the most trouble over the last two years. Steve Hansen has said words to the same effect. Whether that’s because we up our game against the world’s best or something else, it’s hard to tell considering we’ve played only 1 game against the other two SANZAR nations in the past 18 months.
      I guess the rest of the year will tell us where we truly are.

  8. The author seems pretty down on England. A bit of scapegoating due the loss when perhaps expectation of the cav riding to the rescue didn’t quite materialise? And as another alludes to says here, poor Billy copped a bit again, when Farrell & Burrell exactly didn’t cover themselves with glory either.

    However, in the end, the score diff was only a pt, so the loss was better in those terms than in the 1st test. Therefore they team didn’t play that badly. The ABs did turn around a c. 60/40 terr/poss’n deficit into profit for this game tho. Not nec definative, but it helped & the 1/2 hr after 1/2 tine effectively ended the contest in terms of the likely winner.

    Therefore too much blood letting isn’t useful for England. Better to look at combos & & tactice for the nxt & last, game methinks.

  9. It is shocking how many of our key players had such a poor match (Care, Farrell, 12t, Burrell, even Launchbury). I am now torn between continuity and form. Eastmond and Tuilagi complimented each other well. 12t and Tuilagi is another untried partnership. As is Lawes and Parling. I know Geoff played well, but Lawes and Launchbury were such an effective partnership, that I still maintain it was wrong to split them up. I really do hope, though, that we get to see Billy and Manu in the same team. Still hoping and still believing that Eng can do it this weekend.

  10. I’m probably going to get lynched for this but I also think there’s a case to be made for resting Brown in the third test. He looked seriously knackered (and possibly concussed from being hit late off the ball early on). That’s the only possible explanation I can give for running away from Manu with a dead cert two on one try scoring opportunity which would have completely changed the game. He certainly looked off-colour for most of the rest of the game.

    I’m in no doubt he’s our best fullback and probably the starting 15 for the world cup. But we could usefully give Foden or Goode (preferably Foden as Goode still looks like a lost fly half) a run out as well. Even if Brown starts, I’d have Foden on the bench as having Ashton at 23 with no FB cover was a disaster waiting to happen if Brown got injured and had to be subbed off.

    1. Agree with you that Brown possibly took a bit of a knock. He seemed to have a funny 20 mins or so after that collision off the ball.

    2. I wouldn’t have any issues dropping Brown for the final test. I think he has struggled not only through fatigue, but also through being a marked man by NZ. Foden has never really had a bad game for England, just lost his place through injury and Brown’s remarkable form.

  11. Jacob

    You will always get isolated e.g.’s like the Wales 6N win; altho I can hear yr ‘saying’ that it was a series of wins to achieve their title. It’s not to denigrate that result to say thata team gets its hardest games @ home tho, it does favour them, surely.

    Yesterday they got clobbered by SA who are 4 places above them in the rankings. They may turn this around nxt Sat, but history says not… as do the rankings.

    I agree that games don’t always run according to these rankings, but teams aren’t based where they are by accident, or 1 off’s either. They reflect a consistency, or inconsistency however & teams who mostly win subsequently end up nr the top of the table & vice versa.

    England may be, to quote SL, ‘going in the right direction’, but the reality is that they’ve stayed at no 4 for a few yrs now. They need to change that posi & they’ll do it by winning consistantly v the SH & thus really close the gap’, in my humble.

    1. Really don’t think the rankings are a good reflection of form at all. Wales won a grand slam, not a one off game. Then were 9th later that year.

      The point is more, the rankings reflect not only your results, but who you are playing against. Therefore, the SH teams get more ranking points for playing eachother loads of times during the Rugby Championship, than say, England do for playing a 6 nations campaign. Therefore, it is always very difficult for a NH side to break into that top 3 in the rankings.

      Under SL, Englands win percentage is better than it has been for years. The only team that have not beaten under him is SA, whom we haven’t playing since 2012 (where we drew away in SA). Not really sure how that is not progress when compared to previous regimes.

  12. Mr B

    Agree. Cip should have started in series IMO. More skills, potential. Farrell tends to go off the boil e.g., goal kicking when the blow dryer is turned up & he gets into trouble too often i.e., yellow seems to be his fav new colour?

  13. Jacob

    Can’t see yr comment here, but presume it’s somewhere as it came up on my email, so, in response to yr ‘ghost’ blog;

    Well England (& others) do play the at least x 3 SH teams at home each yr. If they beat the lot then they should improve their standings.

    Also they could tour the SH yrly, bi annually, whatever, should also improve their game. Additionally the 6N could be reorg’ed on a H & A basis. More pts on offer.

    Gaps can be elastic too. They can expand (like a waistline) & can also contract (unlike a waistline).

    Agree in part tho, the IRB rankings are not absolutely definitive, but nor are they based on nothing.

    1. I’m not suggesting they are irrelevant, just that they should be taken with a pinch of salt.

      It is not realistic to play a 6 nations both home and away, nor is it for NH teams to visit the SH more often, the rugby calendar is too congested as it is.

      Also – that isn’t always the case that they play all 3 (of the top SH sides). Obviously they still have to win them, which to be fair, happens fairly regularly for England under SL. Certainly much better than the days when we would lose to all three by 20-30 points, which hasn’t happened against any SH side.

  14. Dear English Fans Please remember that playing rugby in the modern era has two levels one level is how the All Blacks and the Springboks play and the other is how the rest play including Australia,wales,France or Ireland.If you are Serious in beating the ALLBlacks and the Spring boks Physicality and Speed and skill matters.I belive England Can thrash the living day lites out of the All Blacks and the Spring Bocks and go on to win the world cup with this team

    1 Dan Cole
    2 Tom Youngs
    3 Alex Corbisiero

    4 Jeff Parling
    5 Sam Burgess

    6 James Haskell
    7 Steffon Armitage
    8 Billy Vunipola

    9 Danny Care
    10 Danny Cipriany

    11 Marland Yarde

    12 Many Tuilagi
    13 Kyle Eastmond

    14 Anthony Watson
    15 Mike Brown

  15. Jacob

    Well in the words of Mandy Rice-Davies, perhaps ‘(He) You would say that’, but if you want to take it with a pinch, that’s yr choice.

    However, the way the NH org their games is up to them & vice versa with the SH, but as you know, the SH travel up here each yr for England to have a crack @ them. Yes, they do have the odd win, but if they were gd enough they would beat them all @ ‘Fort Twick’ & THAT would shoot England onwards & upwards.

    That’s not to denigrate England & they have showed better than I’d supposed in NZ, however to say that the SH play yonks more games ain’t entirely true. The SH play x6 games now (incl Arg) in the RC, whereas the NH play x5 in the 6N. The 1 game adv is a small one, but is this not somewhat evened out by the prev mentioned fact that the SH travel AWAY to the NH for England to have a go @ them?

    Anyway, we’re unlikely to agree, but facts are still facts v perception in the end for me.

    Let’s see what happens Sat tho.

    1. When did I say that the NH play more games? I said the NH play against NZ. For example, NZ get more points for beating SA than England for for beating Scotland. That is how ranking points work.

      I am not suggesting that SH teams are not the best – I am saying that it is far more difficult to improve your ranking when you get less points for playing against lower ranked teams – which is what NH teams do.

      Does that make more sense now?

      As I said, they are not irrelevant, but they are not massively accurate. As has been mentioned many time, England has had far better results against NZ than anyone else since 2011. We haven’t lost by more than 8 points. There is no other team that has managed to consistently stay that close to NZ. Pair that with the fact we have drawn away at SA and beaten Australia – is it more relevant to point at the IRB rankings or look at the actual results?

      As I’ve said – they are not irrelevant, but they are also not anything to focus on.

  16. Abayaratne

    Don’t you just contradict yrself? Without ‘Physicality and Speed and skill’ IYO, does it matter what team England put out then?

  17. Tom

    England beat NZ @ Twick when the ABs had the squirts. Surely it devalued that win to some extent.

    The stats look gd, but not many of the UK press were, er, impressed with the last result. Reality is that that game over after 1/2 hr of the 2nd 1/2… incl according to the aforementioned.

  18. Jacob

    Looked back, but can’t find the ‘yonks’ word now. Some used did. Thought it as you. Apologies as don’t think you’d say it were so if you didn’t use the expression.

    I still think you undervalue the rankings tho. I agree that they’re not definitive, but nor are they irrelevant. And disagree that they are a ‘pinch of salt’ as teams have to earn their positions.

    Also, as prev stated, England get @ least 3 cracks @ the SH… @ home.

  19. Tom

    Regds Farrell ‘s card. ‘When it went to ground, Farrell stayed over the ball’. Ain’t that a ruck… & there4 a yellow/pen?

    1. Don it was a ruck because the ref determined it to be so, not just because it went to ground.

      I think that Tom’s point was that it could easily be determined by a different ref to have been a maul. A “collapsed” maul, at the point that it went to ground.

      Small margins between a scrum to England and a Penalty/one man advantage to New Zealand.

  20. If it had technically been a maul (according to IRB laws it is, but then most tackles are), even if it had gone to ground it would merely have been the end of the maul, not a ruck.

  21. Blub

    So was the ref was wrong then? And what does a ‘collapsed maul’ become when it hits the deck?


    And what does the ‘end of the maul, not a ruck’ become then when it’s on the ground?

    Surely not a maul on the ground… unless the ball is not on the ground, when I presume it’s still a maul?

    But surely refs know all this… unless they get their qual. badges from a lucky dip?

    I suppose I could revisit the rule bk, but all this seems a bit hair splitting to me.

    1. A ruck is only formed when two players are competing over the ball. So technically the ref was wrong. A maul was formed, then went to ground. NZ carried the ball in but then it was wrapped.

      By the letter of the law, it should have been and England scrum, hence Robshaw and Farrells frustrations.

      Not really worth mentioning, or whining about though. We lost the game fair and square, simple as that.

  22. Jacob

    I will have to look this up, because a lot of refs must get this wrong then.

    Is it only a maul when a ‘maul’ is called by the ref (I don’t tnink so)? And if so, when it sub. goes to ground, unless1 team or other can wrest the ball out, a scrum is awarded? But only if the ball is not on the deck?

    And if the ball is not visible? Oh dear.

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