New Zealand v England second test preview: Head to head ratings


No.New ZealandRatingEnglandRating
1.Tony Woodcock – Had a torrid time at the hands of Wilson last weekend, and needs to be significantly better if New Zealand are to threaten at the scrums.6Joe Marler – A very strong outing in the first test. More of the same required.7.5
2.Dane Coles – Failed to make much of an influence last weekend, and was part of a lineout that was successfully targeted by England.7Rob Webber – Had an excellent first test that has seen him retain his place ahead of the returning Dylan Hartley. Needs to repay that faith.7.5
3.Owen Franks – Like his front row pals, it was not a game to remember for Franks last weekend. A bit of a surprise that he has been retained.6.5David Wilson – Brilliant at dismantling Woodcock last week, Wilson is rapidly becoming one of England’s most important players.7.5
4.Brodie Retallick – Will want to get his hands on the ball more often after making that rampaging break late on last week.8.5Joe Launchbury – Had a quiet game in the first test and looked suspect at the restart. Needs to be better this week.7.5
5.Sam Whitelock – Solid if unspectacular last weekend, Whitelock will hope to carry a bit more often this time around, if the game opens up.8Geoff Parling – Ran a superb linout last weekend and is clearly hugely influential to Lancaster, as he keeps his place ahead of Lawes.8
6.Liam Messam – A workman-like performance last weekend, but it was indicative of New Zealand’s struggles in possession that he didn’t get the chance to run more with the ball.8.5Tom Wood – Has a huge task ahead of him to replicate the impressive physicality that Haskell brought last weekend.7.5
7.Richie McCaw (c) – Another to have an unusually quiet performance at Eden Park. Will hope to have more influence over the breakdown this week.8Chris Robshaw (c) – A huge statement of intent last weekend, where he carried superbly and played his usual linkman role with aplomb.8
8.Jerome Kaino – One of the standout players last weekend, Kaino will look to terrorise the English defence .8.5Ben Morgan – Made some powerful bursts in the first test, and England need him to do more of the same this weekend.8
9.Aaron Smith – Was sublime last weekend, doing his best to keep the tempo up in attack and box kicked intelligently.8.5Danny Care – A massive boost to have him back in the team. Will boost England’s tempo in attack and is a huge threat in attack in his own right.8
10.Aaron Cruden – Showed a few signs of rustiness last weekend but also threw caution to the wind to tap the penalty that eventually led to the game-winning try.8Owen Farrell – Burns did brilliantly well to bring those outside him into the game in Auckland – Farrell needs to make sure he does the same.7
11.Julian Savea – One of the most lethal finishers in the world, Savea has pace and power in abundance. His duel with Tuilagi is simply mouthwatering.8.5Marland Yarde – Switched to the opposite flank this week, Yarde needs to try and get himself into the game more. Was solid last weekend, but nothing more.6.5
12.Ma’a Nonu – Had a shocker last weekend but is still one of the best centres in the world on his day. Cobwebs blown away, expect more tomorrow.8Billy Twelvetrees – Needs to repay the faith Lancaster has shown in him by dropping the excellent Kyle Eastmond. Time to step up.6.5
13.Conrad Smith – Knew where the space was last weekend to pop up for the all important try. Proved just what an intelligent player he is.8.5Luther Burrell – Had an exemplary Six Nations but will need to step it up another notch against what can be the best centre partnership in the world.8
14.Cory Jane – A fairly quiet game last time out, he’s another who will want to get his hands on the ball more often.7.5Manu Tuilagi – The big gamble. Will it work? Time will tell. There’s no doubt Tuilagi can cause havoc on the flank, but will he be able to adapt tactically in defence? You can be sure New Zealand will find out.7.5
15.Ben Smith – In his more preferred position of fullback, Smith will gladly run any wayward kicking back with interest.8.5Mike Brown – Didn’t quite click for him last weekend, but he still showed that incredible ability to always beat the first man. Will hope for more space in Dunedin.8.5


Nobody gave them a hope last weekend and yet England pushed the World Champions all the way with a partly second string team. This weekend, weirdly, their task seems even greater. The All Blacks will not be that bad again, and with a run out under their belts, will have blown the cobwebs away. They’ve opted for continuity, which is commendable, but their front five will have to perform much better at the set piece if they are to have a platform to play from.

There’s more pressure on England this weekend. They have their returning first choice players back, and people will be expecting them to match, if not better, the level of performance of their understudies in the first test. There’s no doubt the side has the quality to push the All Blacks all the way, but do they have the know how to get over that line? We’ll find out tomorrow, but I’d still expect a vastly improved to Kiwi side to make it two from two this weekend. New Zealand by 6.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

9 thoughts on “New Zealand v England second test preview: Head to head ratings

  1. Both excited and nervous about this weekend. It will be 11 years to the day that England last beat NZ – can they do it again?

    I really hope they can, just so all these comments about NZ being rusty are put to bed. HOnestly NZ make excuses if they lose and excuses if they don’t win by enough. Could it be that England forced some of these errors. Just hope they can keep the tempo of last week and yes – do a lot better at the restarts

  2. I know that this is a bit of fun, but I think you’re being a little harsh on England.

    You have increased Conrad Smith’s rating after last week, and reduced Launchbury and Yarde by a whole point (and Brown by a half).

    I know Conrad scored the try but even Jonny May would have scored that :-) and i’m not sure, despite his (justified) reputation that he did much else of note.

  3. I know ratings are always subjective – but what are they based on?

    I random mix of how well the played last week and historic ability? Obviously the ratings have changed from last week, but some players haven’t played last week…

    Just trying to get a feel as to how it is worked out.

    Honestly believe England by 5.

  4. I can only see the new Zealand preview, the England section isn’t visable, could this be down to using my iPhone?

    1. Yeah the width of the article isn’t always compatible with smart phones. I don’t want to sound condescending or anything as it was probably the first thing you tried but have you tried turning the phone sideways and reading the article landscape?
      Works on my Nexus.

  5. I agree, think this week will be a tougher ask than last where I think England surprised them.

    I really hope 36 has a good game as I honestly think this could be a problem area tomorrow – I dont think he plays as well as Eastmond there. Also Wood is a very good player but Haskell was everywhere last week and will take some replacing.

  6. Would also agree that you seem to have marked down those England players who didn’t have their best games last week but have marked the AB players on their track record, not last week’s performance. Consistency required.

    Probably reckon the England 8 have the edge but so do the AB backs.

    Would be interesting to mark the benches!

  7. Why not start the best second-row in the premiership in Courtney Lawes? Bring on the subs at half time, but for heaven’s sake not Youngs! It seems that the Sarries and Saints are being punished for playing in that recent club game at home. I just hope that Manu performs in defence and Mike Brown does not get crocked. There’s no defensive cover on the bench. Could be very interesting,

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