RBS 6 Nations 2011: England Player Ratings versus Ireland

Ben Foden – 6
Couldn’t impose himself on the game and struggled to make any impact. Along with Ashton, he’d clearly been identified as a key threat.

Chris Ashton – 4
Ireland had him well-covered, and I think we saw what happens to England when the opposition work them out.

Matt Banahan – 4
Brian O’Driscoll opposite made him look very ordinary indeed, and I think Tindall’s leadership was missed in the midfield.

Shontayne Hape – 4
England’s midfield was bereft of ideas on how to live with Ireland, and a little more creativity at 12 would no go amiss. I don’t really remember him doing anything.

Mark Cueto – 6
Another who failed to make any real impact, and the Irish defence was just too good.

Toby Flood – 4
Appeared to be playing a little deeper and didn’t have such a good platform to work behind, but this was almost the opposite of the calm, composed Flood we saw against Wales.

Ben Youngs – 3
Oh dear. He really did look like a small boy out of his depth, and it was hard not to feel sorry for him. Got turned over a couple of times, and that sin-binning was just irritating.

Alex Corbisiero – 5
England’s expected supremacy up front didn’t materialise, and Corbisiero had a tough day at the office. Great experience for the future, but Sheridan will be back.

Dylan Hartley – 6
Threw well in slippery conditions, and did his best to cause problems in the loose, but the scrum wasn’t pretty.

Dan Cole – 6
Cole had a reasonable game, but presumbly needs to take some of the blame for England’s poor scrum against an unfancied Irish pack.

Louis Deacon – 4
Another fairly anonymous game, and as a relatively senior player in this England side, I would have liked to see him show a bit more leadership when it was clearly lacking.

Tom Palmer – 5
Only played for 25 minutes before his injury, so not easy to rate, and losing him probably did make a difference, thinking about some of the performances he’s put in over the last few weeks.

Tom Wood – 6
Outclassed by the Irish back row, but you could say that about nearly every player and his opposite man. Impressive work rate though.

James Haskell – 5
Also made to look ordinary by David Wallace opposite him, and England missed an out-and-out openside flanker. Moody would have relished this game a little more.

Nick Easter – 5
Tough day for the new captain as well, but leadership was certainly lacking. He should have got his troops together to regroup, but with no Plan B to turn to, what would he have said?

12 thoughts on “RBS 6 Nations 2011: England Player Ratings versus Ireland

  1. We were not ready for this game, and i don think its because of the personel (tindall aside).

    Lack of experience in big matches – it got to our key players didnt it!

    Ive always maintained that this young side will need matches like SA in the Autumn and this grand slam decider to show them what you need mentally to win pressure matches.

    The news papers this weekend were entirely negative (Stephen Jones – why are you so welsh and rubbish?) but im ok with England.

    Big lesson for youngs and flood, who will only get better as a result.

    Only real surprise for me was our scrum, wtf happened there? we lost any stability there and then.

    any props out there wish to comment!?

  2. Leadership was our biggest failure.

    We obviously set out with a game plan, and expected it to work, and yet when it didn’t who was there to rally the troops etc etc – NO ONE. For me, Easter ultimately proved that he is not just lucky to be in the team (in fact, for a veteran, he really should be dropped), but also that he should never be given the arm band again. He was constantly turned over, looked clueless most of the time, had no leadership over the troops etc etc. Youngs and Flood were also very poor. Youngs may be “inexperienced”, but he was a completely different player to the one in the AI’s. What has happened/changed? Flood however is not “inexperienced”, and to be fair has mainly been on excellent form lately, and a large part of that is because he’s been barking orders at his backline. Unfortunately, i just didn’t see that in the last 2 games! Again, whats happened/changed?

  3. Tommy – i hear you.

    nothings changed. big matches do that to young people.

    Youngs is only 22 yo, he needs to grow up tho!

    our scrum was dismantled, wtf happened!

  4. Blaming one player for Saturdays mess is very unfair.

    Easter was given no help by Flood, Shaw, Cueto, Haskell and Hartley, all of whom have wither Lions, RWC, HC Final or Captains experience. MJ had at least 6 others leaders on the pitch with him in 2003, all of whom stood up to be counted when it was needed. Similarly, although Im no fan of Hape and Bananaman, they cant be blamed for the quality of ball they were given and they lack of options this presented them with.

    Haskell again spent no time at the breakdown but stood with the backs – why?

    All in all an awful performance and the players and coaching staff need to take a long, hard look at themselves – it was a failure on every level.

  5. Sorry – I’m not just blaming one player, though i do feel that as captain Easter has to bear the brunt of it. Youngs and Flood were also to blame, as were other individual performances, however, as i said IMO lack of leadership was what undid us as a team – and as captain, you have to accept this responsibility and consquences. If you don’t, we end up with another Borthwick.

  6. Largely fair.

    This was the first good team performance England have come up against since South Africa. The manner in which Ireland played may have been a surprise, though most must have known they were capable of it, but the fact that England succumbed to them should not have been such a shock.

    As an side, having read the various articles on team of the tournament etc. i’ve noticed a tendency to dismiss a number of England players after the Ireland match. Instead players from teams such as Ireland and Italy, who were largely better in the latter stages have taken their place. This will always happen but I think it’s a shame for England, who were the best team in the tournament.

  7. 6. Croft
    7. Moody (c)
    8. Haskell

    12. Flutey
    13. ?

    Ahhhh i dunno. I’m babbling. Sorry. Ignore me :)

  8. @matt

    You cant drop Wood after the fantastic performances hes put in. Against Ireland it was Wood vs The Irish back row.

  9. And Just to repeat

    Tindall out for 12 weeks. Blessing in disguise. will it force Johnno to pick some more dynamism after Banahans shocking display against Ireland?

  10. Definitely agree Tindall out for 12 weeks is a blessing. We truly need a better option/s.

    With regard to Wood, yes it’s harsh on him and he’s done nothing wrong. But i still think the back row above offers a better balance. I thought Haskell again was the best performing loosey against Ireland. What he lacks in skill he makes up in determination and effort. Some of his tackles and hit ups were awesome.


  11. Re Haskell – that is all he offers though. There isn’t a rugby brain ticking away in there. He certainly isn’t an 8

    As an idea of an extremely mobile back row – Wood, Narraway, Croft

    All alternatively one with a bit of muscle and some brain – Wood, Robshaw, Croft

    Or completely out of left-field – Saull, Robshaw, Croft

    I ike the last of those. Saull, a traditional open-side scavenger and link-man. Robshaw the big man with a brain and captaincy experience and we all know what Croft offers

    ‘Course it depends on quins playing Robshaw at 8 more, but I can see them doing that or being asked to by England

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