RBS Six Nations 2011: England Player Ratings versus Scotland

15. Ben Foden – 7
Looked threatening. A couple of nice breaks, one up the right where the bounce was unlucky, another where he was caught by Paterson. Solid under the high ball.

14. Chris Ashton – 7
Couldn’t find the spaces, but kept on coming inside looking for work. One very dodgy offload in the tackle put England in a perilous position.

13. Mike Tindall – 6
Off at half-time, Tindall managed to get turned over and concede a penalty within the opening few minutes. Willing as always, but there must be better options?

12. Shontayne Hape – 6
Again unspectacular. His tackle rate was huge, probably the main reason behind him keeping his spot, but he did not break the line as expected, which is essentially his job. I still feel there is more to come from him though.

11. Mark Cueto – 7
Always probing and causing concern, Cueto’s hands were crucial in the build up to Croft’s try. Essential player.

10. Toby Flood – 6
Jonny made him look bad. Kicked at goal well with just the one miss, but hindered by a lack of depth from his runners, and couldn’t get England over the game line.

9. Ben Youngs – 6
Again, struggled. Clearly frustrated with the way the breakdown went after the game, and the way Scotland played negatively. It would seem their tactics worked.

1. Alex Corbisiero – 6
Growing into the role, played well in a dominant scrum. Would like to see him do more in the loose.

2. Dylan Hartley – 6
Solid. Efficient. Far from dynamic. Again, a good runner with the ball who we did not see enough of.

3. Dan Cole – 8
Hard to believe he’s only 23. Won numerous penalties at scrum-time, had a couple of enjoyable runs in the loose and won his first line out where he, and I quote, “sprang like a salmon.” Nice.

4. Louis Deacon – 8
Actually thought this was the best he has played. His style may not be attractive, but in these types of games it’s not needed. The main man at line out time.

5. Tom Palmer – 7
Was always going to be hard to follow up his exceptional performance against France. Gray and Kellock offered a stern challenge. In charge of the mauls which were very reliable.

6. Tom Wood – 6
Fine. Lots of quality back row work, and could have scored. Outshone by his fellow flanker though.

7. James Haskell – 8
Man of the Match? Sure. Loves a big run, and had plenty of them, including the key one when Ben Foden nearly went over. But would he be your first choice?

8. Nick Easter – 7
Thought his running game was excellent. Good break and offload at the start of the second half that sent Ashton into the 22, which was nearly finished by Wood. Mr Reliable.

Substitutes – 7
Wilkinson’s introduction changed the game. England were sharper, brighter, faster. He must start next week. Good work from the fresh heavies as well, Thompson, Doran-Jones, Shaw and of course the try scorer, Croft.

14 thoughts on “RBS Six Nations 2011: England Player Ratings versus Scotland

  1. Jonny “must start next week”? I’ve seen that written a few places and am flabbergasted. Flood didnt have his best game in front of a very powerful blitz defence bit has been superb before. One not superb game and he is dropped for Jesus?

    I’d stick with Flood, the man has proven to be a top class 10 who looks to be continually improving, one game aside.

  2. As much as I agree that Flood is becoming a top class number 10 and is getting better and better, Jonny created some seriously needed dynamism, and got the back line running from deep. In such a flat game, he started getting the team to make some noticeable dents. Even if Hape wasn’t breaking the game line, it certainly gave him a chance to run at the defense and draw them in for the wing break and try.

  3. hape tackled and tackled and was up against one of the best players in 6N, lamont.
    Last match he had the highest tackle count.

    Imagine if we did not have Hape playing throughout this tournament and had instead, say Barkeley (pre injury) or others.

    Otherthey hadn tackled less and allowed our line to be broken (ok Hape did once agaist Wales) would we be slagging Hape off so much?

    The midfield of International rugby is getting more like the M4 @ rush hour and if you dont have damn busters like Hape (SBW, Nonu, Mortlock, Jauzion, De Villers etc) then you suddenly find your defences broken.

    If someone can find a 12 who can tackle as well as Hape

  4. sorry sent that accidentally:

    hape tackled and tackled and was up against one of the best players in 6N, lamont.
    Last match Hape had the highest tackle count.

    Imagine if we did not have Hape playing throughout this tournament and had instead, say Barkeley (pre injury) or others.

    would others have tackled so well ? (ok Hape did allow one agaist Wales).
    If hape hadnt tackled so well, we be looking at some defeats and would we be slagging Hape off so much?

    The midfield of International rugby is getting more like the M4 @ rush hour and if you dont have damn busters like Hape (SBW, Nonu, Mortlock, Jauzion, De Villers etc) then you suddenly find your defences broken.

    If someone can find a 12 who can tackle as well as Hape,with ok hands, lets see the suggestions.

  5. Although the breakdown was the main problem area, I thought Youngs was poor, his pass was loopy and erratic and he put Flood in trouble several times. For me the reason Wilkinson looked good was because Care was providing him with better ball. He wasn’t running across trhe pitch, but simply firing it right where Jonny wanted it.

    Talk of Jonny starting instead of Flood is non-sensical I’m afraid. If it was Hodgson who had come on and done exactly the same stuff nobody would be mentioning it. His introduction did not ‘change the game’, that’s a massive exaggeration. Yes he played well but Flood has been at the very heart of a team who have won 4 out of 4. Only Marc Lievremont would consider changing him.

  6. Just to clarify my comment, Care wasn’t the only reason Wilkinson looked good but it certainly contributed. Both played very well but thought Care had at least as much of an impact as Wilkinson but because of who they are they get completely different write-ups in all the newspapers.

  7. Just reading back through you can tell I was pretty underwhelmed with how England played. Thought Care and Wilkinson really made the difference.

    Stuart, Flood has kicked brilliantly but you cannot deny that England kicked on massively with the arrival of Jonny. Just see his miss pass in the build up to Croft’s try. Is Care’s distribution that much better than Youngs? I don’t think so.

    And Lievremont would kill for someone like Jonny at 10!

  8. Jimmy, if only points were awarded based on tackle count. What else does Hape contribute? He is a long way from a rounded centre. Can’t argue that there are not a lot of options, especially as we have not given anyone else the opportunity in the last few months. But I would go with Allen instead of Hape.

    I would normally have Hodgson ahead of Care, but the latter did OK this week. Why is it that Hartley, Youngs and Flood only get to play 3/4 of a game, whereas Hape (for one) gets the full 80? Why not give someone like Allen 20 minutes to see what he can do? What exactly is the point of bringing on Care and Wilko for 20 minutes every week?

  9. I thought the game was well analysed from the coaches and bringing on Jonny to play deeper and Croft to take on the ball carrying was very astute. Flood was crowded out by a very quick Scottish defensive line and i assume that instead of just telling him to play deeper, they brought Wilkinson on because that’s his natural game. However, that’s also the game that had us really stagnating in the past when teams stopped rushing up in defence and just drifted onto all the deep runners. Hence why it’s great to have both options. The system worked, we should keep it that way.

    But the game was pretty rubbish overall!

    My favourite part of the coverage (aside from the crack fox (who sneaked into the announcer’s room after kick-off and started playing 90’s dance when points where scored)) was when Andy Robinson got in a huge flap about the referee stopping play when he was injured and Johnno giving him a disdainful look that said more about the two manager’s current confidence levels than anything.

  10. Uncle Mat – you are right, Hape isnt the complete centre, but is there one in world rugby at the moment?

    Conrad smith is getting there, him along side SBW would be deadly.

    I think the focus on 12/13 in modern rugby is getting over the gainline and stopping all traffic in the midfield. Im not sure Allen would consistently do either.

    Ive yet to see if Hape has a real footballers brain…i guess well see in ireland and the RWC

  11. Ben, Care’s distribution is normally not as good as Youngs but on Saturday it was better. For some reason Youngs’s passing was well below par. And agree that Wilko played better than Flood but you don’t change a position like fly half lightly and on the basis of one game.

    Spike, agree with your comments re fly half and credit to the coaches for making the change when they saw that it wasn’t working at half back. Sometimes it seems those changes are decided on the Wednesday evening and are done no matter what but they changed it earlier than normal and it worked. England still weren’t great after the changes but they were certaihly better.

    Haskell is becoming the player we hoped he would be 3 or 4 years back. Was not at all convinced he should be there but his performances have been right up there. Have been a supporter of Easter this season but the time may soon be upon us to make the change and give Haskell a run in the 8 shirt. Having said that a Grand Slam decider is not the time to do that and I doubt they will do it before the World Cup.

  12. Stuart – i agree that Haskell is better, no doubt.

    haskell is not an 8,nor will he be.

    he doesnt have the footballers brain to play there and that isnt something you can develop.Easter has it. Lol had it.

    Send haskell out there to smash anything that moves and run @ people. but dont give him to many decisions!

    I would be VERY nervous having haskell @ 8 in the world cup.

  13. Scotland basically killed the game as a spectacle. At every opportunity they slowed the game down, the 2 physio’s ran on even when there were no Scotland players calling for treatment. Flood, Foden, Ashton and the like need the game to flow through the phases, for the oppositions defence to be swrawling to be at their best. Boring Boring Scotland ! At least Ireland will have a go then the player ratings for the girls will be more accurate.

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