RBS Six Nations 2012: England Player Ratings v Italy

15. Ben Foden – 5

A calamitous couple of errors before half-time put England in a tricky position. Normally so error-free, Foden picked himself up but this was far from his best performance as he missed a few high balls.

14. Chris Ashton – 6

Indiscipline for a needless push on Tobias Botes could have cost England if earlier kicks had been successful. Needs to come infield working for the ball more.

13. Brad Barritt – 7

Getting better the more time he seems to spend on the international stage. More big tackles, worked hard in attack.

12. Owen Farrell – 8

England’s star. Five pressure kicks in horrendous conditions, all successful. Blossoming at this level.

11. David Strettle – 6

Another good if not inspiring performance from the Saracen. Needs more from his midfield to start getting better opportunities.

10. Charlie Hodgson – 6

Another crucial charge down led to England’s only try of the game again for the second time in a week. Showed glimpses of his excellent passing game with Dickson’s arrival.

9. Ben Youngs – 5

Frustrating for both supporters and himself, Youngs failed to create the quick ball he so desperately wanted. Some wayward box kicks and moments of indecision marked him down significantly.

1. Alex Corbisiero – 7

Arguably his best game for his country. The London Irish prop got the best out of the scrum as the match went on, and made some eye-catching carries in the loose.

2. Dylan Hartley – 6

The lineout was a concern as Hartley and Palmer failed to secure possession at key moments. Also appeared to pop up at the scrum on a regular basis. Must improve.

3. Dan Cole – 7

A good shift at the scrum and plenty of tackles from the Leicester prop. More versatile than people give him credit for.

4. Mouritz Botha – 6

Hard to miss him with that scrum cap isn’t it? Another good effort from England’s current enforcer.

5. Tom Palmer – 7

Committed and coped well with the pressure at the lineout form Bortolami and co. Still essential to England at 32.

6. Tom Croft – 6

Better this week from Croft. Plenty of big tackles and some good runs, you cannot fault his work-rate.

7. Chris Robshaw – 7

Looks every inch an international player. Physical and committed, he put in a fair shift of tackles and helped rally a stunned England after half-time. Good leadership.

8. Phil Dowson – 6

Exploded into the match but was outdone physically on too many occasions. Morgan’s good performances from the bench didn’t help his cause.


Morgan and Dickson’s impact was crucial, turning up the tempo and putting England on the front foot. Good shifts from Webber and Parling.

by Ben Coles

21 thoughts on “RBS Six Nations 2012: England Player Ratings v Italy

  1. Doesn’t it just get more exciting with Lawes, Flood and Tuilagi all coming back into the mix for the Wales game? I hope we can compete with the Welsh and play more like we did 50 minutes plus against the Italians.

  2. These are pretty fair ratings I think, but with 6s, 7s and a couple of 8s, you’d really expect a much better overall performance from England. It was painful to watch (again), and there’s still no indication of what they are trying to do in attack.

    Yes they have two wins and the Grand Slam is (technically) still on, but Italy were pretty woeful and Scotland not much better the week before, so I can’t help feeling that Wales, France and Ireland are going to put 30 points past England.

    1. Really? Wales to put 30 points on England? The same nation that has once beaten England at Twickenham in 28 years. Sure they can possibly win but to think it will be a 30 point drubbing is deluded.

      Also the French haven’t stuck 30 points+ winning margin on us ever in the 6 nations, and the only team to do this was Ireland and that was away.

      It is very possible that England could go on and lose their remaining 3 games but to suggest that England are going to take a thrashing in any of them is ridiculous.

      1. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Wales score three or four tries at Twickenham, and with a few penalties as well, that’s 30 points. I didn’t mention winning margin, but England haven’t looked like scoring many tries.

        Hopefully the return of Tuilagi, Flood, Wood and Lawes will help…

        1. Wales may score three or four tries, but if you look at points difference in the table, they have also shipped 34 points in the first two games, suggesting that defensively they are not at their best. I think at home England will be a different animal. With a possible couple of additions the team will be stronger, and with confidence growing, we have the ability and belief to beat Wales, France and Ireland.

  3. Think you are far too generous to Youngs. He looked absolutely lost and everything was done at a snail’s pace

    The pack were winning decent ball only for him to stand there looking around in indecision.

    He no longer seems to try the little half-breaks which were such a feature of his play when he first came onto the scene

    I don’t know what playing for England does to scrummies, but its not good. Exactly the same happened with Danny Care. He burst onto the scene as an exciting scrum-half; was playing brilliantly at Quins, quick to get the ball out, making sniping runs. Then England got their hands on him and he became slow and indecisive, no longer playing with freedom and continually taking 2 or 3 steps before passing.

    Now its happened with Youngs as well.

    Dickson made an obvious difference when he came on. I can only hope he avoids the same fate as Care and Youngs, as England looked like an entirely different side with him and Morgan on the pitch.

    Morgan looks like a good choice as well. Surely they will be both starting vs Wales

    With any luck we will have Flood, Tuilagi and Lawes back for the Wales game. But then of course, how would you fit Flood and Tuilagi into the backline? Or would you?

  4. I thought England’s front row was excellent, standing up well to the scrummaging challenge, and actually carrying some ball around the park, which is great to see.

    Youngs had another shocker, Dowson was good, but Morgan made a big difference, so I’d start Dickson and Morgan next week.

    Tuilagi has to start if he’s fit, not so sure about Flood – how about Farrell to 10, Barritt 12 and Tuilagi 13?

    1. The starting 10 will be a hard choice against Wales. I would be tempted to play Farrell a 10. He’s used to playing there with Barritt outside him, and Tuilagi running off Barritts shoulder would be exciting. Hodgson has done some good work in the last couple of weeks, and still deserves at least a bench spot ahead of Flood. After the WC Flood needs to reprove his worth in the team. If it wasn’t for Care’s stupidity and Wigglesworth’s injury, I would’ve said the same about Youngs.

  5. IMO Youngs should only get a 3. And thats being generous as he was truly awful – again. Would also change Botha and Palmer round (7/6). Dowson had a very good game, but still think he’s better suited at 6 (would have him over Croft). Dickson has to start against Wales – we were a different team when he came on. To play Wales please:

    1. Corbisiero
    2. Hartley
    3. Cole
    4. Botha
    5. Palmer
    6. Robshaw
    7. Wood
    8. Morgan
    9. Dickson
    10. Farrell
    11. Strettle
    12. Barritt
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

    16. Webber
    17. Stevens (only because he can cover both sides)
    18. Lawes/Parling
    19. Dowson
    20. Simpson
    21. Flood
    22. Brown

  6. ‘Hartley appeared to pop up in the scrum on a regular basis’ – whats new? amazed the refs don’t pick up on it more, he constantly does it whether he is going forwards or backwards. the fact that a number of people were using the hash tag #popuphartley on twitter says it all!

  7. Another average performance and will be great to get Flood and Tuilagi back. I would personally just make a straight swap. Hodgson and Barrit out (bit unfair on both of them i know but they dont have the quality to play at international level IMO) and put flood and Tuilagi in. This is because both are the best in their positions and Farrel has been more influencial than Barrit. I personally believe that Barrit is a purely defensive player and lacks the brains and speed to play at the top

    1. Are you saying you would play Flood outside Hodgson? And leave both Barritt and Farrell out. Barritt has been one of our best players in the last two games. Tuilagi is great going forward, but Barritt is essential in defence. He has shown that he is not phased at this level, and should have been starting ahead of Hape or Tindall in the WC.Playing Flood at 12 would be a complete disaster as his tackling is dreadful. Roberts and Davies would run straight through him.

      1. No, he said he’d leave Hodgson out and keep Farell, going for a starting line up of Flood, Farrell, Tuilagi.

        1. My apologies. But I also think it would be harsh to leave Hodgson out simply because he is getting poor ball from Youngs. Not really his fault if the ball is taking an age to get to him.
          Lancaster has already said that Flood needs to earn his place back, and will not just walk in. Tuilagi though is a different matter. He is needed. But the line up of 10, 12 & 13 will be very interesting.
          I suspect he will only swap one of them, and most likely Barritt for Tuilagi with Barritt on the bench. Flood against Roberts and Davies is a scary thought.

  8. Fair enough marks I thought for the England team. Still a lot to work on but some glimpses at what could lay in store for England going forward. Assuming none of the likes of Tuilagi, Flood, Lawes or Wood are fit, England will improve by having Dickson and Morgan starting.

    Youngs is in a right funk. I think the last place he needs to be is in the England squad. He needs to take some time away and try and get his confidence and form back.

    Hartley and Palmer better get practising the lineout. It was a shambles at the weekend.

  9. Am i watching a different game? Farrell nudges all his kicks perfectly ok i accept that But his kicking from hand was woeful and he seems to offer nothing with ball in hand. Whilst i agree i cant ever see Barrit becoming a Nonu or a Roberts in attack i think hes been our best back in open play.

    In my opinion we need some form from Flood then we can play Flood, Barrit, Tuilagi

  10. I thought Hartley (scrum pop-ups aside) was worth 7, Botha and Palmer I had the other way around, Youngs I gave 4, Farrell and Barritt 7, Ashton 5

    Ashton looked a liability in Italy, as did Youngs. Foden, while he made that error and generally seemed to have a mare in the last 2 minutes of each half, did reasonably in the conditions I thought.

    Morgan, Dickson and Parling all added when they came on I thought, and if Lawes comes back as expected, I would be sorry to see him being the one jettisoned (even if I expect it).

    I really have no idea what to predict for Twickenham in a fortnight. Anything could happen, and I mean anything.

  11. I agree with Mark’s comments on players’ performance rating above. I also thought Strettle’s was more of a 7 and that Farrell is definitely not an 8, he is a great kicker but he has to show more in the centre than that to be rated this highly.

  12. Fair assesment i would say.

    Not a fan of Flood, i just dont think he has got the temperament or the vison when the pressure is on – Farrell has already shown he has the temperament, is excellent in defence, and its hardle his fault that shocking conditions and poor service to the back line from Youngs havent allowed him to shine in attack.

    Its a hard call over whether to drop Barrett for Tuilagi, Tuilagi offers more threat in attack, but Barrett doesnt deserve to be dropped.

    I have a feeling with better conditions and a home advantage we might all be presently suprised at the performance in 2 weeks – Although not pretty England have shown grit, determination, and played like a team to get the wins they have, and 2 victories like that does more for team spirit than any easy run out. Most importantly Lancaster and his team have shown a bit of brains in not panicking in Rome, and making the changes to get back into the game.

    Team i would like to see for Wales

    1. Corbisiero
    2. Hartley
    3. Cole
    4. Botha
    5. Lawes
    6. Robshaw
    7. Wood
    8. Morgan
    9. Dickson
    11. Strettle
    13. Tuilagi
    14. Ashton
    15. Foden

    16. Webber
    17. Stevens
    18. Palmer
    19. Croft
    20. Simpson
    21. Barrett
    22. Brown

    On a side not anyone see Cips for the rebels at the weekend, best perfomance he has put in for years, even making try saving tackles

  13. I agree that Farrell kicked very well – looks to have a lovely technique – but I’m not so sure that he’s a real force to be reckoned with in midfield. Tuilagi has both the physicality and the step and I can’t see Farrell being able to compete with him for that spot.

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