RWC 2011: England Player Ratings v Argentina

1. Andrew Sheridan 6
Lots of puzzled looks from Andrew Sheridan due to questionable decisions do not deter from the fact that, on occasions, he didn’t play to the whistle at scrum time in the first half. He tightened up in the second but only after an ageing Argentinian front row had tired slightly. He should have been better.

2. Steve Thompson 7
A solid display from the London Wasps man. He managed to get over the gain line a couple of times and again showed he is still capable of leading from the front. However, he is one of the pack leaders and should have used his authority to settle the game more.

3. Dan Cole 4
I was sure that Martin Johnson had moved Dan Cole into the centres the amount of times the supposed prop was found there. One of his worst games in an England shirt and although he put up a fight in the scrum that was pretty much where it started and ended.

4. Louis Deacon 6
Performed favourably in the line out and tried his best to get the work done at the break down. However, at times he seemed lethargic and almost dragged his own performance down as a result of the rest of the team’s performance. He never really took the game by the scruff of its neck.

5. Courtney Lawes 5
All the physicality Courtney Lawes brings to the game seemed as if it didn’t count for much today. He rarely crossed the gain line when carrying and, in all honesty, was a hazard and very reckless, with the double knee to Ledesma’s head just one example. Needs work to control the frenzy.

6. Tom Croft 6
Performed admirably and carried well. He didn’t set the world alight but, in fairness, who did? Did his selection no damage though.

7. James Haskell 7
James Haskell is usually the type of back row player you see waiting in the centres trying, and usually failing, to burst through a gap, and today was no different. He did help disrupt the breakdown, turning over a couple of balls in the process, and although he does seem like the type of player who has white line fever at the halfway line, he does make yards. Should be playing Number 8 in my opinion.

8. Nick Easter 5
A quiet game. Usually Easter is the type to, much like Haskell, try and power through and eat up yards near the break down but there was none of that today. Did the work in the tackle area but not much more.

9. Richard Wigglesworth 5
Wigglesworth did what was expected, and no more. He failed to ignite the back line due to the slow ball he was providing but questioned Argentina’s back three with his kicking. Unlikely to challenge Ben Youngs for a starting spot.

10. Jonny Wilkinson 2
Where to start. I’ve been watching Jonny Wilkinson play since I was 11, which is over a decade, and I cannot think of a worse performance from the man who could have challenged God for his throne in his prime. His kicking was amateur at best and left me harking back to the days of Andy Goode. Were the posts camouflaged for him? It seemed like he refused to use Tindall, Tuilagi or any of the back three effectively, failing to find gaps and sending the attack sideways. I’m still shocked he finished the game. The only reason I haven’t given him a 1 is because the 11-year old Nick Winn would never forgive me.

11. Delon Armitage 5
For all the action he was involved in, Delon Armitage was pretty poor. Why he was so far away from Ben Foden during his break is a mystery even Morse couldn’t solve, and although he tried, his running lines seemed like they were about two seconds ahead of everyone else. The amount of times he had to slow down to receive the ball was embarrassing.

12. Mike Tindall 6
As a player, Mike Tindall did the basics well and tried to bring other players into the game. He had a solid game and isn’t likely to be usurped any time soon. But his leadership was severely lacking. Midway through the first half England needed someone to take ownership of the game, lead by example and actually give them a spine. Tindall failed. His score would have been 8 but he shirked his responsibilities.

13. Manu Tuilagi 7
For someone who has made such an impression in his first two outings, this was a surprisingly timid game from Tuilagi. His performance was affected by the lack of ball he had, but when he had it, he tried something. England tried using him as a dummy runner, and the only reason it didn’t work is because it was about as convincing as the acting on Hollyoaks. Not as effective as usual but he was due a quiet game.

14. Chris Ashton 6
Chris Ashton was given one chance in space today and that was in his own half and followed a bad pass. He tried getting involved as much as possible but had little to work with.

15. Ben Foden 7
A great break in the first half saw him follow up with a ridiculously long, and hopeless pass. He seemed to panic in space and could have simply stepped inside and passed to Wilkinson. However, he came into the game often and was constantly looking for opportunities.

16. Dylan Hartley 7
The Northampton skipper made a positive impact when he came on the pitch and is clearly eager to get his starting spot back.

17. Matt Stevens 7
Stevens now needs to be considered as a starter as, not only is his scrummaging strong, but he gets around the paddock and is more than handy at the breakdown.

18. Tom Palmer 7
Brought more physicality to the game when it was needed and helped boss the ruck a little more than Deacon.

19. Tom Wood
Not used

20. Ben Youngs 8
What a return for the Leicester man! Had an immediate effect on the match with quicker ball and some opportunistic sniping around the rucks and mauls. Took his try well, perfectly fooling Argentina. God help us if he is injured.

21. Toby Flood
Not used

22. Matt Banahan
Not used (thank god).

By Nick Winn

16 thoughts on “RWC 2011: England Player Ratings v Argentina

  1. I think most of these ratings are fair. It’s a shame you haven’t rated the referee, because that would have been interesting. I am slightly biased, being English, I’ll grant you that. Most of the desicions he gave against us were correct, but when Argentina start committing the same offences, should they not be punished in the same way.

    I’ve watched nearly every game so far, and the refereeing could not be more different from game to game. The only two ref’s I’ve seen who’ve try to let the game flow, are Steve Walsh, and Wayne Barnes. Most of the ref’s are quite happy to give no advantage to a team going forward with the ball when the other team infringes, but to just blow their whistle and give the penalty, thus slowing down the game.

    Rant over, I think MJ needs to think about who starts the next game. I think Stevens, Palmer and maybe even Simpson should get a start. It looks as though Lawes might miss the game anyway. So maybe Shaw and Palmer to start in the second row. Hopefull Moody will be fit, (so Easter can sit out, as all he did was agive away penatlies) and Haskell can start at 8. I persoanlly didn’t think Armitage looked comfortable on the wing. If Cueto is fit he will probably start, but maybe this is a game for Hape to start with Tindall, and put Tuilagi on the wing?

  2. Cole a 4?! Come off it, he was one of our better forwards.

    Kneejerk reaction to Wilkinson. Tough to do anything with Argentina spoiling ball all game

  3. Oh my good god man
    We won
    Don’t equate our players performances with the incredible dynamism the argies showed. Wilko an co all did well against a rugged hard hitting, committed and strong side. The up side is, we know we can play better. Question is will they be able to up the intensity and skill levels when they need too. Frankly, not many other assets in our locker have shown they have the ability to do that. Good for Johnno, wilko, Lawes and Cole. They got the kick up the ass they needed.

  4. We must have seen a different game. Or have a different perspective to how the games played.

    Argentina are a good side. They’re not quite the side of 4 years ago, but they are a physically demanding side. Our boys held their own and gave away silly penalties, but so did they.

    A few factors to think about. 10 players on World Cup debut, this hard hitting first game will be a good introduction, and a baptism of fire into the cauldron of a rugby world cup in the southern hemisphere.

    Onwards and upwards

  5. Lawes was splendid in a very tough game, he put himself about and as for his citing? Every Country has players diving in knees first and there is ne’er a mention until an Englishman does exactly the same.A tough win and without the Ball you can do virtually nothing except defend and pressurise.Cole took fingers in the eyes early kept his temper and got on with it.10 Debutantes now have a better idea of what faces them from here on in.

  6. How does Ashton get a 6? Made zero tackles, missed two, conceded a penalty, hardly went forward at all; dunno what’s happened to him since the Six Nations but on that form Banahan would’ve been a better option if only to occupy a slightly larger area of the pitch.

  7. Some glaring errors with your ratings. Dan Cole made more yards than Steve Thompson and Nick Easter put together. He also won 3 penalty attempts for Jonny in the scrum – 1 of which he actually got. He may have been sin-binned, but this aside, he was the pick of the front row. At least he chucked himself around!

    I also disagree with your description of Nick Easter. He wasn’t quiet, he was obviously crap. Consistently driven backwards, missing tackles, and giving away penalties. At one point, Cole took the ball in and Easter stood there watching. When Cole went to ground, Easter suddenly realised he was meant to ruck, so ran around to the Argentina side and got involved. Penalty, and utter stupidity.

    Unfortunately it was our senior players who let us down. I’d love to know what the missed tackle stats are for Tindall, Thompson and Easter. I lost count. There was no leadership from any of them.

  8. A few words on Wilko. He played terribly but is it not a telling sign that Flood was not brought on at all in the 80 minutes? Does Johnno have any faith in Toby left after his display against Wales? Also I think the stadium didn’t help Jonny. Not making excuses for him, but the noise reverberating and bouncing off the ceiling must have not helped his confidence after missing a couple. I don’t understand stadiums with rooves on. There is no reason for it, rain and wind is just part of the game in my eyes.

    Anyway, give Toby a run out against Romania, playing alongside Youngs. Shaw to start on bench, Crofts to move to lock and Wood to play on the flank. I don’t rate Deacon, he isn’t dynamic enough for me. Moody at 7, Haskell at 8 and Armitage too lightweight on that wing.

  9. Bit of “everyone hates us cos we are English” coming out it seems! I think the ratings were fair except for Cole who was 6 (held his own pretty well in the scrum) and maybe flattering Croft (sound in lineouts but nothing else). No good blaming the Argentinians for slowing it down, for we seem to have forgotten how to provide it agaiinst any opposition. Why do we insist on attacking a sides strongest part instead of their weakest – on form and given quick ball our backes can run rings round most sides. However we need to learn the off-load for one thing, and get out of this “win is a win” thing – that was not what lit up the Australia match last year!

  10. Manu not wholely involved in the game, wasn’t given good ball but always made yards and did some incredible clearing out the forwards should have been providing.

    In general I think England lacked aggression and speed to the breakdown. We have been banging on about not getting quick ball, so we overcommit to the breakdown against Ireland, then we under commit against Argentina and almost lose the game.

    But youngs clearly changed the game. Stevens, hartley and youngs are so much more dynamic. Just like Genia provides great ball for Australia, so does Youngs (and care) for England. He’s an important cog and I think we need him back in.

    Wilkinson had a very poor game, very odd. Shame we didn’t get to see Flood get game time, surely a Youngs, Flood and Manu leicester back line is going to provide creativity in the backs, they do it week in week out for club.

  11. I’d like to see Flood at fly-half and Wilko inside Centre with Mnau outside – something like the Wilko/Catt/Greenwood combo in 2003.

  12. I think we are not giving the Argies the credit they deserve, this wasn’t Namibia we were playing. Their pack is still a match for anybody, pumped up in the first game, they have guys who know all the trick and they could slow any team down at the breakdown.

    That saying things could have been better, I think giving any of the backs a rating on that day is hard as they didn’t get much quality ball to work with.

    Backrow is the main area of concern, we need to hit the rucks quicker and ge the ball out of there, but for that we need openside flankers which we haven’t got. Playing haskell and Easter in the same team is a luxury we can’t afford, I would like to see Woods, Fourie in the mix, they are better at the breakdown, Moody is a cert if fit.

    Give wilko another chance, lets not panic now. Youngs is key, his pace attracts attention so even if he doesn’t snipe he frees space up for the battering rams.

    Please oh lord no more forwards at first reciever, it is crap in every way, that is Wilkos job to dictate and tell them to get out of the way.

  13. We can;t have Fourie as he wasn’t taken. Our back row options are Easter, Haskell, Croft, Woods and Moody

    Given Moody is injured and will probably play no part, our options are limted. Would like to see Woods get on as I think he can do a job at open-side

    Forwards aren’t always crap at first receiver – look at Faletau. But if they are there, like him, they need to be coming onto the ball at full speed and just a little out from the rucks. Not standing in mid-field, receving the ball whilst static, trundling 2 feet and then falling over

    I think it will be interesting to see how Scotland get on against the Argies – it will give us a better measure of england’s performance

  14. Wilkos performance a product of whats directly ubsude of him. Sorry wiggyworth, a scrum half who takes 2 steps before passing puts the whole line under pressure. Even the adorable Gareth Cooper was quicker than wickerworks.

    As for back row, worrying, no gas, no real open side even with Moody. Just have to use what u have on offer. Woods is a must, Croft needs to be there, as does moody if fit. Harsh on Haskell.

    Anyway, these guys are the best we have in England, all of the squad are amazing players. They have to be to play at that level. None of us would manage it surely. So hats of to the fellas, let’s not be overly critical, let’s get behind them!

  15. I was looking for Dan Cole rugby blog when I found this site because I so wanted to express what a complete useless bearded wan7er he seems to be. Constantly enjoying a little jog around the pitch in an England shirt, I played in Somerset 3rd division and Dan Cole would not allowed to be the water bucket boy when I was skipper…………I’ve never seen a prop stand off so much from a ruck, does he think he’s a stand off?

    He limped in to one of the rare rucks he went in to against France, lost us the ball, gave a penalty, he wasn’t much different against Scotland, fucking useless bearded fat ginger lazy fucker.

    Many people criticise Martyn Johnson but my only criticism of him is why did you pick this useless fucking wanker?

    Made a tackle or two but then limply jogged around the pitch doing next to nothing like he thinks he’s the last line of defense rather than realising he’s a prop and should be up front.

    The only facet of his game which is positive is his scrumagging………………..I’d let him cook the pies for the under 9’s but little else.

    Shameful rubbish, can’t imagine why he was picked.

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