1. Alex Corbisiero – 6
Solid match from the London Irish man, albeit it a quiet one. Did what was expected but nothing more. However his performance did not cement his place in the starting 15.
2. Steve Thompson – 7
Staked a claim for the number 2 shirt yet again with a disruptive performance. Suitably wound up the Romanians and was helpful around the park. Not his best performance, however, but still slightly ahead of Hartley in the pecking order. Was noticeable when he left the field
3. Dan Cole – 6
Had a bit of trouble in the front row and seemed to lack his usual edge. Could have found another level but a sound performance none the less.
4. Louis Deacon – 7
This was Deacon’s chance to shine, but he appeared to be anonymous a lot of the time. His set piece was solid as usual however, but unlikely to have mounted a challenge to Courtney Lawes’ starting place
5. Tom Palmer – 8
Completely obliterated the Romanian lineout in the first 30 minutes and was more present than usual in open play. A rugged match and, although there were one or two errors, he is clearly eager to improve as the tournament moves on.
6. Tom Croft – 7
Helped Palmer in their demolition job of the Romania lineout but it’s fair to say he was a little quiet in open play. However he took his try well and did nothing to damage his selection.
7. Lewis Moody – 8
Committed as ever, Mad Dog was ever present in the first half. A few nervous moments when he went down, but save for a few bruised regions in his gentleman’s area, a good match from the captain. A bit more game time and he will be back to his best.
8. James Haskell – 7
Was again eager to put in the hard yards with ball in hand, and continues to justify his place in the starting line up. However (speaking as a scrum half) needs to protect Youngs more at the back of the scrum for clean ball, otherwise they will come unstuck against better teams.
9. Ben Youngs – 7
Not as many darting runs around the edges of rucks, except for his try, but was crucial in providing quick ball, which out England on the front foot. His confidence is continuing to grow but he needs to communicate with his pack more to tell them where to cover at the breakdown.
10. Jonny Wilkinson – 6
Bossed the game a lot more than he did against Argentina, but not a perfect performance. It’s not that he failed to put pace on the ball, but Flood managed to ignite the backline so much more. However, that is a little unfair and he should have been given another 20 minutes on the pitch.
11. Mark Cueto – 9
I said in my key clash preview that many eyes would be on Cueto, and he proved why he should be starting. He was so hungry for the ball and caused a threat when he looked for work in the middle of the pitch. It was almost as if he was reborn and thoroughly deserved his hat trick.
12. Mike Tindall – 6
He needed a big game to shut his critics up, but in many cases he failed to turn up. He did the basics well, but there were some crucial errors that need to be addressed, especially his passing, which denied England a try at one point. Good in defence but failed to show much dynamism.
13. Manu Tuilagi – 8
Some lovely angles and great defence, The Chief continues to impress. Always crossed the gain line and is now drawing players in to help find gaps for the back three. How did the English backline function without him?
14. Chris Ashton – 7
The swan-diving Northampton man was given the chance to show his scoring prowess, and took it with open arms. Stayed out wide a bit more than usual but always on the shoulder of one of the line-breakers when needed.
15. Ben Foden – 7
Didn’t really put a foot wrong all game and was happy to attack the gaps. Still England’s best choice at 15 and he remains unafraid to play what is in front of him.
16. Lee Mears – 5
A dodgy throw for his first lineout, unlikely to come between Hartley and Mears in the battle for the hooker’s shirt.
17. David Wilson – 6
First match in the World Cup but not much to say about Wilson, held on well in the scrum but will struggle against bigger teams.
18. Simon Shaw – 7
Simon Shaw is clearly a regular at the fountain of youth as he defies any conception of age and time. Unlikely to start but can add some grunt from the bench.
19. Tom Wood – 6
Did the quiet work at the break down well when he came on. Likely to remain a bench player however.
20. Richard Wigglesworth – 6
England’s pace seemed to drop when he came on and he took far too long on the ball at rucks. Shocking that Joe Simpson is not ahead of him in the pecking order.
21. Toby Flood – 8
Wilkinson put life into the backline, but Flood seemed to add to it when he came on. Clearly happy to work with Youngs inside and Tuilagi just a bit outside of him. Edging ahead of Wilko now.
22. Delon Armitage – 5
Failed to show why he should be ahead of Cueto. Great for the bench as he covers Centre, Wing and Full Back but his decision making needs work.
by Nick Winn