RWC 2011: Wales Player Ratings v South Africa

15. James Hook – 7.5/10

Injected real purpose from the back, and coped manfully with the torrent of up-and-unders that rained down him. On the negative, he scuffed a few clearance kicks, was defensively liable for the opening try and cracked under the pressure of the late penalty that proved so costly.

14. George North – 6/10

Wales’s inability to get round the Springbok defence meant North was starved of ball out wide, and was left to contend with a few carries in the tight.

13. Jonathan Davies – 9/10

The Springboks simply couldn’t contain Davies at times. Equally as allusive as he was powerful. The only downside was his failure to combine with fellow centre Roberts, as a partnership.

12. Jamie Roberts – 8.5/10

Roberts’ crash ball runs into the guts of the South African defence were really something to behold, in an excellent all round showing from the Cardiff Blues player. Wales could have done with a little more variation than the over emphasis on physicality.

11. Shane Williams – 8/10

A very unconventional performance, Williams was essentially playing as a second scrum-half at times. In a game with little width the wing wizard injected so much momentum into the Welsh performance by taking so much initiative with little darts and offloads. Less influential as the game wore on, but crucial to the Welsh effort.

10. Rhys Priestland – 6/10

A lack of big match experience caught up with the Scarlets utility back. Poor decision making, including a handful of pointless kicks undermined some very nice touches, including the deft pass that saw Faletau crash over for the only Welsh try.

9. Mike Phillips – 9/10

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a man so psyched up for game. Phillips was in the face of the Boks from the off in a relentlessly energetic all round performance.

1. Paul James – 7/10

Coped with the Beast, Tendai Mtawarira, at scrum time, and was unfortunate to be on the wrong side of some lazy calls from referee Barnes.

2. Huw Bennett – 7.5/10

Made quite an impact in the loose, and threw almost faultlessly into a well functioning Welsh line out.

3. Adam Jones – 8/10

The tag “World Class Scrummager” was reaffirmed once again by Jones, who’s influence in the Welsh scrum was once again vital.

4. Luke Charteris – 8/10

Easily his best performance in a Welsh shirt, Charteris defied his critics by meeting the South African physical challenge front on, tackling himself into the ground. However he could have done with a few more carries.

5. Alun Wyn Jones – 8/10

This superb display defied his recent desperate lack of form, and cemented his credentials as the archetypal modern test second row. The Ospreys lock made the hard yards, in the Welsh boiler room, and was highly influential in keeping Wales on the front foot.

6. Dan Lydiate – 9/10

Demonstrated his excellent ball carrying ability alongside his normal epic work rate. A truly class all round showing from the blindside flanker.

7. Sam Warburton – 8/10
Slightly quieter with ball in hand, but his industrious work at the tackle area stifled the Boks time and time again, along with Lydiate out playing the enormously rated South African back row, at the breakdown.

8. Toby Faletau – 8/10
An indifferent first half followed by a gargantuan second forty minutes. The ‘fro may have been cut down, but the young Number Eight was just sensational as the game wore on, at times bursting through the opposition defence at will, and was rewarded with a well taken try.

By Paul French

22 thoughts on “RWC 2011: Wales Player Ratings v South Africa

  1. Harsh on Priestland who controlled the game well. Needed some creativity outside of him, which well as the centres played individually they simple provided no cutting edge in the red zone.

    I may be alone in this but I also think you are being overly nice to Hook. As a 15 I thought he was poor. He didn’t hit an angle in midfield, he messed up twice for the try and his general 15 play was poor. He did was hook does well, but as a 15 he was poor in my eyes.

    Desperately need him in midfield to add some creativity, to keep teams guessing. we lived in their half but showed no real penetration once we got inside their 22. A Priestland/Hook/Roberts midfield could do some real damage

  2. 9/10 for Jon Davies? Can’t have been watching the same game I was. Davies was quiet all game, offered little compared to the others in the Welsh backline and was totally eclipsed by Jamie Roberts’ outstanding performance.

    All in all a rubbish article with questionable ratings. 0/10 imho.

  3. Obviously not written by someone who has rugby knowledge.

    Paul James and the Beast are both loose heads and so do not scrum against each other!

    1. Sorry I’ve never pretended to be infallible. Writing rugby articles for free and holding down a full time job means I can’t be perfect.

  4. Jesus, those are hilariously ludicrous ratings. Either that or I must have missed Wales winning the match, by 20 points.

    I nearly stopped reading at Mike Phillips: 9 and Shane Williams: 8. Adam Jones an 8, he anchored the scrum well as usual and as usual, did nothing else.

    Add one or two to Priestland’s score though, he was very impressive.

    1. I try and give an objective opinion.But that said, what I consider a 9 could be purely subjective, in comparison to what you view as a 9, or any other authors.

    2. You can only rate players by how they did in these scenarios. Wales should ahve won comfortably, and I would suggest the problem was the selection (roberts and davies do not work as a centre partnership, no creativity). But when looked at individually many players had cracking games.

      Reviewing a match you would take into account everything, but when scoring players you can really only take into account how they played. Whilst I don’t agree with a number of Paul’s scoring (when doing my own scoring I think we only agree on 4 players), it is subjective and it does need to only consider the player, not the systems and the selection problems.

      I doubt Paul, when reviewing the game, would agree there are a number of Welsh problems that should be put to bed – but as far as I could see Wales were the better team for the majority of that match and the scores reflect that.

      1. Thanks Nick. I think that sums just how difficult rating individual players can be, within the wider context of a match.

        Yep, potentially Wales could have won by twenty points, other than what I believe to be two factors – Priestlands poor game management including countless wasted kicks and centres who are too similar, but individually excellent.

        And Wales were playing one of the supposed best teams in the world, with one of the best rated scrums.

        Having countlessly slated James and Adam Jones for doing very little in the loose over the last year, but really put themselves around a lot more yesterday, as much as I would expect from prop forwards at this level.

  5. I don’t really know the Welsh players that well but when I watched the game I was so wanting them to win against SA. However the player who I think didn’t play at all well was the halfback Phillips, he looked direcionless and his passing game is very slow, I thought the coach should have brought on the replacement near the end of the game to liven things up.

  6. These scores seem somewhat out of kilter to me as well – Wales did lose, for all that they played well

    Paul James and Adam Jones scrummed well but neither of them, and in particular Jones, looked match fit. I know it was a tough old game but both looked dead on their feet by the 60th minute

    Phillips had a good game in all the extras that he offers (he’s amost like having a 4th back-rower sometimes) but a relatively poor game for scrum-half basics. His pass was slow and his decision making could sometimes be measured in geological time scales. He was responsible for the turnover towards the end of the game, after Priestland’s superb kick into the corner, as he mucked around at the back of the ruck until the saffers came right through the middle and nicked the ball

    Hook is not a fullback and is wasted there. Some good catches but poor defensively and didn’t have the impact that he does from fly-half or centre

    Finally, ‘ickle Shane. His time has gone I’m afraid. Seems to have lost some pace and 90% of his “little darts and offloads” were utterly obvious and led to him being buried by a number of South Africans. Also left the gap in defense that led to the second SA try. Time for Ha’penny to start

  7. Paolo Adam Jones is short of match time and you are probably right about his match fitness though he did keep up in the Polish torture fitness regime. In fact lack of cover on the bench plus a far stronger SA bench contributed to the Welsh loss,Put it this way none of the front row were substituted at a time when could have done with fresh legs.

    On the marks where you start the scale is subjective as said who would you give a 10 to Carter maybe against the Lions in one of the 2005 tests (second one ?) Lomus against England World Cup 95 the “Beast” in the first Lions test 09 or was his performance down to the ref the same one who England got on the wrong side of this weekend.

    Anyway using the above scale the only 9 I’d consider giving is to Warburton hed have got a look in for a 10 if Wales had won .

    Priestland should be up a mark or so and Hook down a haf point he was the one who missed place kicks but more importantly went too high in the tackle to on SA first try.

    Lydiate played well but got on the wromg side of the ref too many times to get a 9 .

    Anyway thanks Paul for at least getting your views up there as a labour of love.

    1. Thanks Pontylad. In the future I’ll definitely keep the rating scoring in mind for the Samoa game. I’m not sure now if the ratings even properly convey the points about the players I was trying to make, with the benefit of hindsight.

      Lydiate only got pinged twice, so it would have been a tough call on the balance of things.

  8. This was the best I’ve seen Wales play since the great days of Gareth and CJR.
    Go wales. Go.

  9. Why didn’t the Welsh run more the Boks looked stuffed! That fullback may have beefed up but he was slow as and out of breath.
    This young Welsh team has a future.

    Ireland vs Aust x 4 tickets for sale, Catergory C , Section 311, behind the scoreline – at cost + the booking fee they charge us. In Auckland call or text 0212109317. ;-)

  10. This is a great young Welsh side. If they can keep the core of this team together for the next 4 years they will be serious contender’s foe 2015 World Cup. They need to play together more in big games. It was the lack of experience that cost them the game.
    Toby Faletau was sensational.
    Definitely 6 Nations champions for 2011/2012.

  11. Jonathan Davies (9) was poor and rarely in the game. Warburton ( only 8 ) was quite outstanding. You couldn’t possibly have watched the game.

  12. Phillips played well but his delivery is too slow, puts pressure on the 10 and stops back moves from developing.

    I don’t know his name but anybody who saw France/Japan will appreciate how quick ball can change the game. The Japonese scrum half was quick to move the ball, if he did so to the wrong place it wasn’t a biggie, they recycled and they went again, after several phases the french defense had a hole, and it is a good defense.

    Saying that Phillips does offer something else with his size and power, he did utilize that, and Wales benefit in different ways, every scrum half has a style.

    South Africa’s physical approach suited the Welsh middfield, They will need more guile against other teams, but the centres played well, can’t fault them in this match.

    To beat SA’s pack is enormous, I would have givent he whole pack a 10 just for that. You have to take into account the quality of the op when rating the players.
    Lets see this Welsh team move on from here and not get down on themselves.

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