RWC Warm-Up: England Player Ratings v Ireland

15. Ben Foden – 5

Tested and trialled to the limits by both the weather and the Irish defence, this was not the exciting Ben Foden we’ve come used to seeing. Must improve.

14. Chris Ashton – 6

His first run-out of the summer, England’s most precious asset didn’t live up the hype but worked hard, getting sin-binned in the process.

13. Manu Tuilagi – 8

His place is cemented. Lovely running in attack, a great try early on and break late in the first half, and combined well with Tindall in defence, notably on D’Arcy for a turnover. What a talent.

12. Mike Tindall (c) – 8

Looked at home, lovely kick through for Armitage’s try and lead by example in defence. An interesting option in the inside centre slot.

11. Mark Cueto – 5

Short-lived appearance due to injury after pulling up following going for an interception. Armitage filled his boots well.

10. Jonny Wilkinson – 6

Unusually erratic with the boot in open play, he did not look very street-smart feeding the blunt Irish attack. A scrappy drop goal attempt didn’t inspire confidence.

9. Richard Wigglesworth – 6

If Simpson and Youngs bring flair and pace to the 9 shirt, then Wiggy is the rock. Controlled kicking and passing game, he’s reliable, but that won’t win you a World Cup.

1. Andrew Sheridan – 8

Superb return to the fold marked by a crunching barge on Ferris in the opening minutes. His place was under threat from Corbisiero and he responded. When fit, still one of the best.

2. Steve Thompson – 7

Loves a scuffle Thommo, and seemed to relish the physicality of Flannery and the Irish pack. Has edged ahead of Hartley.

3.. Dan Cole – 7

Great again in the scrum, his appearance and technique far belie his age. Emerging as one of the best in the world in his position.

4. Louis Deacon – 6

Solid from Johnson and Wells favourite workhorse. Plenty of defensive grunt, he is there to be unflashy and do the dirty work.

5. Courtney Lawes – 5

Looked rusty, the error with a two-man overlap will be something he attempts to forget. Still an automatic starter?

6. Tom Croft – 7

Dynamic at the set piece and a menace in the loose, one of England’s key men and first names on the team sheet.

7. Hendre Fourie – 7

A bustling, bruising, brilliant 21 minutes before he had to be taken off with injury. His early charge had Ireland back-pedalling in the build-up to the try.

8. James Haskell – 7

Huge running from the Hask, no one will work harder. Just don’t tell him he played well.


Delon Armitage had the longest run-out, and took his try well whilst looking threatening on the left wing. Stevens looked good in the loose, while Flood was not given enough time in the centre to really impress.

17 thoughts on “RWC Warm-Up: England Player Ratings v Ireland

  1. Cueto is so slow, when he intercepted Reddan’s pass on england’s try line he didn’t even try and get passed the recovering scrum half. Any other international winger would at least try. Anyone think Armitage did enough to get a start on the wing over Cueto? Thought he had a really good performance.

    1. In Cueto’s defence, I’m pretty sure his calf strain had already occurred by the point of the intercept, which he defended well, however I think starting Delon would be the better choice, But what impact is cueto going to have coming off the bench?

      1. No impact its true. But surely you always pick your best team to start? Banahan would be a good bench impact player if he wasn’t rubbish. Maybe go back in time and pick sharples instead? Maybe Hape on the bench as manu can cover wing?

  2. Really don’t agree with this giving Foden just 5 out of 10, although maybe i’m being biased as a saints fan.
    Based on the conditions they were playing in, he did what he could, everyone knows he’s a running player, but there’s not a lot he could have done with the ball skimming around the floor & into touch, if he had tried to catch it or pick it up, 9/10 he’d have been tackled into touch and given possession back to Ireland or knocked it on.

  3. Have to agree with James here. How can Foden get the same score as Cueto, who has been completely ineffectual in every warm up game. I would much rather see Armitage start on the wing with Banahan on the bench. Then when teams are getting tired, bring on Banahan and send him on crash ball duty.

    And also a bit harsh to only give Wigglesworth a 6. I quote “If Simpson and Youngs bring flair and pace to the 9 shirt, then Wiggy is the rock. Controlled kicking and passing game, he’s reliable, but that won’t win you a World Cup”. All of these positive comments, but only gets a 6. And to say that reliable won’t win you a world cup, what would you call Wilkinson, if not reliable. He doesn’t have much flair or pace either. I thought Wiggy answered his critics superbly, looked much more comfortable with Wilko at 10 than he did with Flood.

    It seems clear now that unless Youngs is playing 9, there is no point starting with Flood, as he just doesn’t adapt to other scrum halves very well.

    1. dazza – agreed!

      did you see Cueto stop running when he got the intercept?

      he knew he didnt have the pace to get away!

      Squad looks solid.

      Im getting slighty concerned that the aussies now actually have a decent tight 5….

      1. I think Cuato couldn’t get away on the intercept due to his earlier calf strain, so is nothing to do with his lack of pace.

    1. thats easy, matt – thommo.

      What do you want your hooker to do? throw in the line out and push in the scrum.

      Thommo does the first well and the second extremely well.

      hes not as quick in the loose as he was, but ive not seen him go backwards.

      he also brings aggression and experience. he is also intimidating to look at!

      Hartley on the bench as thommo wont last the full 80

  4. Definitely Thompson to start. The other debate is Cole or Stevens to start? Do you have Stevens on the bench to cover bot? I’m sure if Sheridan stays fit he will be starting.

    1. as a back, i know nothing of the dark arts!

      thats said, ive always thought stevens looks solid in the scrum. watching Starries v leicester last season, stevens gave castro a beating @ scrum and he was only a few games in.

      so he can scrum.

      cole seems to lumber round the field and stevens seems to thunder round. stevens has better hands and is quicker.

      I also think he brings more intensity (point to prove etc) and is passionate as hell.

      Stevens is also a gifted singer.

      Id go with stevens but since cole is a leicester man, MJ will start with him methinks,

  5. Cool – i agree with both.

    A front row of Sheridan, Thompson, Stevens looks the goods. And with Corb, Hartley and Cole available too – very strong in the front row stocks.

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