RWC Warm-Up: Wales Player Ratings v England

Morgan Stoddart: 7
Bad luck has been an unfortunate aspect of Stoddart’s career, with a series of career threatening injuries. A late addition to the Welsh starting line-up, he was confident and threatening on the ball, providing the assist for the opening Welsh score. Sadly a cruel leg break that ended his afternoon along with any World Cup hopes he may have had.

George North: 8
North has composure that belies his inexperience in professional rugby, with two well-taken scores. The opening try was a superb finish for a chance Wales looked to have potentially blown.

Jonathan Davies: 6
Gatland’s persistence with playing Davies at outside centre looked questionable again. The Scarlet’s lack of genuine pace was evident as he struggled to breach the English defence. A few inventive touches, but on the whole ineffective.

Jamie Roberts: 7
Made hay at the gain line, with several big carries over the game line. Wales however need Roberts’ to look for contact less.

Shane Williams: 6
Roamed around looking for opportunities to get involved in the game, but found little joy, other than the second Welsh try. Comedy moment when he ran sideways looking for a gap and ended up tripping over Roberts.

Rhys Priestland: 7
The 24-year-old justified his first start in test rugby with an assured display. After a cautious opening, Priestland impressed as the game broke-up. Now a World Cup certainty, due to his versatility.

Mike Phillips: 5
Arguably a victim of Wales’ failure to recycle ball quickly enough, but Phillips’ decision-making was questionable throughout, topped off with a hideously misjudged American Football style dive for the try line.

Paul James: 4
Totally outplayed by his English counterparts, a negative afternoon for James capped off by the non-tackle that allowed Manu Tullagi to cruise through for his try.

Huw Bennett: 5
Some good carries and accurate throwing in at the lineout, but faded as the game wore on.

Craig Mitchell: 4
Exeter-bound Mitchell’s lack of experience appeared to catch up with him, as he endured a miserable game. Smashed in the scrum and missed tackles galore.

Bradley Davies: 6
Probably the only Welsh forward to physically impose himself sufficiently, but as a consequence struggled to make significant inroads into the English defence.

Alun Wyn Jones: 5
Not powerful enough in contact, an anonymous figure for large stretches of the game. The Ospreys’ second-row display was only salvaged by his lineout jumping.

Dan Lydiate: 5
A quiet game for the Dragons’ flanker, proving to be unproductive as a ball carrier. But as ever an impressive work rate at the breakdown.

Sam Warburton: 6
Arguably weighed down by the pressures of captaincy, with a below par performance in the opening hour. However, as Wales began to move onto the front foot in the final quarter, the 22-year-old exploded into life, with a handful of clean breaks.

Toby Faletau: 5
Hot prospect Faletau struggled to find a footing in the game as Wales’s pick and go approach faltered, leaving him exposed to the big guns of England’s pack.

By Paul French

6 thoughts on “RWC Warm-Up: Wales Player Ratings v England

  1. I agree with you about Phillips and possibly the centre pairing, we need someone with some spark….yes Mr Henson!!

    As for the forwards disagree with Bennets rating the lineout was a big positive for us, agree with Mitchells rating we are suffering a lack of depth in that department and the fact the Ospreys let Mitchell go says alot for me but hopefully Gethin and Adam will be back soon enough.

    How did you conclude that North deserved a higher rating that Priestland?! Personally i’d have gone 8 for Priestland and 7 for North, yes North took his trys well but I think Priestland dealt with everything brilliantly.

    If anyone can explain why Gatland still chooses Mike Arriva Trains Phillips (slow and crap service…I did nick that off someone else) over Ritchie R I do not know, clearly Ritchie upset them all in Poland.

    I’d have given Lydiate 6 and Warburton 7, also would have given the 2nd row both 6 too!!

    1. @Scott – Strength in depth will nearly always be the problem when it comes to Wales. I think a lot of the lower ratings I handed out were as a result of the poor tactics used. The forwards I gave 5’s to suffered a lot from being out muscled in contact, something Wales sought far too often, until the final 20 or so minutes.

      As far as the centres go, strength in depth is a major problem, the lack of a quality out and out number thirteen, makes finding a balanced partnership before the world cup, look unlikely. The thought of Henson in a Welsh shirt makes me cringe now, an undoubted talent on his day, but there is no way he would be in the squad on merit.

      I thought North did everything that could have been expected of him, whereas Priestland’s game management was a bit suspect for most of the game. But both were undoubted positives.

  2. I know only the players that started the match were the only ones rated here (and for the record I think your ratings are almost spot on, perhaps Priestland deserved an 8 given he was moved to fly half minutes before the kick off) but I think Ryan Jones deserves a mention because I thought he did very well when he came on. Certainly looked sharper, more composed and solid in comparison to Faletau and did well for North’s second try. Encouraging peformance, hopefully in time for a good world cup

  3. These rating seem rather harsh to me

    Esp the forwards

    Huw Bennet 5? Carried well tackled well all game and missed one line out?

    Craig Mitchell 4?? Again carried and tackled all over the pitch and was far more impressive than his english counterpart corbisero (sorry for poor spelling) and his front row college of Paul James who to be fair was rubbish. Matt Stevens was the choice of the front rows.

  4. Paul,
    I was at the game and I agree with all your ratings. Seems fair to me. Our front row was weak as I expected and although Huw Benett had one of his better games he’s never going to set the world on fire with his performances. Preistland impressed me at 10 Warburton was very good for the last 20 mins, Scott Williams did well out considering he was out of position, Mike Phillips looked his usual slow, stodgy self. He still hasn’t found his Lions form and apart from one decent break in build up to our try he didn’t do much for his 61 minutes. Phillips just cannot give us quick ball and I wouldn’t start him in Cardiff next week.

  5. I think some of these scores are overly harsh on both sides, thought Priestland hand a good game.

    Faletau played himself out of the RWC, probably a race now between Powell and jones for starting position. Welsh front row was destroyed though.

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