Six Nations 2013 Wales v England: Wales player ratings

15. Leigh Halfpenny – 9
Scampered around to splendid effect, putting his head where sane humans would fear to put their feet in order to diffuse the dangers of probing chips and charging runners. Nerveless from the tee, rock solid under towering bombs and dangerous in attack, too. One misdirected clearance failed to blight a brilliant display.

14. Alex Cuthbert – 8½
A pair of predatory finishes was just the icing on a distinguished, mature showing from this burgeoning talent. Timely interventions in defence defined his dominance over opposite number Mike Brown, while less eye-catching carries epitomised his willingness to roll up sleeves at close quarters.

13. Jonathan Davies – 7
Centre was let off the hook when a calamitous midfield mix-up in opening three minutes opened a gaping gap for Manu Tuilagi. After his opposite number dropped that opportunity though, Davies grew into the game nicely. Left-foot option was important and one snaking break in the second half confirmed the significance of his strength. He knew to give his pass to Cuthbert early for the opening score as well.

12. Jamie Roberts – 8
With a mind free from the stress of university exams, the Lion finally found his snarl. There was one overcooked clearance and Mako Vunipola turned him over towards the end, but Roberts was exemplary elsewhere, even man-handling Tuilagi at some points. Judged running lines far better and found good gains because of that.

11. George North – 7½
Tore over Chris Ashton and was set for a scintillating score on the half-hour mark before Brown intervened. Popped up all over the park to provide real menace and topped the hosts’ metres-gained statistics. Hulking figure on the wing injects genuine panic during kick-chase as well – a really classy operator.

10. Dan Biggar – 7½
Quietly ubiquitous early on, the fly half fielded high balls and probed with punts during a harum-scarum start. He then took hold of proceedings admirably in the second half, although undeniably aided by the mismatch in front him. A sweet drop-goal that killed the game off could well be Biggar’s coming-of-age moment.

9. Mike Phillips – 8½
Tweaking his big-match temperament slightly, spiky Mike put aside petulant sledging to channel his aggression into a phenomenal all-round evening. Imposing and relentless, he helped his back row by tying in Tom Wood. Managed a turnover to go with a team-topping return of 13 tackles and 60 running metres – a figure boosted by one rampaging dart from a tap-penalty. Immense.

1. Gethin Jenkins – 7½
Conceded one scrum penalty but put in an incredibly tough 61 minute-shift against Dan Cole, grinding into England in the rucks and contributing significantly to game-winning set-piece. Got Steve Walsh well on side and extracted something truly special from his charges – great leadership to mark his 98th cap.

2. Richard Hibbard – 8
Monstrous strength was destructive in the front row and one missed lineout could not tarnish incredible effort in other areas. Hits with ferocious power and demonstrated the striking extent of his fitness – may have played his way into a trip Down Under.

3. Adam Jones – 9½
This veritable gem of a player was even more outstanding than usual. He truly terrorised Joe Marler to a humiliating degree, deciding the outcome of the match by transforming the scrum into a penalty factory. Also burrowed away after latching onto deft offloads from fellow forwards and notched up eight tackles.

4. Alun-Wyn Jones – 8
Rubber-stamping selection for a second Lions tour, Jones directed a bloody-minded operation up front from the toughest seat at the Millennium Stadium – the second-row boiler-house. A central figure as Wales bullied the tight exchanges, he also threw his weight around, passing out of contact and collecting the hardest yards.

5. Ian Evans – 7½
Flying off at break-neck speed, Evans’ industry to repel English carriers in the opening stages was astonishing and the unsung lock ending up third on the Welsh tackle count. Capped a very consistent tournament with muscular, unassuming quality throughout.

6. Sam Warburton – 8
Didn’t need the official captaincy to set the bar for his teammates and the glorious charge that led to Cuthbert’s decisive second will forever be an abiding image of this year’s competition. Unlucky to concede a pernickety penalty that gave England their only points, but that was engulfed by positive contributions, including lineout prowess, dirty work on the deck and impenetrable defence. Far more dynamic than opposite number Tom Croft.

7. Justin Tipuric – 9
Link man supreme, Tipuric turned in a career-defining shift as his tag-team partnership with Warburton flourished. A total pest on the floor who stayed just on the right side of the law, his handling, pace and decision-making with ball in hand beggared belief. Few Welshmen will ever forget how he picked off Brad Barritt and Brown for the final try.

8. Toby Faletau – 8
Scrambled well when Brown looked like stretching the hosts and cleared up to exemplify his composure in tight spaces, a trait that also allowed him beat four defenders – the most by a man in red. Intelligent positioning, fierce physicality and footballing skills were all in evidence as the occasion brought out some of Faletau’s best.

As he often does, Ken Owens starred as a substitute. It was his (possibly illegal) work on the floor that pre-empted Cuthbert’s first try and he joined the fray with huge enthusiasm. Likewise Paul James, who won a penalty from an out-of-sorts Cole. The rest had too little time, but fully deserved to take the field and soak up a triumphant atmosphere – especially Andrew Coombs, whose first international adventure has been an amazing one.

By Charlie Morgan

Follow Charlie on Twitter: @CharlieFelix

49 thoughts on “Six Nations 2013 Wales v England: Wales player ratings

  1. I would have given Jenkins an extra mark, demolishing your vaunted opponent in that manner is worth more than a 7.5, agree with all the others.

    Really think the coaching team deserve some serious credit. The Welsh started the campaign with players out of form, unfit, low on confidence and many key injuries. Incredible job in turning that around.

  2. I agree with Amathus, Tipuric should be 9.5. It was almost perfection. I’ve watched the line he took for the 2nd try about 6 times now and it was sheer class. Every international centre would have been proud of that.

    On Scrum V last night Shane Williams let slip that Warbs had actually been offered the captaincy but turned it down. Impressive focus from him. Twas great to see “captain crap” finally lead Wales to a win as well.

    The Mill Stadium Crowd – 10. I was there last year when we won the GS. I never thought I’d hear anything like it. I didn’t this time – I heard more. Unbelievable. Also a great night in Cardiff afterwards reminding me how great rugby is – nice chat with an England fan about Corbs/Morgan and the folly of playing 3 6s in a backrow against two 7s.

    1. Will never forget or be sick of watching the last try, from Warbs break through to Tipurics moment of genious, outwitting a wing and full back to put Cuthbert in – will always put a smile on my face – top draw rugby.

    2. Had a brilliant night Sat – best rugby venue in the World (my opinion only)had great banter with both Welsh and English – still nursing my head

  3. It pains me to say that it was one of the very few international matches I have ever watched where every player from one side played substantially better than their opposite number. I can’t think of one English player that came close.

    If Wales could convince Australia to play in white and get the Oz crowd to sing ‘swing low’ they would demolish them all on their own without the need for Lions from any other Home Nation. I know it was only one game but it was a magnificent performance inspired by wonderful supporters

  4. I hope the England management sit Tom Croft down in front of a video of Tipuric and point out how it is possible for a flanker to play like a back and yet still get involved in the rough stuff as well.

    BTW – plaudits for Adam Jones seem slightly exaggerated to me. Jenkins gave Cole more of a kicking than Jones gave Marler. In fact at a couple of scrums in the first half, both Hibberd and Jones were forced up and out – not that Walsh saw it that way.

    Sooner or later, Jones will come up against a ref who penalises binding on the arm and he’ll be in trouble. There was one glaring instance in the first half where he did pulled Marler immediately down by the arm

    So I’d take half a point off Jones and give it to Jenkins, but that’s quibbling really.

    Also thought Ian Evans was better than AWJ. Previously I’ve slated him for not offering much. I take it all back

    what does irritate me though is Warburton’s comments about beating England being better than winning a Grand Slam? Really? To my eyes, its this kind of parochial view that holds Wales back from truly challenging at the very top level.

    1. Roy, did Warbs really say that? I know he has been quoted as saying that this win was better than the GS but that was because it was a turnaround from a bad starting defeat, then 3 games away, then taking the title from the team that were playing for the GS. I don’t recall seeing him saying it was specifically just because it was England?

        1. I suppose it may have been ghost-written, but from his comment in the Telegraph

          “Despite it not being a Grand Slam, to beat England at home in the manner we did was more satisfying..”

          1. Pablito, I read that with the emphasis on “in the manner we did” rather than “England”. Perhaps people look for the old fashioned “as long as we beat the English!” thing now?

            Truth is we have moved on and now relish beating England for different reasons – they’re the 2nd best team in Europe after all! Seriously though whoever has beaten England in the last two champs has taken the title. England are the best paid, best resourced and best supported team in world rugby. For a nation with less men than England has rugby players it is fantastic to beat them.

    2. Don’t take every interview as black and white. After the abysmal Autumn and the low confidence which that brought, the first 30 mins against Ireland, Wales by many if not most feared the wooden spoon, to turn it around in a fairly short amount of time and not only challenge for the Six nations title – on the last day of the Championship against the favourites and then take them apart man by man and play that kind of rugby then possibly – not always about England Pablito – it would have been whoever we played – but it was England, it did stop the Grand Slam and Wales did win the Championship with no help from the Ref but by playing rugby – RUGBY was the winner this weekend and England fans and Teams were their and contributed superbly on and of the pitch. Cardiff was a fantastic place to be on Saturday night and a big part of that were the fantastic fans – both English and Welsh.

      1. Not an interview – his column in the DT. So in theory, his words – see above.

        I am not taking anything at all away from the Welsh in my comments. They played brilliantly

    3. Think you’ve misinterpreted Warburton’s comments. I took it as it was a bigger achievement given the run of form going into it, being written off and turning it around.

      1. winning any championship deciding game by 27 points has got to be massive. last year V france was 16-9

        1. Thanks for your comments, guys.

          Way I saw SW’s comments were that he was so chuffed with playing a more central role in the Championship — three full games.

          The mention of England is for context, rather than anything vindictive. That’s the sort of bloke he is.

      2. Fair enough, you may well be right.

        But I am quite sure that it being England who were beaten in such a manner makes it all the sweeter – for the fans if not the players!

  5. Just getting ny voice and hearing back after a tumultous three day weekend . I would agree that the atmosphere was more intense than in any of the recent Grand Slam deciders even the first against Ireland .Coupled with a seat hanging over Cuthbert’s corner and the English guy siting next to saying me that Wales were his second team halfway through the second half (well I didn;t laugh just about ) the perfect day out .

    To cap it all I had 4 English guests at home running around in white shirts so lots of good natured fun to be had when I got back home eventually though I did take them to the women’s game yesterday so they went back over the bridge with a win at least .

    Who cares about the individual players scores give the team as a whole a 10 for that performance just hypnotise them and convince them they are playing England at home for the Championship in every game and we will be sorted from here on in.

    Oh the glorious crazy roller coaster ride that is Welsh rugby !

  6. I think that I agree with the 10 for the team. They all played magnificently. Thought Parling was the one man to stand up in the English team, to compete favourably. Other than that we were outgunned all over the park.

    As for Owens, so what? We’ve benefited this 6N already from similar. Either the ref sees it or he doesn’t? Always said that luck evens out over the course of a season.

    1. I am praising Owens for his work, Staggy. All the better for him that the referee thought it was legal.

  7. If ever there was a need for a 10 it was tipuric. Immense, Vickery was glowing in praise on scrum V for giving the pass for 2nd try when prob couldve scored himself.

  8. Guys, get a bit of perspective. This Welsh team lost to Argentina just months ago and an off form Irish side racked 33 points against them in one half of a game! The team only ever bust a gut against England. They need to learn to play like they did on saturday against the likes of New Zealand or Wales will always be ranked a second tier side.

  9. please also note that although the English have a bigger population most (if not all) of the state schools play football rather than Rugby. It is only the public schools that play and they comprise about 6% of the school population so not much in it. Also, of the schools that play, the North waste their time with Rugby League!

    1. Chris, your population stats do not change my point – England have 2.5 million registered rugby players ( This is more players than there are males in Wales. So I stand by the point that for us to be competitive with them is something worth noting. For NZ to be world beaters is also amazing when you look at participation numbers. When you have a big pool you have more chance for cream to be discovered.

      Nobody is saying Wales are world beaters, we are saying that a) Wales played brilliantly on Saturday, better than they have played for a long time. So they’re worth a 9 at least. b) We’re the best team in Europe. Two championships on the trot, 1 loss in two campaigns, beat the IRB ranked top NH side home and away, etc.

      1. Your second paragraph is entirely correct Brighty. Now they need to kick on and prove their worth when the SH come calling.

        Some victories over the SH, home if not away, will set them up nicely in the run-up to RWC 2015

  10. Numbers are not everything! These people who “register” probably play Football and cricket too and decide not to pursue Rugby as it takes second place over soccer usually. New Zealand and Wales view Rugby as their primary sport and so although the base numbers are lower in these countries the resources are far more focussed on the sport compared to France and England. As you point out New Zealand have even fewer registered players than wales.They are world beaters as they aspire to beat the best.. they do not measure their success on beating a single team i.e England which seems to be the prevailing hangup in the welsh rugby playing psyche!

    1. Chris, I and many others have tried to explain here that beating England is not the be all and end all for us. Stop telling us what makes us excited! It’s very self centered of you to think that beating England is the only thing we care about. We’ve just won two titles on the trot. That makes me happier than a truckload of wins over England ever would.

      “the resources are far more focussed on the sport compared to France and England” -> what do you mean? England are acknowledged as the most well resourced rugby country in the world. Their international players are the highest paid with the biggest backup team in world rugby. Their U20s are acknowledged as a professionally run outfit. There is no lack of focus in England.

      Numbers are not everything but equally you cannot ignore them and just make stuff up based on your opinions. In plenty of the rugby heartlands of England it does not take 2nd place to football – conversely there are parts of Wales (I know this in Cardiff) where football takes precedence at both junior and senior level.

      Yes, we do seem to channel our resources better than England but that’s a point of pride (how else could we compete with them when we have such smaller resources?) rather than something to be dismissed.

      I’ve lost the point you’re making now, I just wanted to use some facts to backup my pride that our much smaller (compared to England) nation is ranked 5th in the world. We’re not obsessed with beating England but we couldn’t do anything about the fact that we needed to beat England this weekend to reclaim the title for the first time in 34 years. We were pretty stoked to do it against France last year as well and hopefully we can beat whoever it takes next year as well.

      1. I once read an interesting comparison on which rugby union spends the most per head on their players

        If I remember rightly Scotland came out well in front (I may not remember rightly)

          1. It’s a fair cop Pablito, you’ve got me there. I will however quote this from the same article “Again, it’s not great for England. They have comfortably the biggest playing pool of adult blokes”. So now we are into muddy territory – my original point was that England have more rugby players than Wales which this article agrees with. As you point out though, the less players you have the more you can spend per player. So then we should only have 15 players and then we’ll be the best with millions for each player! Japan should be amazing by now…

            The fact remains that the biggest pool of rugby players in the world exists in England. They have more pro sides full of more English registered players than any other country can match (and yet still they fill a team with half the world … ooops … joke! :-)). So for smaller nations to be competing with them is something to be proud of but that’s a subjective feeling – so I think it’s fair for me to say I’m proud of it and for you to say it’s nothing to be proud of and we both agree to disagree.

          2. I also love this bit of the article

            “And for Wales, with a playing pool less than a sixth the size of England, to have won twice as many Grand Slams over the last decade as their bitterest rivals seems either miraculous or scandalous, depending on which side of the border you live.”

  11. If that was the case then Chris we’d only end up with 1 win every 6N against England because thats the team we only care about beating.. apparently.

    It wouldn’t have mattered who was in front of us on Saturday. Wales were desperate to keep hold of the 6N, and given where they were at the begining of the championship they did pretty well.

    I’d much rather play England at the start of the championship so we can get passed all this “we only play against England” nonsense. It’s the usual diatribe thats is trotted out against any team that happens to beat the English in the last game because “Everybody loves to beat the English right?!”

    You are not the be all and end all of world rugby – and i personally would trade in beating the English for beating the SH teams.

  12. Guys, Its not about numbers its about culture. The English do not puport to be fanatical in terms of Rugby, the Welsh do. So do the Kiwis. The latter have fewer resources than the Welsh (as do ever nation by the looks of Pablitos figures (good call)) and yet they are the best in the world. That is because they do not become fixated on a particular team. You can dress it up as much as you want Brighty but the thread above demonstrates the euphoria of BEATING ENGLAND not of winning the a lacklustre 6 nations! Wales have not played well for months until Saturday. I doubt they will again until their next encounter with England! I just hope the Lions selectors dont get carried away by Saturdays result but instead look at the last 10 matches played. If the Lions are predominantly WElsh they will simply come up short unless the Ozzies start wearing white and speaking in English accents ha ha !! p.s 5 of the Welsh team originate from England including George North who is from Kings LYnn!

    1. Chris, you’re wrong. Working in the west country, going to Gloucs etc., I can tell you that there are parts of England as passionate about rugby as any parts of Wales. I also know some Englishmen who would be insulted if you told them that where they are from rugby is not supported with a passion and fervour to match the Welsh. Over England as a whole I agree with you, but in the rugby heartlands rugby does fine in England.

      I can’t see where in the above thread any fixation on beating the English is mentioned. You are wrong on that also. You can’t tell me which results are important to me – as a non-Welshman you are disqualified from telling me, a Welshman, what’s important to me and my countrymen.

      I also hope the selectors look across the last ten matches played. I want the Lions to win. I don’t think it’ll make a massive difference even when they do though – none of the B&I teams have put together a consistent run of quality.

      Wow, George North is from England. Imagine that. How did they keep that secret?

    2. Ok, all this nonsense about Englsih born players, look at the England line up, secondly it is not where you are born – i don’t know the answer but where are Norths, Cuthberts grand parents from, that is what matters – Lloyd George was born in England but was one of the proudest Welshman that lived. If a kitten was born in a kipper basket would it make him a Kipper.

  13. Anarky,

    Wales need to pull their fingure out then with the SH teams. I went to watch them against NZ and they were so in awe of the KIwis they physically looked terrified! this current Welsh team showed great spirit in the last world cup and earned the respect of the world as a result, they have not shown that resolve until Saturday so lets hope they can play like that from now on come what may..

  14. I love it Brighty – you can tell me what my countrymen think but I cant comment on yours! Just watch the local welsh news. I bet you they go on and on for at least until Saturday. I went to school with Tony Underwood and Rob Andrew (they were 5 years above me) so I am not saying we dont like Rugby (that was Barnard Castle North East England)but it is not ingrained in our culture like you guys. Come on mate get your Max Boyce album on and a daff on your swede and we will have a sing along like 97.2% of the population did on Saturday!!

      1. I think he’s actually quite funny. He went to school with some rugby players don’t you know! He also cannot read. “it is not ingrained in our culture like you guys” – Chris, please do pop along to the Glaws shed and tell them this. I’m sure they’d love to hear it.

        Chris, you’re half right about us going on and on about the win – we will, but because it makes us The Champions Of Europe, not because we beat them next door. It does add spice that it was England but that’s because England are a good team and they’ve only lost to us in the last two championships. If you don’t beat England at the mo then you don’t win the title. If you beat the team that’s heading for the Slam then it makes you happy, especially when it brings the title home.

        A “daff on my swede” … that’s funny.

        1. Brighty, maybe i should not take his schoolboy insults to heart. I actually felt embarressed by some of my so called Welsh supporters and the insults and racist comments thrown about on twitter and facebook, but maybe they met Chris and think every English men are the same ( which they are most definaetly not )

          1. Amathus, maybe we can find some common ground here with Chris as we can all agree that there are “some” welsh people for whom beating England at anything is the be all and end all.

            Just as there are some ignorant English men who think all of us Welsh men have Max Boyce records and daffs at home.

  15. Guys,

    I love the Welsh. I have lived here for 14 years and my wife is welsh. I hope they do go on to beat the best in the world but they gotta aim for the top that is my point and this year, when they got the chance to play the SH sides they came up short.The die hard rugby fanss do hate the English though it is a fact. Just watch Scrum 5!! Now at least can we have a Tom Jones number after three..My My my Deliala..guyS??

    1. We agree on something at least – we want Wales to go on and be the best in the world. A lofty ambition yes but, as many people have told me, if you’re not gonna aim for that then what is the point?

      “The die hard rugby fanss do hate the English though it is a fact. Just watch Scrum 5!! ” – I saw Vickery on there last night. He was having a great time and was graciously welcomed.

      Also, what’s a die hard fan? I have a Blues season ticket, I’m a WRU gold member, my wife says I am obsessed with rugby. So if I qualify as a “die hard” but don’t hate England is that enough of a rebuttal?

      I prefer Steve Mason.

    1. If we lynched every Englishman who crossed the bridge after England beat us then we’d be into genocide territory by now.

  16. Dear me. I feel a bit embarrassed to have contributed to Christ’s argument now that he seems to have reduced this to a kind of playground name-calling.

    My only purpose was to point out an interesting article and that stats cut both ways.

    Brighty and Amathus have been complete gents in all these threads and somehow managed to avoid even a little gloating – which given the kicking we got is nothing short of brilliant. Reckon I couldn’t have resisted if the tables were turned…

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