Six Nations 2018: England v Wales Match Rating



How did you enjoy the match today between England and Wales?

What were the highlights? Which players performed well?

What does each team need to work on ahead of next week?

Give the match a rating out of 10, and please share your thoughts in the comments below.

Rate the Match: England v Wales

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43 thoughts on “Six Nations 2018: England v Wales Match Rating

  1. Brown showed exactly why EJ keeps picking him. Launch proved that he is a world class second row who should have been on the Lions Tour. Farrell was pure class, Joseph showed that it does no harm to drop someone occasionally to motivate them, and Robshaw is surely driven by Duracell batteries. Nobody needs to work on anything for next week because it is a rest weekend. I enjoyed it hugely because it will shut the three Welshmen in the back row of the baritone section of my choir up for a few weeks.

  2. Disappointed with the result but not blaming the lack of halfpenny, the tmo or anything else. We took too long to get involved and just happy to have silenced them for 60min.

    A second bonus point protects our interests just need to clean sweep the rest securing another bonus point and hope Ireland take our England denying them the bonus point

  3. Best team won, Farrell was my man of the match, so tough and aggressive. Wales fluffed too many chances to deserve it. Enjoyed it as a tight and exasperating test match but not a classic

  4. Farrell was class and immense both offensively and defensively. May took his tries well. Wales were tenacious and did well away from home missing so many key players. I thought the TMO was right -Anscombe didn’t ground it and it clearly moves away from him. Overall a fair result but England need to cut out the penalties and convert possession and territory into points.

      1. Pablito, you’re on a downer mate. Farrell was excellent, no?

        Apart from maybe the last twenty, England’s control was really impressive.

        Robshaw going in the 80th like it was the 1st – remarkable.

      2. Farrell always misses tackles because of his speed out of the line and the fact he goes high and tries to dislodge the ball. Its all part of the game plan with flankers looking to pick up the scraps if he bounces off one (having slowed the player almost to a stop in the process)

        1. Yeah I saw that given as a reason somewhere else as well.
          It’s a justification that i can’t get onboard with – it seems to me an excuse for a poor part of Farrell’s game (and it always has been, he goes too high irrespective of where on the pitch he is making the tackle). I can’t believe missing tackles is part of England’s game plan.
          Whilst missing seven tackles against Wales might not lead to a loss, if he does that against the ABs they will not hesitate to take advantage

    1. Scrappy, come on, keep up. The whole world is agreed that was a try. have another look, this time with your specs on!

  5. Good game, thought Anscombe coming into 10 was excellent but England managed to hold on. Simmonds injury made the make shift back row even more so, thought Launch and Lawes really played their part in picking up the carrying deficit.

      1. Thank you for helping me avoid the “never satisfied” label Pablito. Lawes is not a 6 and never will be. The whole back row balance is still iffy. I agree with the majority re Robshaw, Launchers and Farrell but overall i think EJ will make changes before the next game, I certainly hope so.
        Another thing that conerned me is our seeming inabilty to run directly with men on the shoulder. Wales did it several times to good effect ,cutting through our defence quite easily at times. We still “crab” far too much,which again suggests the balance is wrong.
        Still and having said all that , a win is a win and all that .

  6. What a tense game, fearful wales would run away with it in the end.

    What has happened to the drop goal? Many times England were deep in wales territory and left with nothing. With wales disciplined at the break down and not looking likely to concede a penalty this should have been a tactic to turn to.

    Breathless game and well played wales considering the injuries plus losing halfpenny before kick off.

  7. Phew. Bit lucky there. I think it was a try.

    I know I am in no way convinced by Lawes at 6 but I thought he was very poor today, particularly in the second half. Enough with him playing at 6, it’s a failure and God knows why Jones can’t see that.

    Brown was superb and answered all his critics.

    1. Given that Jones is such a wily old campaigner it staggers me too. Armand and Ewers are not good enough apparently but you can’t tell me they would be less effective than Lawes,given that they play in the back row for a living? I fear that sooner or later this back row imbalance will cost us dearly. If so it will be twice as painful,given that it need not happen.

    2. Must admit I thought the grounding was ok, but it was actually knocked on. I didn’t notice at the time but follow up footage showed it hit Evans hand.

      So, incorrect reasoning but the TMO ended up at the right decision and that’s what matters.

      1. Agree there Jacob. Comes off hin knee initially but then the opposite hand comes across and the ball hits his finger, changing the angle of movement of the ball. Still not a try.

    3. What Lawes did well was not running directly at the tackler but hitting an outside/inside shoulder and drawing another player into the contact to support the tackler. He hit a lot of good lines which didn’t make any ground in the heavy traffic but allowed England to tie more players into the ruck and recycle quickly. Not the glamorous stuff but still important

  8. Superb game very hard to separate the two sides, but again England have shown how difficult they are to beat. Considering we had a lock at 6 and lost out No 8 i thought the pack did great and we were not hammered at the breakdown like many were concerned about. The fact we kept Wales to zero tries was excellent and ultimately we should have really put another 7 pointer on Wales with the posession in the 22 we had at times. Credit the discipline of Wales not to concede penalties with all that pressure!

  9. If Clive Woodward, Gareth Thomas & Johnny Wilkinson say it was a try that is good enough for me !. Stating the obvious but Wales lost it in the first 20 mins, far too slow out the blocks.

  10. I watched both games closely yesterday.The fact that Wales and Ireland only committed 5 peanalty offences together stretches credulity to breaking point.The lax interpretation of the rules both in the Pro 14 and the French top 14 (with the honourable exception of Owens) is the cause of this malaise.Two particular areas stand out, Firstly the back foot offside law needs to be applied much more rigourously,secondly the refusal of referees to ruthlessly apply the laws in relation to the tackler at the breakdown.
    At the start of this season a directive was sent out by the Premiership that there was to be zero tolerance of tacklers failing to move away from the contact area,in other words if you are on the wrong side its your fault and that’s the end of the matter.Susequently games have become faster and more entertaining.
    Old recidivist players such as myself are apt to hark back to our playing days when the sound of approaching hooves sent out a clear message to playerson the wrong side of the ball,the lucky ones got trodden on fingers ,the nutters got unceremoniously shoed out the back-harsh maybe,but there was certainty ,something that is definitely missing today.

  11. Slightly harsh comments’, i know, as English, we are prone to pessimism but we won a hard fought game. Of course there are back row issues, the injuries make that a certainty, but still think they gained parity, at worst, with the vaunted Welsh back 5. The pack as a whole provided good quick ball for the majority of game so, given those missing, deserve the credit for doing so – makeshift or not.

  12. Hmm. A bit disappointed tbh. With that start a bonus point win was on the cards, and England need to be more pragmatic. Wales’s “unbelievable” discipline in their 22 should have seen us try the odd drop goal to keep the score board ticking over. Not scoring for 60 minutes was poor.

    Wales were very good but really only came to life after England’s repeated but pointless visits to their 22 (hence why we should have dropped a goal or two), they also seemed to improve a lot when Anscome moved to 10. Personally I didn’t think the Anscome try was conclusive and subsequent analysis has shown that ball brushed the winger’s finger before his shin, so it was technically a knock on, although gratifying to see so many Welsh fans above not use this as an excuse, shame Gatland can’t be so honest.

    I would also point out that whilst England were poor in some passages of play Garces was extremely inconsistent, penalizing England for things that Wales were not. An 11 – 2 penalty count against England was a nonesence.

    England need to improve, and Jones needs to address his selections which are not helping, particularly in the backrow. Hughes looked decent in his cameo for Wasps, which should help, although Jones should get Jack Willis into camp asap after another MOTM performance With a view to capping him in the summer. A real talent at the breakdown.

  13. I think Wales did infringe in the second half, they just didn’t get pinged for it. Knowle gets pinged for lying on the tackler, then Wales do the exact same thing 3 times in a row without so much as a glance. Not criticising Wales, I thought their fight was immense. I think they will do the Irish….

    Anyway, the try that wasn’t/was… wasn’t and that’s that….it’s the TMO’s decision as influenced by the on field ref with his grading of the question and it works very well, so I agree with EJ, truculent bugger ain’t it he….bit like Browny. And I agree with him there too. Oustanding commitment, aggressive, totally focussed and never wavered….

    And I agree with earlier comment, the drop goal was a truly amazingly neglected option. I think the intensity narrowed the focus to seeking the try….I don’t think that will happen again.

  14. Excellent game, I have prosthetic fingers today as my chewing didn’t stop at my fingernails.

    I have to say I am salivating at taking on Scotland in a couple of weeks time as yet again their defensive live leaked like a sieve, if England keep attacking the way they did on Saturday and also defend half as well it could get embarrassing.

    As for Wales well done on turning up I have not enjoyed a defensive game of Rugby so much since Tonga V Georgia in World Cup 2015.

  15. I think we were lucky. I know to a certain extent you make your own luck, but to go 12-0 up so rapidly and yet at 70 mins still only be in the lead courtesy of a 50/50 call on a try and a frankly incredible tackle does not speak of a team that played well.

    We were second best at the scrum and they caused us problems in the lineout. Incidentally, with three locks on the pitch and a tactic of strategically kicking for touch, why the hell do we not attack their lineout more? It was the same last year vs Ireland where I don’t think we attacked a single lineout despite the Welsh causing havoc there when they beat them.

    Robshaw, Vunipola and Launchbury were excellent in the forwards (a shame Simmonds went off). Ford’s kicking was very good. Farrell was great in parts but miss 7 tackles against the ABs and we won’t be winning that game. May took his tries well and Brown answered all his critics. Underhill and Nowell looked good when they came on.

    Hartley, Cole, Care, Joseph and Watson were all ok. BTW does anyone think Care is reining in his natural attacking flair to prove to Jones that he can manage a game from the start ? We’ve seen little of his eye for a gap or even of him testing defences in either of the first two games.

    Itoje had a mediocre to poor game by his own very high standards and Lawes was not great as a flanker – the number of times he stood watching at second receiver whilst an England player got isolated at the breakdown and the Welsh slowed the ball up had me ever more annoyed. The team would be better with him on the bench rather than Kruis.
    Tempo visibly dropped when Wigglesworth came on.

    I guess the measure of this England team though is that they can play poorly and still find a way to win. That’s invaluable.

    Finally, thought Garces had a poor game. The breakdown was a mess with bodies laying all over the ball, advantage seemed to have no consistency, offside was barely policed and the scrums were a disaster. He needed to take control and didn’t. And the idea that Wales gave away just one penalisable offence is absurd.

    1. You’re right Garces had a mare underpinned by two incidents, telling England a ball was out and they could pick it up and when they did penalising them and his lack of control led to the rather ugly fracas.

    2. I agree with 90% of what you say Pablito…but…at 70 mins the score was 12-3, if the try had been given it’d have been 12-7 (assuming conversion was slotted), and final score 12-10. Chaos theory clearly entails that the game, and score, would actually have been different, but still…

      As I said, rest of it I agree with. Before the game I put up a of defence for Lawes at 6, given lack of ball carriers, but his (and Itoje’s) lack of impact rendered my argument there impotent. Why we let Wales have all their own lineout ball without competing is beyond me. Also, George didn’t do himself any favours with EJ regarding starting a test by missing his jumper early doors with Hartley off for HIA.

      I think we need Robshaw at 6, Underhill/Simmonds at 7 and Hughes (if he gets a start at Wasps this w/e) at 8. I have a huge man-crush on Itoje, but his form this 6N is well below his standard – on that basis I’d have Lawes and Launchbury at 2nd row.

      In the backs, Robson/Spencer in as 2nd SH – we are a high tempo team, Wiggo can’t deliver this. OC I have no idea if I am honest. If Hughes is starting probably stick with JJ…Nowell is next cab off the rank I guess…

  16. Agree with most of what Pablito says apart from Care being “OK”. I thought he gave our attack a pace at the breakdown from the start that you could argue that we have previously only had at the end of games when Youngs starts and Care comes on to inject pace. If he has been told to prove to Eddie that he is not just a finisher who can blame him for being a little more conservative. His box kicking was immaculate and he harried all over the field. Not sure if Wigglesworth deliberately lowered the pace when he came on or simply is not quick enough, but we have surely got to find another 9 before the WC. Garces had a stinker, his only redeeming feature being that he was not Poite. An11-2 penalty count was a joke. If Haskell is back from suspension I wonder if he will be in the frame for Scotland. Agree with Benjit that Jack Willis is phenomenal at the turnover and well worth a look. Hughes got a Scottish run out for Wasps but after four months out he cannot be match fit. I would revert to Haskell at 7, Robshaw at 6 Simmonds at 8 with Underhill on the bench, and give Itoje a rest. He looks as if he needs one. Brown shut up all his doubters for a while. I think Wales played just about as well as they could but still fell short. Without Webb,Biggar or Priestland they looked a bit short of direction at half back, and Davies did not kick at all well. I think they will struggle against Ireland and France.

    1. Jack Willis?

      I remember way back in the old days when Sam Underhill was the coming man. And Ben Curry, and Tom Curry, and Will Evans, even Will Fraser.

      Seems so long ago 😉

      1. I was reading about Sam Jones the other day, the Wasps flanker who was called up by England in 2016, but broke his leg doing judo training. He has been advised to retire at 27 apparently, which is very sad.

        1. That is very sad. He looked like a great prospect.

          I hope he gets a decent insurance payout – but I guess it will never be enough to make up for what might have been.

          A bit like Tom Rees or Harry Ellis for those of you who remember them – although they were further along the international road than Jones. Tom Rees in particular was a big loss

        2. Yes I thought about including Sam Jones as well but as my post was rather tongue in cheek, I thought I would leave him to one side in this context, as his is clearly a very unfortunate situation. Sad.

    1. You’re right Andy, slightly unfair on Care – his kicking in particular is immensely improved. I would just like to see him showing he can control a game without losing his dangerous attacking instincts.
      If it’s a case of one or the other, then I’d have him on the bench as he has been crucial there for England, scoring and setting up a number of tries towards the game’s end.
      We have scrum-halves who can manage a game – we only have one who can up the tempo and attack a tiring opposition like Care does.
      Fingers crossed that in the next game he puts both of those skills together! If he does, he’ll be well on the way to challenging A Smith for best scrum-half in the world.

      Am not sure I’d go for Haskell, don’t think his form has been near where it was when EJ first came onto the scene. From the options we have, I’d start Underhill. I thought his cameo from the bench was excellent. He made 13 tackles in his time on the pitch and hit rucks like there was no tomorrow, making a right nuisance of himself. I believe he was crucial in turning the ball over at the end for example. He’s fitter, faster and hungrier than Haskell and doesn’t lose out in the physicality stakes either.

      Assuming Simmonds is fit, I’d like to see Mercer on the bench, but don’t think we will.

      1. I would prefer not to have Haskell either Pablito, I don’t think he has been the same player since he injured his toe, but given that EJ seems keen to keep him in the squad it seems like a possibility and I would rather have him than Lawes particularly as Lawes is proving that he is a long way from a complete 6. I think two tyros to start is one too many and would put Underhill on the bench. Without Billy back row balance is a real problem. Your point about Care is a fair one but needs solving by finding someone else who injects real pace. I would love to see Harrison putting his hand up now that Young s is out for a few weeks and he should get plenty of game time.

        1. 6. Robshaw
          7. Underhill
          8. Haskell

          There you have a decent blend of experience and youth. Robshaw in his best position. Underhill I just think is awesome, and I see him as England’s official openside for the world cup. Hask can do a job at 8, he’s done it well before, brings a bit more physicality to the role than most, yes he’s not Vunipola but he can smash a few holes. Why not?

          1. Of the combos Jones may pick, that is probably my preferred one, assuming neither Simmonds or Hughes are fit and that Jones won’t consider Morgan

            I agree with you about Underhill, I think he’s got a lot more to come. That tackle showed he has a great eye for the game and a decent turn of speed as well – I hope he starts carrying a bit more.

            However, I’m not sure I wouldn’t prefer Simmonds at 7. His pace would be a real point of difference.

            Perhaps once all are fit the best combo would be Robshaw, Underhill, Vunipola with Simmonds covering across the back row from the bench – Mercer could be his understudy. That feels quite balanced.

              1. I like the look of that too but I think Willis will be putting pressure on the six shirt within a year, and have real concerns about BV getting injured so often. If someone could teach Hughes to carry into contact in a less upright position he would be a much more attractive alternative. The good thing is that there are a lot of quality young players now pushing through. Maybe Stuart Lancaster deserves some credit for organising an effective progression path.


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