Six Nations 2019: England Player Ratings Versus Italy

Billy Vunipola

Elliot Daly 8
Daly showed us more of what he brings and why he is above Mike Brown in the pecking order. A threat with ball in hand, and he put Jonny May over, finishing off a 2 on 1 that Brown might well have butchered.

Joe Cokanasiga 8
The Bath man is a great prospect for England, with raw pace and power to go with the talent. Raw is the word though, and he needs more game time and a sterner test before we get too carried away.

Manu Tuilagi 8
Would he have waltzed through a better defence quite so easily? Can we draw any conclusions about Manu from this game, given that Italy were frankly awful? There are still question marks over his defence, particularly in the 13 channel, and should probably revert to 12. Either way, it’s great to see him rampaging around Twickenham again.

Ben Te’o 6
Overshadowed by his midfield partner, and I’m not convinced that this is a partnership with any longevity. Some solid contributions, but looks more likely than Manu to give way to Slade.

Jonny May 7
Not quite as prominent as he has been in recent matches, but another solid showing that maintained his impressive strike rate.

Owen Farrell 7
He looked calm and assured at fly-half once again, but this was nothing like the Wales game, so I don’t think we really learned anything new.

Ben Youngs 7
Again, looked much more confident behind such a dominant forward pack, and an easy win should help confidence, but he’ll need to come through sterner tests before faith is fully restored.

Ellis Genge 8
The Italians have historically scrummaged well, but Genge held his own at loosehead, and put in some big hits in defence. Would you pick him over Ben Moon as Mako’s understudy?

Jamie George 9
A fine performance from England’s best hooker, particularly throwing that pass off his left hand for Tuilagi to score in the corner. It’s encouraging to see England’s forwards showing improved handling skills, rather than a wide move breaking down as soon as there’s a forward in the backline.

Kyle Sinckler 8
A similar contribution to Genge, with a powerful scrummaging performance and a few notable contributions in the loose. His temperament wasn’t tested this time.

Joe Launchbury 6
I thought Launchbury looked slightly slow and ponderous compared to his second row rivals Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje and George Kruis. Grafted admirably as usual, but is that enough in such a competitive position?

George Kruis 8
As well as running a flawless line out, Kruis deserves credit for the two charged-down kicks and seems very trustworthy in England’s engine room.

Brad Shields 7
It looked like a pretty easy afternoon at the breakdown for England, no doubt partly thanks to Shields, who is an effective operator at 6. Made his fair share of carries, more than his fair share of tackles and he looks likely to feature in the World Cup squad whatever happens.

Tom Curry 6
Another reasonable effort from Curry, although not quite as prominent as in other matches, and could get away with a quieter afternoon against such limited opposition.

Billy Vunipola 8
Looked a little more menacing this week, with a few big carries, and you get the sense that he’s finding his way back after all of his broken arms. There’s no decent back up in the squad, so Vunipola needs to stay fit.

It’s hard to mark the ‘finishers’ on the same scale, given their brief cameos in a game that was easily won by the time they arrived. It was good to see Dan Robson get 20 minutes and his passing looked sharp, Nathan Hughes made a couple of ineffective carries in his trademark bolt upright position, and everyone else was adequate.

6 thoughts on “Six Nations 2019: England Player Ratings Versus Italy

  1. Think it was a solid performance from most players though, as mentioned multiple times above, there will be sterner tests for these players.
    I really believe that Youngs is the weak link in this team. When he is on form, and his box kicking is on point, he looks useful but when not kicking he is ponderous. He does not get the ball away from the ruck quick enough, regularly taking a step or two with ball in hand, giving the oppo line time to fly up. Against Italy this didnt matter so much but it was telling against Wales with 3 charge downs on Farrell. Robson came on and, though it was later in the game, zipped passes from the base of the ruck and gave Ford a split second more on the ball.
    I really think Robson/Care are the way forward. Regardless of who has the best kick game (Youngs possible but Care and Robson aren’t far behind) the pace of delivery and decision making is key.

  2. Absolutely spot on Jake. Youngs pass is too slow at top level. How he merits a 7 is beyond me. Curry made 21 tackles before being subbed and deserved a better score, and I still don’t think Billy is anywhere near full throttle. Launch was as usual quietly effective, putting in a lot of tackles and organising the defence close to the ruck effectively. Watch a replay and you will see him constantly chivvying people into position. He would be one of the first names on my teamsheet. Daly was completely untested and although he looks good in attack I still have reservations about him at 15.

  3. I see what you are saying about Youngs and agree.

    I am a season ticket holder for Coventry RFC in The Championship and we have a similar problem, Tom Kessell whom we signed from Northampton tends to slow the game down to the point of near rigidity and box kicks where there is no need, our other scrum half Pete White always ups the intensity and moves the ball quicker into the forwards/backs.

    I am always one for having a bench that offers something different in places where impact is needed like at 8 a Simmonds to replace Vunipola, scrum half Robson to replace Care/Youngs, for me if your trailing in a close game and need to change the game plan they are their to try, with that being said they are professional enough to play a game plan and close it out if needed.

  4. On Joe Cockanasiga, lets not forget that he also scared the living daylights out of Australia in the Autumn.

  5. Hard to give anyone a low score as most do look good, or better, going fwd. However, they can only be marked on what they did do. Most scores seemed reasonable. I find it difficult to gauge them. I don’t particularly concentrate on individuals, unless they do something obviously outstanding or of note. Tui, Cocka were e.g.’s of this. Also Kruis for his ch downs, Shields for his brace, even Robbo for his svce & try, ltd as he was by time. Surprised Curry only got 6 like Launch, who seemed to suffer mark wise from being unspectacular. Teo generally got the thumbs down for also being unspectacular & blamed for lapses on ‘D’. Been noted already that the midfield doesn’t seem to accommodate 2 heavy weights (Italy excepted?), so BT for the chop? Slade & Tui nxt up? But who’s inside & outside? Daly better with fr foot pill, but as already stated here, untested on the back foot. Also, should he be inside Tui’s outside? Fantasy I suppose. Additionally, as Cocka got MotM, shouldn’t he have topped the ratings? He’ll face sterner tests on defence sure, but he didn’t last Sat, so he can only be marked on what he did going fwd. Interesting to see who starts v Scotland nxt Sat. Are Care, Robshaw, Brown, Morgan & Cipriani all finished? Don’t see a starter amongst them to face the Jocks & there’s little time left now before the big one. Prob Tui & Slade, usual pack & the rest as prev too. Cocka to start as well though? We’ll see.


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