Wales v Tonga: Wales player ratings

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15. Leigh Halfpenny: 8
Enjoyed plenty of ball in hand and made inroads into Tongan territory almost every time he was called upon. He showcased his offloading ability when he set up Owen Williams for his score and his flawless positioning enabled him to claim every clearance.

14 George North: 7
It was another potent attacking display from the Welsh powerhouse. Skipped past and smashed his way through Tongan defenders on several occasions. Crashed over the line in the 69th minute, only to have the try disallowed for obstruction.

13. Owen Williams: 7
Williams picked some clever running angles to make some considerable inroads into the opposition’s defence. Showed a great turn of pace and a lot of confidence to score. He always looked threatening with the ball in hand and held his own in defence.

12. Ashley Beck: 6
Probed his way through the visiting defence with some mazy runs and his clever footwork enabled him to produce a stunning finish for his try. Stood tall in defence.

11. Hallam Amos: 6
We saw glimpses of the teenager’s capabilities. He proved that he is powerful and direct with the ball in hand and not shy in the contact. He stretched the visiting defence at several moments in the match. Touched down in the corner in the 46th minute but the TMO ruled that he had been forced into touch.

10. James Hook: 5
Looked very energetic in attack, his determination and urgency got the Welsh backline moving from the off. But he will be disappointed that Wales failed to convert so much second-half possession and territory into points. He lacked imagination in the final third and kicked poorly out of hand. Also made a terrible attempt at stopping Viliami Helu when he ran in Tonga’s only score.

9. Lloyd Williams: 6
Distributed crisply and much quicker than his predecessor. Tested the Tongan fringe defence and showed plenty of initiative, but not enough in the opposition’s 22. He was bullied by Teutau Moa in the first half and was a few times swallowed whole by the Tongan pack.

8. Ryan Jones: 7
Imposed himself early on. Carried with intent and to great effect when he took the direct route into the heart of the Tongan defence. He was a nuisance at the breakdown and made some valuable turnovers. But the Welsh captain failed to pay the Tongans the respect that they deserved when he consistently directed James Hook to the corner and Wales failed to register a single point after the 33rd minute. He will also be embarrassed by his laughable attempt at tackling Opeti Fonua which ended in him getting steamrolled.

7. Justin Tipuric: 7
His relentless work at the breakdown suffocated Tonga’s attempts at creating any quick and clean ball. But he was unable to prevent the opposition from doing the same and he was surprisingly anonymous with the ball in hand, when Wales were in need of some added attacking impetus.

6. Dan Lydiate: 6
He led the defensive charge and tackled tenaciously, as he always does. He was at the bottom of every ruck and did his best to disrupt Tongan ball. However, he also failed to prevent the visitors from doing the same.

5. Ian Evans: 8
It was an impressive outing from the Welsh giant. He was immense in the contact and thrived in the ferocious physicality of the match. He stood up and slowed down the Tongan runners, and made it tough for them to get the ball away from the contact area. He also made some huge carries and was a towering presence at the lineout.

4. Luke Charteris: 8
Charteris seemed determined to take on the Tongans by himself. He was gallant with the ball in hand and infallible at the lineout. The second row’s willingness to carry often provided Wales with a strong attacking platform and he deserved a try when he spilt it over the line in the 61st minute.

3. Rhodri Jones: 6
Jones gave another solid performance. He was very mobile and aggressive in defence and tackled with authority. The prop was once again robust in the scrum but quiet in loose and he is yet to carry to any effect in a Welsh shirt.

2. Ken Owens: 4
Struggled against the physicality of the Tongan pack. He rarely made yards with the ball in hand and was sent hurtling backwards on more than one occasion when he attempted to tackle the south sea islanders. Was at least accurate and consistent at the lineout.

1. Paul James: 7
Solid at the set piece, James was also very industrious in the loose. He looked extremely dynamic with the ball in hand and made some impressive advances over the gain line.

Replacements: 5
The replacements took over in the Welsh occupation of the Tongan 22, but none of them stepped up to find a way through the white wall. The fresh faces in the front row bolstered an already stable scrummage but did not give Wales any more of an advantage at the set piece. Emyr Philips tackled like a clap of thunder and Alun-Wyn Jones made some valuable yards, despite being hit by the Tongan kitchen sink on several occasions. The introduction of Rhodri Williams and Rhys Priestland failed to inspire any Welsh creativity.

By Nathan Hyde (@NathanHyde2)

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

10 thoughts on “Wales v Tonga: Wales player ratings

  1. We must have been watching a different game. The standard of Welsh play was very poor which is acknowledged by all my Welsh mates, as one of them said “it was as bad as watching England play”. All ratings at least one too high and in some cases two.

  2. Generous score for Lloyd Williams. He struggled to get the ball away from the breakdown rather than being, “crisp and fast.” Was caught passing too slow on several occassions by a Tongan fringe defence that revelled in spoiling wales’s continuity. Hook looked pretty classy before the whole squad went to sleep in the second half, it’s always harder to play when those around you aren’t. Ryan ‘evergreen’ jones slipped seamlessly back into the pack. Such a legendary servant to welsh rugby and never looked out of his depth… Against tonga though.

  3. Lloyd Williams was utterly appalling, not sure why he’s got an above-average score. Rhodri Jones about held his own against a pack even Romania and Canada have been shunting backwards, so praise where due, but he is allergic to passing the ball, killing at least three overlaps from my memory alone. Charteris generally played well, but was solely responsible for us not scoring two tries, which deserves a point or so knocking off in my opinion. All scores seem too high to me.

  4. Seems a bit harsh on Ryan Jones. He was directing Hook to the corner to try and get some tries. What exactly is the point of watching Halfpenny kick goals. We know he can do that and Wales were winning comfortably. I applaud trying to get some interest out of the game. What exactly is the difference between winning 17-7 and winning 26-7 with three penalties from halfpenny? If there’s anything Wales can rely upon against Australia next week it’s Halfpenny kicking goals. Wales needed to improve other areas.

    Ryan Jones filled his position as reliable solid player and leader admirably. Other than that attempted tackle on that Tongan bear. That was rubbish.

    1. Tom: Very clever. My point is, it’s a one off international. No need to worry about points difference or bonus points. It’s a time to try and improve for games that really matter. Especially as it was against Tonga. If it was against NZ, SA or AUS (or even Argentina) then absolutely, take the points and win the game but against Tonga when it’s highly likely you’re gonna win anyway then always go for the try. They were clearly trying to improve the rolling mauls, they didn’t manage it, but it was worth a try.

  5. Amos looked alright though didn’t he? Breaks my heart seeing gatland blood all these youngsters to see if they have what it takes and what they can bring. Mainly because Lancaster doesn’t change our backline unless someone is injured. It’s all good having Anthony Watson train with England, but what’s the point if we persevere with Goode? Anyway, enough of this English moaning. I’m just jealous at the young skill that seems to be coming from a secret welsh production line somewhere.

    1. The talent is there for England as well James, its just that Lancaster won’t pick ’em until he has no other choice.

      Think Yarde, Wade, Daly, Elliott, Nowell, Watson, Slade, Sam Hill, George Ford, Cowan-Dickie, Jack Clifford, etc, etc

      Would love to see some of these young’uns get a chance in the same way that players like Amos, North, etc got their chance for Wales

  6. Lydiate only a 6 – there will be a stewards inquiry into your marking! I thought he always got a 9! I’m poking fun before anyone really fires off!

  7. Lydiate was definetely underrated, i thought he had a brilliant game. North did well, creating space to hit lines, but was not given the ball by james hook, forcing me to agree with his rate at 5.

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