RWC2019: England Player Ratings Versus Argentina

Ford and Farrell

This World Cup thing’s going rather well for Eddie Jones and England, isn’t it? After the shambles of 2015, the men in white are into the quarter-finals courtesy of a barnstorming 39-10 victory over a depleted Pumas outfit.

Tomas Lavanini’s early dismissal for a dangerous tackle on Owen Farrell left the South Americans chasing shadows in the Tokyo heat, with Jonny May, Elliot Daly, and Ben Youngs crossing in a dominant first-half for England, before George Ford, Luke Cowan-Dickie, and Jack Nowell wrapped up another bonus-point and a place in the knockouts.
Here’s how each member of Jones’ side got on.

Joe Marler – 7
A strong defensive showing from Marler kept the Pumas at bay, the Harlequins prop proving he is a more than adequate alternative to Mako Vunipola.

Jamie George – 8
Another front-rower who was powerful in defence, George ensured the Argentines struggled to break the English down. His accuracy at the lineout was integral to the flow and rhythm of Jones’ recruits.

Kyle Sinckler – 7
As is usually the case, Sinckler was a useful pattering ram on Saturday. He was an ever-willing runner as he continuously barrelled into opposition tacklers.

Maro Itoje – 8
What a phenomenal athlete Itoje is. The rangy lock was involved in all that was good from the forwards, leading the pack with a devastating display.

George Kruis – 6
Not as influential as his partner, but another gritty performance from Kruis. Nevertheless, he would likely have been ousted from the starting lineup had Courtney Lawes been at his brilliant best in previous group games.

Tom Curry – 6
Curry did all that was expected of him versus Argentina, yet it was far from the youngster’s most impressive outing thus far in Japan.

Sam Underhill – 8
The flanker was a tireless ball of energy, offering himself as a runner on top of his standard high tackle-count and work at the breakdown.

Billy Vunipola – 5
An ankle injury brought an abrupt end to Vunipola’s day, with the number eight’s departure meaning he didn’t quite have the desired impact. Jones will hope Vunipola’s withdrawal came before any serious damage was dealt.

Ben Youngs – 6
Nothing too flashy from Youngs, no trademark snipe from the base, but a competent, disciplined performance that kept his side ticking over.

George Ford – 8 (MOTM)
There had been questions about the Ford-Farrell axis after Jones opted for a more traditional setup in the backline during the Six Nations. No one doubts Ford’s capabilities now, the fly-half orchestrating all of England’s moves in a wonderful display of tactical awareness, creative flare, and slick passing.

Jonny May – 7
May grabbed himself a try and continued to terrorise the Pumas with his lightning turn-of-speed and smart running lines.

Owen Farrell – 6
Farrell was sound on Saturday. In open play, the Saracen linked play well, yet his wayward goal-kicking could be a concern if it isn’t rectified before the knockout rounds begin.

Manu Tuilagi – 6
Having been an unstoppable force of nature in the previous pool matches, Tuilagi failed to match the standards he’d set against the USA and Tonga. Still, he’s always a solid option with the crash-ball.

Anthony Watson – 6
There wasn’t an enormous amount to write home about from Watson. He was a potent weapon in the air, but had limited chances to show his skills with ball-in-hand.

Elliot Daly – 7
England’s top metre-maker, Daly once again demonstrated what he can do when given a run up. A maiden World Cup try capped a fine attacking afternoon for the fullback.


Luke Cowan-Dickie – 6
Another score for the hooker and another example of what he offers off the bench, with the fleet-footed frontman adding impetus on arrival.

Mako Vunipola – 6
It’s great to have Mako back, but we didn’t get an awful lot of action from the injury returnee.

Dan Cole – 6
Like it always is, Cole’s scrummaging was faultless, though again there was little else from the Leicester Tigers man. That’s no issue given his efficiency in the tight.

Courtney Lawes – 7
The giant entered the field of play with the points already secured, his presence in defence making sure that the lead remained a sizeable one.

Lewis Ludlum – 7
Ludlum has happily gone about his business as one of the substitutes, the England newbie yet again doing his future prospects no harm with a highly-physical display.

Willi Heinz – 6
He’s no Ben Youngs, though Heinz continues to keep his side motoring along nicely after being brought on for another cameo.

Henry Slade – 5
It was a quiet afternoon for Slade, who will know he has little chance of displacing Tuilagi or Ford in the starting lineup. He needs to offer more in his brief appearances to really threaten those two.

Jack Nowell – 7
A try and several memorable moments will have given Jones some food for thought heading into the showdown with France and beyond.

By Ed Alexander

The total team rating here is 101, compared to 99 versus USA and 97 versus Tonga. Are England showing steady improvement as the tournament progresses?

14 thoughts on “RWC2019: England Player Ratings Versus Argentina

  1. As a neutral watching this game have to state that England as a team were poor. Any other tier one side would have put 50+ on a side depleted by one after such a short time into the match. Yes Argentina up’ed their game but England for most of that match seamed clueless on how to make the most of the space created by the sending off. Daily’s try was the best use of the space and that was enhanced by his fumble. I am fully aware that this is my opinion but with the exception of Ford, Ludlum and Itoje the rest of the players ratings are at least one lower than you have given. Play like that against a French prepared to throw it about, and they where not great, and it will second place in the group

    1. Once again when England scored the try bonus can you explain to me what would be the point in trying to put a cricket score on Argentina when you consider the following?

      1. The game was won with 5 points bagged.
      2. The game setup a first place shoot out next week with France, who are tricky opposition and increasing the + points totally is pointless.
      3. The weather is massively humid and energy sapping.

      So with 5 points bagged, the + points column not mattering its utter madness to encourage your team to run themselves into the ground totting up points for no reason with a massive game against the strongest opposition in the group.

      For me I am not that worried about the French they huffed and puffed against both Tonga and Argentina (Yes against 15) and barely scraped by whereas England have played poorly yet got bonus points off both teams not to mention only 20 points conceded in the last 4 games out of which 2 were tries, give the defence and discipline credit and don’t say it was against poor attacks these ARE the teams that the French have also played.

      1. All seemingly logical & rational Q. However, this is leaving aside the psychological impact England are likely to have had so far on 1/4 final & beyond opponents. Unless Jones is keeping his powder dry, do they offer any more than getting the job done v modest opposition? That’s a ? I wouldn’t want asked if it were my team. Also & I know it was only 1 game, but were a few of the big guns like BV, Tui & Farrell firing buckshot last up? Additionally, is another big gun, MV, a 100%? IMO, England need a big statement v France to make up some leeway. Never know how the 1/4ers will pan out, but have England frightened anyone enough so far? How will the other 1/4 finalists view them? Maybe that’s also a point.

        1. Don you keep talking about the psychological impact in the KO stage but England would prefer to be underdogs. flying under the radar is much better for us as otherwise the players start to believe their own hype

          1. I was attempting to look from the outside in Leon, not just from the inside out. I don’t know what the England team would prefer as you do, but surely a team aspiring to lift the thing has to handle the pressure. Doesn’t the term ‘underdog’ imply a lack of belief? If they don’t really believe, how can that benefit them? Besides, with all his exp, Jones ought to know about effects of hype.

  2. And just a side note on the red card. Didn’t England play Argentina a couple of years back and after receiving a red card in about the 5th minute (and if I remember rightly one or two yellows later on) go on and beat them?
    A red card is more than likely going to mean a loss for the receiving team – but to suggest that it should be by 50 points plus amongst Tier 1 teams is pretty silly

    1. Pablito exactly, Hallelujah brother!

      Look at the round ball game too, how many times have 10 men beaten 11?

      I would bet my bottom dollar any of the tier 1 coaches worth their salt would’ve come to the same assumption.

    2. Think it was Daly red, taking the man in the air.

      Maybe England should have been more clinical at times, but I would like to think they were sticking to game plan for the first part of the game. England wore down the Argentinian forwards and this really showed in the latter parts of the game.

      1. it was Manu who took a player in the air and we have already covered it to death on the other thread penalty only was the correct sanction according to the 10.4 guidelines

  3. No scores above a seven for me. I know some time ago on this blog there was talk about what a 6, 7 etc meant…can’t remember exactly but I am sure to get an 8 a player had to have a pretty good game and go above and beyond what is expected at this level.

    The players did what was required i but I didn’t see anyone go above and beyond doing their job (6/7) and England were rarely troubled throughout the game (well maybe a few patches). My view is that as soon as ARG went down to 14, EJ should have shifted away from the Ford/Farrell axis – whether that meant removing Ford or Farrell can be debated, personally I would have took off Farrell as the play seemed to slow when it reached him and Tui was not brought into play enough.

      1. I’d have had Underhill as an 8 as well. Seemed to be everywhere in defense and constantly offering himself as a runner – and making ground when he did take the ball
        And maybe May as well, who was always looking for work
        But I agree on the rest, don’t think any other scores above 7.
        Forwards were decent.
        Youngs was as always slow and kicked poorly
        Farrell seemed all at sea when he got the ball and didn’t bring his outside backs into the game
        Watson needs to come off his wing more
        For the subs – Nowell looked his old dangerous self

  4. Love your comment “Heinz is no Ben Youngs.” Many of us are grateful for that, as two scrum halves who box kick poorly, pass slowly and inaccurately and seem to think that their job at the back of an attacking ruck is to slow the ball down until the defence has got organised would be more than even a good side could cope with. Neither Youngs or Farrell merited more than a 4 and most of the team seemed to be playing well within themselves, with the honourable exceptions of Underhill and May who were excellent. I would start Wilson at 6 against France with Underhill at 7. Billy is a concern, and although Mako got a bit of game time a decision surely has to be made soon as to whether he is going to be back to his best fairly rapidly, given that Marler and Genge are both fit and on form.


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