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England Six Nations Slideshow

Six Nations 2020: England Player Ratings Versus Wales

Joe Large reviews the individual performances in what could be Englan’ds fourth and final Six Nations match.

England’s Six Nations tournament finished (?) in bizarre fashion on Saturday evening. Without much of the ball, England seemed to have control of the game throughout. A late flurry from Wales showed what they could have done, but the scoreboard ultimately flattered the visitors somewhat. Below are the England player ratings.

15. Henry Slade – 8

I have decided to rate England’s rejigged back 3 as May only lasted a few minutes. Slade equipped himself very well on his return to the team. Positioned himself well defensively, linked play well when given the chance and made some important interventions when Wales looked like scoring.

14. Anthony Watson – 8

Has that ability to leave defenders stranded when it looks like nothing is on. In the opening exchanges, he tormented the Welsh defence out wide and took his try superbly when still having a lot to do. His threat faded as the game went on though.

13. Manu Tuilagi – 7

A tough one to rate. A red card would normally destroy your score, but it happened so late and didn’t affect the result (although did make the score line look tighter than the game was). Whilst it was probably deserved by the letter of the law, apart from leading with his arms, I’m not sure what he could have done. Until that moment, he’d carried well and made consistent ground without breaking free and had been the lynchpin in defence, crashing into tackles to stop Welsh momentum before they could go wide.

12. Owen Farrell – 6

I was glad that the referee put him in his place early on as he gave away a childish penalty. It took him a while to shake that off. Superb kicking off the tee and led the defence very well. I’m struggling to see what he is bringing to the attack at the moment – seems the least threatening of the backs.

11. Elliot Daly – 6

A couple of slipped tackles undermine his cause a bit. Took his try well and was mostly accomplished in the air. As with a lot of people, I’m still unsure on his best position. His running lines and ball handling are wasted on the wing as he’s not able to get involved in the same way.

10. George Ford – 8

Two assists under considerable pressure. He seems confident whenever he is on the ball. At times, it seems he can over-kick, but the quality of the kicks is generally consistent and puts England in the right areas. If he kept the ball in hand even a little more, I’m sure he’d unlock the defence and create even more tries though.

9. Ben Youngs – 9

After the France game, I said that it was perhaps time for a change. The last two games have shown exactly why not. Box kicking was either excellent or poor, but every other facet of his game was outstanding on Saturday. He kept the defence honest around the fringes and found some change there. His inside pass for Watson’s try was massively under-appreciated as well. Distribution and choice of runner was top all game as well.

1. Joe Marler – 8

Had his opposite number on toast in the scrum all game – an area that helped England exert dominance in the game. Defended well around the fringes. Looked to get his hands on the balls a bit more than usual.

2. Jamie George – 6

Hit his men in the line out (although not always as cleanly as normal) and was part of a scrum that never took a backwards step. Perhaps the most anonymous of the England pack aside from that.

3. Kyle Sinckler – 8

Much cooler than last time these two sides met. As with Marler, he pushed the scrum forwards every time. He is getting in those positions to make those explosive carries and is also looking to add in that extra pass like he was doing a few months ago.

4. Maro Itoje – 8

A nuisance in the maul defence that undid the Welsh in a few occasions. Found himself at the centre of more or less everything. Tracked the play quite well and was on hand when England made a break.

5. George Kruis – 8

Was this his last game in an England shirt? He had a typically Kruis performance to be remembered by. Ruthlessly efficient, carried uncompromisingly, set the tone for work-rate. He’s clearly working on his kicking to boot.

6. Courtney Lawes – 7

The back row is an area that is still open to lots of debate for England. However, Lawes looks to have made himself undroppable in the last couple of games, whether I’d be at 6 or in the second row. He tackles like a torpedo and is the the face of an attacker every time. Perhaps not as prominent in his carrying as his last outing.

7. Mark Wilson – 9

A product of a bygone era. A proper nugget of a flanker straight out of the 1990s. You may not always notice what he does, but you always notice him there. His tackle count was very high and most of them put England on the front foot. Makes the hard yards when called upon. Slowed down Welsh ball. A very good return to the team indeed.

8. Tom Curry – 8

Perhaps having Wilson there allowed him to chop and change between the role of an 8 and that of a 7 more easily, but it was probably his best game yet in the position. A menace for attackers – due to his pace and power, he is always crashing into them before they’ve had time to think.

Bench – 5

Apart from Slade, who I’ve rated separately, the bench wasn’t as impactful as usual. England got progressively worse for every change and the momentum that they’d built slowly disappeared. The only two that stopped this being a 4 were Launchbury and Ewels as they helped repel the mauls late on.

What do you think? Do you agree with the scores? How would you rate England’s tournament (so far)?

17 replies on “Six Nations 2020: England Player Ratings Versus Wales”

Interesting how these scores are arrived at. Can I have yr algorism please? I always struggle to allocate points here as I tend not to notice individuals unless they have obviously notable performances. More so interesting in that the seemingly ‘dropped’ Wilson got a 9. Again I didn’t note his performance individually, but my impression is that England could do a lot worse than to start with him in the team at 6, although time may not be on his side. Youngs also singled out. Again, ditto for me? Likewise Slade. Another ditto I’m afraid & I’m a bit embarrassed to state that I remembered his moustache more than his play!? Not meaning to be facetious either, but just explaining how I can struggle with this points allocation bizzo. Dunno if others find this? Anyway, agree about Farrell, never my favourite, however his goal kicking rescues him I guess. Petulance seems to increasingly undermine his captaincy. Could he play at full back? Make way for Ford, Tui, Daly? Probably not. Watson looked lively, dangerous on attack, certainly not rusty from his lay off, so maybe an 8, or 7? Tui? Effective enough at what he does I suppose, but he fought the law & the law won. Needs to keep his thinking going. In the end, contributed to England’s reduced scoreline. Can’t go through the lot, but collectively England contained Wales well enough. Didn’t think they entirely dominated the Welsh scrum as indicated above. Wales did ok on their own ball I thought. At home, England prevailed alright, but if they’d been playing in Cardiff, would the beads of sweat been popping frantically given the last 10 minute turnaround? Discipline? Tui, Marler & Jones? Would this have helped, or hindered England? Wonder what score EJ would draw? Also, Wales ratings to follow? Comparison please?

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Thought Slade acquitted himself well at FB, solid under the high ball and a good kicking option. Interesting to see him look to take it into contact every time he received it. Reminded me of Mike Brown at FB in similar circumstances – this must be a tactic.
Thought Daly was better than a 6, again coped with the high ball and thought his kicking game was better than it has been. Scored his try well.
I don’t think Farrell should be judged on the number of carries he makes, this isn’t his game and clearly isn’t the game plan. The benefit he brings is a second quality distributor in the backline, and this was evident with Daly’s try. Having both Farrell and Ford means there are plenty of options and both can slot in at first receiver either side of a ruck.
Curry continues to improve and play well at the back of the scrum, the rest of his game was as good as ever.

4

Slade played so well at FB he could be considered a permanent fixture! Why not (apart from complicating the 12/13 issue further)?
Well done Eddie for arriving at another solution for the team (albeit by accident)

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Scores look about right. Not sure Youngs or Wilson was a 9, both had good games and I think we can be blinkered on how good Youngs was as we are comparing him to how bad he often has been i.e. getting marks of 4 and 5. I don’t think this performance jumped him to a 9, but he was solid and a nuisance around the fringes.

Agree with DP felt I paid more attention to Slades terrible tash than his performance, but he did fit in well, I like his silkyness and at times it seems like he is in his own slow motion bubble whilst others around him seem frantic and he just doesn’t break a sweat.

What I was impressed with was how Watson, Wilson and Slade all fitted back in with ease afert inury layoffs and didn’t seem to lack any match fitness so credit has to go to either the England physio camp or their own clubs??

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I too thought Slade had a good game. On this showing I thought he looked a better 15 than Daley. An interesting selection dilemma.

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Slade rushing up ineffectually rather than holding his ground or pushing Navidi outside him preventing the pass was for me the major contribution to the Wsles tey straight after half time. Doubt Daly would have done mich better though…

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The guy is the only FB since Brown who can tackle as well as provide all the other necessary skills. His defensive tackles were killers (one was try-saving)
You must be having a bubble! His first outing at FB and he played like that! Amazing.

From the 4home nations what players do you think have stood out regards selection f
or next years Lions Tour. Afew of my own.
Tadhg Furlong Joe Marler Itoje Navidi Curry Tuperic Stander Hogg Henshaw Ford

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I’d add Jonny May to that….whilst borderline whether I would use the term ‘stand out’ but you cannot ignore how deadly he can be with limited space and options.

To flip it on its head, what players did you expect to stand out and put their name on a Lions shirt that didn’t? For me some that spring to mind…

Jamie George, James Ryan, Jacob Stockdale, Sinkler (bit harsh but I still feel he is a bit off where he was), Hamish Watson.

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A few of the marks are a bit high but the overall spread is about right.
Thought Sinckler, Wilson and Curry stood out from the forwards. Ford was our best back, though its fair to note that was Youngs best game for quite some time.
For a makeshift FB Slade did well enough.
The bench were underwhelming and very poorly deployed. Leaving players on until well into the last 10 minutes of a game strikes me as a waste as it leaves the new players with virtually no opportunity to influence the game. And replacing Lawes, who is a converted lock, with an out and out lock in Ewels in the back row was simply bizarre.

3

“Marler got his hands on the ball more than usual”, love it!
Interesting to read Sinckler’s comments post match, thanking AWJ and Gatland for winding him up so much in last years fixture as it helped him to grow up and play for the team rather than let the red mist ruin his performance. Can we get someone to do the same with Faz?

5

With Marler, now Lawes, as well as Tuilangi all being sited, should this impact their scores? Hindsight I suppose, but EJ & England can’t be happy. Indiscipline can be costly. Perhaps not least Eddie’s own ill disciplined comments? This is the theme according to the Observer BTW. Interestingly, Sinckler, who gave a few away himself in Cardiff last yr & is now involved in youth rugby schemes, reckoned that that experience along with some psychological coaching, has been the making of him. Now chastened, he states that he has actually benefited from his previous to the extent that he didn’t give any away on Sat!

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With hindsight, it’s interesting to contrast Sinckler’s attitude with that of “I’m special, me” Marler, who clearly has some growing up to do.

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