Argentina v England: How the England players rated

The old ultraviolence is fine but Lawes was lucky not to see a card

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The Independent Online

Ben Foden 6/10

A break by the full-back past two Pumas recalled the intermittent flair of England's trips to Paris and Sydney in 2010 and the Twickenham defeat of Australia last November. More please.

Chris Ashton 5/10

Straining at the leash, his eyes lit up when chasing a clever Ben Youngs cross-kick. But months of inactivity while injured showed as he was immediately reined in.

Manu Tuilagi 6/10

Unable on his own to force England on to the front foot, the Anglo-Samoan settled for eyeballing Pumas at close quarters and tackling hard when he needed to.

Mike Tindall 6/10

One kick earned decent field position but though "Tins" is popular with his team-mates he will never, ever inspire belief that England's backs can emulate the world's free-flowing best.

Delon Armitage 6/10

Typically adroit catch on the chase when following up a Jonny Wilkinson garryowen but little chance to make the most of his exciting promotion over Mark Cueto.

Jonny Wilkinson 4/10

Slow ball to the threequarters was by no means all Wilkinson's fault but on the kicking front he will know another performance like this in a tougher match will see England out of the competition.

Richard Wigglesworth 4/10

Also suffered from the slow ball. The dawn birdsong is a nice way to wake on the Otago Peninsula but chat to the twitterers about England's back line and they'd soon be back to sleep.

Andrew Sheridan 6/10

Forcing his way back to his best form, and "making it happen" should be a buzz phrase for this team. Come to think of it, it probably is already.

Steve Thompson 6/10

Guaranteed a place in any World Cup DVD by dint of the kiss he gave his opposite number, Mario Ledesma. Line-out solid, scrum ditto, loose work not so great.

Dan Cole 6/10

Culpable in at least a couple of the eight first-half penalties conceded by England yet, like Sheridan, earns a plus mark for doing more rightthan wrong.

Louis Deacon 5/10

Bypassed in favour of Courtney Lawes and Tom Croft as the line-out target, so he stuck to the hidden away stuff. Well hidden, in fact, as we searched in vain for a good England maul.

Courtney Lawes 5/10

Like Alex in "A Clockwork Orange", partial to a bit of the old ultraviolence. Good on him, as this is no game for softies. But it is a matter of judgement and timing, and Lawes was lucky not to see a card.

Tom Croft 5/10

Waited in vain for a Wilkinson cross-kick that never came and seemed in that moment too content to be out of the game. Has so much more to offer.

Nick Easter 5/10

Too often an easy victim of the referee's whistle. Needs to rediscover the ball-carrying verve of a couple of seasons ago – not that he will ever be a Usain Bolt.

James Haskell 6/10

One late rip of the ball was welcome if overdue and earned hugs from his team-mates. Playing at openside flanker, through no fault of his own, he embodies a poorly-conceived and homogenous back row.


Dylan Hartley 6/10

Joined the hug-fest for his part in late snuff-out of Puma attack.

Matt Stevens 6/10

Helped earn the penalty that was kicked by Wilkinson for the late four-point buffer.

Tom Palmer 6/10

Understudy to Lawes now, may get a chance with Simon Shaw next week.

Ben Youngs 7/10

Must have sat watching a match he knew his pace and eye for a gap could alter; then came on and did just that.