Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


England v France: How the Red Rose players rated

Ben Foden 5/10

He took his try very clinically – cutting through the French cover in the 55th minute – but his display will be remembered more for that missed tackle in the first half which helped hand Vincent Clerc a try. He needed more ball to exert influence.

Chris Ashton 5/10

The wing's quietest match of the tournament after five tries in previous games. He could never latch on to that key pass, especially in England's revival towards the end of the first half. Let his frustration show at times, which is a weak point.

Manu Tuilagi 7/10

England's sharpest attacker but used too often as the match progressed in desperate attempts to break down France. That great break in the 27th minute increased expectations after disastrous start. He needs to develop his offloading game if he is to become a true star.

Toby Flood 5/10

Good and bad. The combination with Wilkinson never looked right. He looked more comfortable after Wilkinson's departure, but his poor first-half drop-goal attempt and failed conversion of Mark Cueto's tryhighlighted his lack of confidence.

Mark Cueto 5/10

He will remember that dozy moment in the first half when he turned his back and the ball, following Ben Youngs's pass, hit his elbow. That ended England's hope of a try before half-time. Regained some pride by scoring the second try.

Jonny Wilkinson 6/10

You can never question Wilkinson's courage and conviction. His tackling was top-class and one offload in the first half to Nick Easter was a high point of England's attacking moments. But his relationship with Flood looked strained.

Ben Youngs 5/10

His look of disappointment when he was substituted said it all. Apart from one tap-and-go in the second half – which set up the attack for Foden's try – he lacked his trademark zip and bounce. His lack of composure unsettled England.

Matt Stevens 4/10

Dull and dull again. The versatile prop – he came back in the second half for tighthead Dan Cole – conceded two penalties in quick succession at the start, which helped to hand France the momentum. Scrummaging remains his weakness.

Steve Thompson 5/10

One of Martin Johnson's supposed strong men, but he was never seen during the crucial opening period. He also struggled to locate his men at the line-out, France nicking possession early on. Englandneeded more from the 2003 hero.

Dan Cole 5/10

He may have come off level against his opposite number, Jean-Baptiste Poux, but England needed more from their No 1 tighthead. The French pressure up front limited him to rare moments with ball in hand and he came off very frustrated.

Louis Deacon 4/10

Unable to stop French locks Lionel Nallet and Pascal Papé continually pushing England backwards in tight play. His poor pass broke momentum after Tuilagi's break in the first half. Overall it was a night to forget for the Leicester lock.

Tom Palmer 5/10

The Paris-based lock has been oneof England's best forwards in the tournament, but was nevertheless unable to stop France gaining those regular "hard yards" up front. Played for the full 80 minutes, which showed his consistent effort.

Tom Croft 5/10

England have failed to harness his pace throughout this tournament. Another quiet night and, unusually, he also lost first-half line-out ball. He bravely tried to continue after taking a head knock before he was replaced by Courtney Lawes.

Lewis Moody 5/10

An early cut around his nose gave England's captain a typical mark of battle, but it was a clash he lost overall. He was never able to disrupt France at those key breakdowns and gave way to James Haskell for the last 20 minutes.

Nick Easter 6/10

The Harlequin tried valiantly to repeat his heroics of England's 2007 last-eight win over Australia. His pick-ups and charges off scrums brought some zip in the second half and raised flickering hopes of a famous comeback.


Dylan Hartley 6/10 Far more prominent than Thompson in loose but also had problems up front.

Alex Corbisiero 5/10 The prop was able to hold up his corner of scrumto enhance experience against atop-class pack.

Courtney Lawes 6/10 He arrived on the scene too late to revive his own disappointing tournament.

Simon Shaw 6/10 The veteran almost scored moments before Cueto, which would have been a fitting climax to his Test career.

James Haskell 6/10 One of the most consistent forwards in the squad and, in hindsight, should have started ahead of Croft.

Richard Wigglesworth 5/10 Did his best to keep England moving forward but he does not have the class of Danny Care or Ben Youngs.

Matt Banahan 6/10 One good break showed his strength though he also demonstrated his poor hands.