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News & Comment

England v Wales player ratings

Man-for-man marking from the Six Nations match at the Twickenham in London

Following the contest between England and Wales we take a look at how the individual players performed.


Alex Corbisiero:  Was up against it in the scrum against the world class ability of Adam Jones, but the US born prop was a busy in the tight and made his presence felt during the attritional forward battles. 6

Dylan Hartley:  Good darts in the line-out and held up well in the scrum. Got through a mountain of donkey work at ruck time too, and helped England to dominate the breakdown. 7

Dan Cole:  Fronted up to the physical presence of opposite number Gethin Jenkins in the scrum and helped turn the screw when England were on top. 7

Mouritz Botha:  Blonde bombshell lock made a mess of the Welsh line out and almost scored an unlikely charge down try which led to Rhys Priestland getting sin binned. Got through a serious amount of work in 60 minutes. 7

Geoff Parling: Brought in by Stuart Lancaster for this second cap, the Leicester lock contributed to several steals of the Welsh line-out and didn’t look out of his depth. 6

Tom Croft: England’s foremost ball carrier in the back row was given plenty of opportunity to go forward and gleefully accepted the challenge of soaking up numerous Wales tackles on the gainline. 7

Chris Robshaw:  Will feel unfortunate to be on the losing side, not least because his mischievous work at the breakdown helped England secure numerous turnovers and dominate possession. 7

Ben Morgan: 

First England start for the Bristol born Scarlets flanker ends in defeat to the side he could’ve played for. Smashed into his club teammates with abandon and will wonder how his side conspired to lose after securing such dominance at the breakdown. 7

Lee Dickson:  First start for Dickson and likely the first of many after an assured performance. Got his backs firing with quick ball well secured by the hard-working pack and linked up well with Farrell. Should continue against France. 7

Owen Farrell: Will reflect ruefully on the penalty he missed just before departing injured, but put his teammates in a great position to win the game with an inventive, confident display. May be disappointed at inability to put Wales to the sword. 8

David Strettle:  Just an arm’s hair away from landing a last gasp try and putting England within touching distance of a draw – put denied by the TMO. Looked lively in the first half but possibly needed to offer a bit more attacking thrust when the game became scrappy in the second half. 6

Brad Barritt: 

In tandem with centre partner Tuilagi, he helped shellshock the big Wales backs with powerful running and numerous line breaks, but became less influential as the game wore on. 7


Manu Tuilagi:  How England have missed him. Always looked the most likely to end up over the try line, not least because he regularly gained at least five yards over the gain line when carrying the pill. At times unstoppable and unlucky to be on the losing side. 8

Chris Ashton: 

Another fairly ho-hum performance from the Saracens bound winger. Probed and danced with ball-in-hand but found very little space to stretch the legs – Wales marshalled him well. Needs to find an extra gear but hard to do so when sitting in the stand at Northampton. 5

Ben Foden:  Attempted to counter attack with venom but was well nullified by the ferocious Welsh defence. Guilty of engaging in some sterile kicking exchanges in the second half. 6

Pick of the replacements – Toby Flood: 

Brought on following Farrell’s injury, he was instrumental in getting England up the pitch within a whisker of securing a late, game saving try. His long pass out wide gave Strettle the chance but the TMO said no. 6



Gethin Jenkins:  Tireless effort from the indefatigable veteran prop and was instrumental in Wales’ defence withstanding England’s constant pressure. 7

Ken Owens: Fourth cap for the Scarlets hooker was his toughest test in a Welsh jersey. The 25-year-old will have easier days out and his line-out throwing looked shaky as England stole numerous Welsh ball at the set-piece. 5

Adam Jones:  Scraggy haired and wily as ever, Jones was ever present in Wales’ defence effort and turned the screw on opposite number Corbisiero at the scrum. 7

Alun Wyn Jones: Got through huge amount of work around the pitch, not least in defence, but day to forget at line-out time, as Botha, Parling and Croft continually picked off Welsh throws. 6

Ian Evans:  Another who struggled at the line-out but, like his teammates, was courageous and present in defence. 5

Dan Lydiate: Will earn plaudits for work rate but questions will be asked of how England came to dominate matters at the breakdown seemingly at will. Also less visible than usual with ball-in-hand. 5

Sam Warburton:  Like his back row colleagues, Warburton seemed initially shocked by England’s ferocity at the breakdown. But he recovered sufficiently at the end to lead his side to an unlikely victory, becoming more prominent as the game became scrappier and making huge hits in defence. 8

Toby Faletau: Unable to really impose himself with huge carries, as England nullified Wales’ ball carrying threat, and may feel disappointed England were able to dictate possession. 6

Mike Philips:  England’s massive effort at the breakdown ensured Philips was limited to snappy ball delivery and couldn’t make too many trademark sniping runs around the fringe. His physicality was crucial in repelling English attacks. 6

Rhys Priestland: Poor game from the fly-half whose confidence only diminished as the game progressed. Missed touch with penalties at least three times, engaged in some poor ping-pong kicking in the second half and was sin-binned after having a kick charged down by Botha. Fortunate Scott Williams, and his teammates, saw the game out. 4

George North:  Despite having a huge height advantage, struggled under the high ball when put under pressure by Ashton, Strettle and Foden. Made some trademark physical runs but England shut him down well. 6

Jamie Roberts: Another who struggled to get going in the face of England’s swarming, physical defence. His diminished influence in attack meant Wales really struggled to threaten England’s line but his defensive effort was excellent. 6

Jonathan Davies:  Rarely received the ball in space but when he did, reminded England of his dangerous, direct running. However largely had his hands full keeping check on Barritt and Tuilagi and gets an extra mark for making the crucial try saving tackle on Strettle. 7

Alex Cuthbert: Fairly anonymous on the right wing, the giant back nonetheless was crucial in Wales’ mammoth defensive effort. 6

Leigh Halfpenny:  Nerveless goalkicking kept Wales in the game and safety under the high-ball combined with a constant willingness to counter attack helped them over the line late on. 7

Pick of the replacements – Scott Williams:

Who else could it be? Created and finished the crucial move of the game – the replacement ripped the ball from Courtney Lawes, immediately kicked ahead and finished across the line with aplomb. Fantastic contribution to a juddering game of few opportunities. 8