PLAYER RATINGS: Blowing the cobwebs away

Sat, 18 Nov 2017 20:04
Large england players v australia november 2017 800

OPINION: England blew the cobwebs and some of their lingering criticisms away with a 30-6 victory over Australia, their fifth over the Wallabies during the Eddie Jones tenure, in a game where the scoreline certainly flattered the home side.

Jones' side were undoubtedly the better team at Twickenham, but it was anyone's game until a late flourish saw England run in three tries in dreadful weather conditions.

Alex Shaw rates the England players!

15  Anthony Watson:
It was a mixed bag in difficult conditions for Watson. He made a couple of good takes in the driving rain to start to the game, but also lost one later in the first half, as well as an offload to no one that almost let Australia in for a try.
6/10

14  Jonny May: 
A couple of nearly moments for May, but it wasn't until the final five minutes that he really shone, grabbing a try and setting one up for Danny Care. Shot out of the line and couldn’t stop Samu Kerevi, which nearly gifted Australia a try, chased well all game long and ran into trouble a couple of times. It was quite a mixed bag of a performance until the gloss – deserved for his work rate – at the end.
7/10

13  Jonathan Joseph:
Starved of the ball in a tight contest, Joseph had very little impact on the game in attack until his late try secured victory for England. Also made several important tackles on the powerhouse duo of Kerevi and Tevita Kuridrani and worked hard to pressure the Australian backline.
7/10

12 Owen Farrell :
Farrell wasn’t given the most sympathetic of service from his flyhalf but brought a direction that England lacked against Argentina, nonetheless. He nailed his first four kicks when the game was still in the balance and was strong in defence and intelligent with his game management.
7/10

11  Elliot Daly: 
Had a quiet game until his try in the 55th minute, when his chase exploited Kurtley Beale giving up on a ball the Australian thought was going dead. It was a moment that showcased his work rate, speed and comfort with the boot. It was also a moment of redemption after losing out on a high ball to Beale in the first half.
6/10
 
10 George Ford:
Not the best game Ford will have in an England jersey. His pullback passes were fairly telegraphed and led to Farrell being lined up for big tackles by the Wallabies. Had the vision to see opportunities for cross-field kicks, but couldn’t quite execute them to his usual high standards.
5/10

9  Ben Youngs:
Brought tempo and awareness in a good outing. He was constantly looking to exploit areas of the pitch Australia had left unguarded and it was his kick through which Daly chased and capitalised upon for England’s first try.
7/10

8 Nathan Hughes: 
Hughes couldn't quite back up his impressive showing against Argentina and struggled with his ball security in the deluge at Twickenham. Tackled manfully on the gain-line, though.
6/10

7 Sam Underhill :
Unfortunately, the young flanker had to leave the pitch early for a HIA and did not return. A couple of forceful tackles, but he didn’t have time to make a significant impact on the game one way or another.
6/10

6 Chris Robshaw: 
Industrious performance from an industrious player. Couple of good breaks with ball-in-hand, as well as great cover defence to snaffle a loose ball from an Australian attack. Almost conceded a try with a risky offload in the same situation, though, as well as needless penalty for a late hit on Beale in the second half.
6/10

5 Courtney Lawes:
With Itoje on early and Lawes freed up to move to the blindside, the Northampton man thrived. In addition to landing several trademark big tackles, he carried better than he did against Argentina, showed soft hands and good passing and was a reliable target at the line-out. Forced two pivotal turnovers in the second half, one stealing a line-out and the other preventing Australia getting a ball out of their maul.
8/10

4 Joe Launchbury: 
Launchbury won’t have hurt his chances of staying in the squad at the expense of George Kruis at all. Good support running and strong carrying and tackling around the fringes, with Courtney Lawes and Maro Itoje stepping up at the lineout.
7/10

3 Dan Cole:
Seemed to get the better of his opposite number on several occasions, but England were struggling at the scrum as a unit. There was little reward for Cole’s efforts, but it was a solid shift.
6/10

2 Dylan Hartley: 
A very strong outing in difficult conditions for a hooker. Great synergy at the lineout with his jumpers, as well as making several thumping hits in defence, two of which caused knock-ons from the Australian ball-carriers.
8/10

1 Mako Vunipola:
A performance to forget for Vunipola, who was pinged four times and seemingly singled out for England’s early engages at the scrum. Didn't offer his usual value in the loose, either.
5/10

Replacements:

16 Jamie George (On for Hartley, 57th min):
The front row replacements came on and did their job well, maintaining the fringe defence, clearing out and popping up with the odd carry. The lineout continued to operate well and the England scrum won its first and only penalty of the day.
6/10

17 Joe Marler (On for Vunipola, 64th min):
See above.
6/10

18 Harry Williams (On for Cole 67th min):
See above.
6/10

19 Maro Itoje (On for Underhill, 17th min):
Introduced early for the injured Underhill and made an immediate impact. Stole an Australian lineout in England’s 22, brought impressive line speed and big, clean tackles on the gain-line.
7/10

20 Sam Simmonds (On for Hughes, 63rd min):
Similar to the front row, it was a case of coming on and seeing out the win for Simmonds, which he did.
6/10

21 Danny Care (On for Youngs, 70th min): 
Set up the try that took the game beyond Australia with the deftest of kicks and fulfilled the role any team could want of their replacement scrum-half, especially when he grabbed a try of his own to end the game.
7/10

22 Henry Slade (On for Ford, 70th min):
Didn’t really have long enough on the pitch to make any kind of impact one way or the other.
6/10

23 - Semesa Rokoduguni:
Did not play.

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