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England player ratings vs France | 2023 Guinness Six Nations

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

England player ratings live from Twickenham: This was savage, a brutal record beating as England were devastatingly blown away by France. They came into the round four fixture retaining Guinness Six Nations title hopes, but that nosebleed notion was quickly garbaged amid a chastening 3-27 first-half onslaught.

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The rain cascaded down from on high and buoyant blue shirts ran rings through and around the wilting men in white – and it then got despairingly worse, France turning on even more style after the break to breeze home by an embarrassing 10-53 margin.

The seven-tries-to-one die was cast just 106 seconds in, Thomas Ramos cantering in with glee from a pair of terrific halfway offloads, and the opening period thumping was then book-ended by ferocious scrum power followed by an unstoppable dash from Charles Ollivon.

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The decision to drop Owen Farrell for crucial England rugby match explained

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The decision to drop Owen Farrell for crucial England rugby match explained

In between, there was carnage, the lost kicking battle epitomised by the sublime Antoine Dupont 50:22 kick that heralded the lineout that ended with Thibaud Flament scoring by the posts on 26 minutes.

Where was the England who were supposed to be transformed by Marcus Smith’s naming at No10 in place of the benched Owen Farrell, the England that had been hyped to thrive off the inspiration of first-time skipper Ellis Genge, and the England that was intent on the “brilliant basics” that coach Steve Borthwick has harped on about all championship? All that palaver was marked absent in a filthy rout where their non-existent back row essentially never got off the bus.

There was a consolation cheer when Freddie Steward got England’s only try shortly after Farrell’s introduction early in the second half, but it then all fell to pieces again as their defence was run ragged by a four-try riposte, Flament, Ollivon and Damian Penaud (twice) all scoring.

Winning at Twickenham was the one box glaringly left unticked by the French in their four championships under Fabien Galthie. That tick has now been well and truly inked, the swashbuckling Les Bleus’ winning at English Rugby HQ for the first time since 2005. Here are the England player ratings after a dreadful performance to forget:

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15. Freddie Steward – 7
Man of the match the last day, man of his very poor team by a country mile here. So many of his involvements were positive and his defiance was rewarded by his 48th-minute try. Caught rotten nine minutes later, though, by the bouncing ball for France’s bonus point score.

14. Max Malins – 4
High tackle on Ramos was his most notable first-half contribution. Then came the try that never was early in the second when he frustratingly couldn’t grasp Smith’s crosskick. Whipped off on 59 for Henry Arundell. Poor effort in all aspects.

13. Henry Slade – 3.5
No one could quibble that he didn’t deserve his place, but he was blown away here by the French and hooked on 46 for Farrell. His display was summed up by how he was roadkill when Flament blasted over for his first try.

12. Ollie Lawrence – 4
Was on hiding to nothing just a minute into the contest when he couldn’t do anything to prevent the halfway offload that engineered the opening French try. His 60-minute appearance, which ended in injury, went from bad to worse after that.

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11. Anthony Watson – 4.5
Had a standout moment when dancing with Penaud on tidying up a first-half kick in behind, but his general ineffectiveness was encapsulated by the straightforward catch he fumbled not long after under no pressure.

10. Marcus Smith – 3.5
Looked desperately confused and out of sorts from the off, disorientation summed up by his head-scratching punt after England won a free at a scrum. That gave the French a soft mark to clear from their 22. His puzzled effort continued right the way through on a miserable evening capped by a penalty not making touch and then that gaffe of not touching down behind his line, allowing Ollivon to burgle his second try. Another sub-standard display to add to the collection.

9. Jack van Poortvliet – 4
Very much a case of master and apprentice, the rookie England scrum-half schooled by opposite number Dupont. Gone on 46 and not before time.

1. Ellis Genge – 5
First-time captain endured a horrible experience in which he contributed to his team’s slow start with a deflating 12th-minute knock-on. He was in regular dialogue with referee Ben O’Keeffe but to no avail. The application of the laws wasn’t the issue, more a case of his team’s criminally lethargic work rate. Gone on 65.

2. Jamie George – 4.5
Played the full 80, which was about the only positive thing that could be said given how good his opposite number Julien Marchand was. The hooker is suffering from a lack of competition for his spot.

3. Kyle Sinckler – 4
Caught in major first-half penalty trouble, conceding three times. Another prop taken off on 65 with the result long since decided.

4. Maro Itoje – 4
Looked to be improving during February, but this display was a dire collapse as he was outfought by the opposition grunt. Was also left looking silly with the first-half Superman dive to try and stop a Dupont pass – the No9 instead dummied and went through a gap.

5. Ollie Chessum – 5
Was his team’s best forward but that didn’t say much on an evening when the pack didn’t function as a unit.

6. Lewis Ludlam – 4.5
Similar to Sinckler, he badly fell foul of referee O’Keeffe in the opening 15 minutes and was always on the back foot from there. Also flunked the lineout catch when England kicked an important penalty to the corner at 0-10.

7. Jack Willis – 4
Played with his left knee bandaged and looked sluggish throughout his 53 minutes, which ended with him not offering Steward enough protection at a penalised breakdown. Was the other player involved in not preventing the offload on halfway that got France up and running with their opening score.

8. Alex Dombrandt – 3.5
Took the guts of 35 minutes for him to finally carry the ball but was soon giving away a meek knock-on that sucked whatever enthusiasm was left from home fans with the score then at 3-20. An awful day then ended with Penaud leaving him for dead on the outside for the first of his late tries.

REPLACEMENTS:
16. Jack Walker – 4
Introduced on 60 due to Lawrence’s injury. Carried hard but when you’re throwing on a rookie hooker to play in a different position in an emergency, you know you are in dire straits.

17. Mako Vunipola – 3.5
Given 15 best-forgotten minutes that ended in a scrum collapse.

18. Dan Cole – 3.5
See Vunipola.

19. David Ribbans – No Rating
Named in place of the injured Courtney Lawes, but given token minutes right at the death. Borthwick is fooling no one with this type of meaningless carry-on.

20. Ben Curry – 3.5
Had the guts of nearly half an hour for Willis but the floodgates opened.

21. Alex Mitchell – 5
Subbed on six minutes into the second half. Quickly upped the tempo and gave the assist for Steward. Downhill from there but should start next weekend in Dublin.

22. Owen Farrell – 4.5
Another 46th-minute sub, he created a gap with his first pass that got England going for their try. Like Mitchell, though, that was the height of it.

23. Henry Arundell – 3.5
Given a decent chunk of time here compared to his Cardiff half-minute but was a passenger. Another wasted option that needs to start in the final round.

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Comments

11 Comments
F
Fabien 459 days ago

Your main issue is your pack, I'm not sure that your debate shall be on Smith vs Farrell if your forwards are beaten. For sure, England need a simple strategy to rebuild, you do have the guys for this.

G
Garydxn 459 days ago

van Poortvliet is still on the pitch looking for the ball.

M
Matt 459 days ago

Freddy stuard deserved a 9 to put in a performance like that in a team getting thrashed. Also Marcus Smith has nothing at international level. Farrell should eventually be replaced by someone else.

T
Taff 460 days ago

Steward a 7, couldn’t be bothered to chase back to stop Penaud, even Dombrandt tried a tap tackle, Steward just watched, no pace or wrong attitude.

L
Leo 460 days ago

To all the Farrell naysayers out there. After the first 20 minutes you should have realized the were on the pitch without a leader. Farrell should be wearing that ten shirt as captain of the squad.

l
lot 460 days ago

should rate the coach game plan and personelles 2. always knew SB was rubbish...mediocre england captain and now coach...could not specify which skills smith has over farrell.. waxing lyrically over how brilliant his fly halves were. EJ laughing his head off in Aussie

r
robespierre 460 days ago

Genge was junk.

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