Player Ratings: England vs Samoa
England wrapped up their autumn series today with a 48-14 victory over an outclassed Samoa side at Twickenham, securing their third win from as many games in the month of November.
Mike Brown, Alex Lozowski, Charlie Ewels, Henry Slade and Semesa Rokoduguni all went over for tries, whilst wing Elliot Daly bagged a brace, in a performance that offered moments of brilliance, but also moments of missed chances and frustration.
We take a look at the performances of the 23 players involved below.
- Mike Brown – 7
Very impressive in his return from the head injury which ruled him out of the Australia game. Dealt with every high ball that came his way and ran well at space. Offloaded cleverly when possible and popped up as a support runner on several occasions.
- Jonny May – 6
Sparkled on one run in the first half but didn’t have too many other opportunities to influence the game in attack. Fielded kicks in the back three well and chased hard on any kicks that Brown or George Ford put up.
- Henry Slade – 7
Looked more comfortable at 13 than he did at 12 against Argentina. Ran nice lines off of Lozowski and was unlucky not to turn a couple of first half breaks into tries. Had a quiet second half before kicking on strongly towards the end, cruising in for a try and setting up Rokoduguni for a score with the last move of the game.
- Alex Lozowski – 7
Started very brightly, showcasing his ability as a decision-maker and the softness and quickness of his hands. Deserved his first international try and was a constantly on the heels of ball-carriers making breaks. Drifted out of the game a little as time went on and ran into trouble on one occasion in the second half, but a strong game overall.
- Elliot Daly – 8
Continues to impress in his development as an international wing. Helped control the territorial battle with strong work at the back and with his boot. Plenty of industry and fittingly scored his first try with a moment of excellent footwork. Repeated that inside stepping for a second try and displayed his scintillating pace, running it in from around 40m out.
- George Ford – 7
Kicked accurately and played well in a facilitator, rather than playmaker, role. It was a simple, error-free performance and arguably the most polished he has put in over the last month.
- Danny Care – 6
It didn’t quite click for Care after his excellent cameo against Australia. His kicks couldn’t find the space they did a week previous and he overran Brown’s break in the second half, which should have been a try for England. He did inject tempo and passed well off the floor.
- Ellis Genge – 7
There will be sterner tests to come for Genge but he gave Donald Brighouse a torrid time at the scrum. The Leicester loosehead also made himself known with his powerful carrying, which inevitably brought England gain-line success and sucked in Samoan defenders to the contact area.
- Jamie George – 8
Thrived in his first start for England, popping up as a link man in wider channels and running hard, incisive lines. Busted a gut as a support runner, charged down a Samoan kick and was 100% with his seven throws at the lineout. A late knock-on the only blemish for the Saracen.
- Dan Cole – 6
Anchored the set-piece well in England’s best scrummaging performance of the autumn. Not quite as noticeable as usual in the loose but fulfilled his role with efficiency, including holding up a Samoan carrier and ripping the ball in the same motion.
- Joe Launchbury – 5
It was a tough outing for Launchbury, who left the pitch in the first half with an apparent shoulder injury. He came around the corner slightly wide as a fringe defender and was unable to get low enough to stop the pick and go from Piula Fa’asalele for Samoa’s first half try.
- Charlie Ewels – 6
Bounced back well from an early knock-on when he seemed to take his eyes off the ball at a Samoan restart. Did better at the second time of asking on the restart and ran good lines as a one-out runner to tie in Samoan defenders.
- Maro Itoje – 7
Superbly athletic performance from Itoje who was rampant in the air at the lineout. He also tackled and carried with force, often leading the defensive line. Chemistry with George at the lineout was evident throughout, as was his versatility, shifting back into the second row when Launchbury went off with injury and Courtney Lawes arrived at blindside.
- Chris Robshaw – 6
It was a game that wasn’t particularly suited to Robshaw’s strengths, with England clearly the superior side and looking to open up the game and play with tempo and width. Carried earnestly and showcased his work rate, but England lacked ball security at the attacking breakdown and support runners from the back row.
- Sam Simmonds – 8
Like Slade, Simmonds looked good in the position he plays regularly at club level. Dealt with Samoan kicks cleanly and efficiently and ran them back with threat and purpose. Carried strongly throughout and seemed to grow into the game, as Samoa tired and there was more space for him to exploit.
- Dylan Hartley – 6
Came on and helped see out the game. In fairness to Hartley, who is often criticised as not being a “finisher”, he didn’t provide any less off the bench than George did against Argentina and Australia.
- Joe Marler – 6
Powerful off the bench, Marler’s tackling held Samoan carriers to little or no gain on the gain-line.
- Harry Williams – 6
Offered more today than in his previous two cameos this autumn, carrying strongly and picking good lines off of scrum-halves and first receivers.
- Nick Isiekwe – 6
Didn’t have too long to impact the game but the 19-year-old will have learnt a lot from his first capped appearance at Twickenham.
- Courtney Lawes – 7
Came on in the first half after Launchbury’s injury and continued to impress in his new role as a blindside flanker. Carried hard and effectively, won a turnover and, as always, tackled ball-carriers powerfully behind the gain-line.
- Ben Youngs – 6
Didn’t quite have the electric impact off the bench that Care did a week previous, but got the ball out quickly to the back line, as England again finished with a flourish.
- Piers Francis – 6
Another late sub who didn’t have too long to affect the game. Made a couple of breaks that led to late England tries in subsequent phases.
- Semesa Rokoduguni – 6
Showed the footwork that sets him apart as a player and capped his cameo with a try to finish the game.
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