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England player ratings vs Wales | 2023 Summer Nations Series

By Liam Heagney
(Photo by Gaspafotos/MB Media/Getty Images)

England player ratings live from Twickenham: What a crazy, crazy game. There we ready, ready to pen the obituary to another dreary England shambles that looked way worse than last week’s 9-20 loss to Wales in Cardiff when they suddenly sprung to life in the most remarkable of circumstances to fashion the sort of inspiring come-from-behind win that could potentially propel them to unexpected heights in France.

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Ahead 6-0 at the interval after a totally forgettable first half which ended with them getting booed by the home crowd for taking a shot at the posts for three points rather than looking to engineer something off a lineout drive, they were 9-3 ahead nearing the mid-point of the second half when things went haywire.

Between minutes 57 and 64, they lost three players to the sin-bin, Ellis Genge with the scrum faltering on a general warning to both sides, Freddie Steward for taking out Josh Adams in the air at the cost of a lead-losing penalty try, and then the loss of skipper Owen Farrell for his crude shoulder to the head of Taine Basham.

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Steve Borthwick reveals why he has selected the players that are going to the 2023 RWC

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Steve Borthwick reveals why he has selected the players that are going to the 2023 RWC

It was a brutal and it got worse, Tomos Wiliams finishing off a counter-attack to put Wales 9-17 clear, yet this dire situation somehow motivated England like never before under Steve Borthwick. Despite being three players down, they struck back with a maul try scored by Maro Itoje that was converted by George Ford.

Before play restarted, word came from the TMO bunker that the Farrell yellow was now upgraded to a red card and he wouldn’t be returning, but that blow didn’t deter England who fought forward again to force the winning penalty for Ford to seal the crazy 19-17 win against the Welsh who had yellow cards at the start and finish of the second half.

Points Flow Chart

England win +2
Time in lead
56
Mins in lead
16
69%
% Of Game In Lead
20%
74%
Possession Last 10 min
26%
3
Points Last 10 min
0

Of course, there could now be a huge cost. Farrell is facing missing at least the opening match at the Rugby World Cup versus Argentina through suspension. England have just two warm-up games remaining and a three-match ban would sideline him in Marseille.

There is also the potential for Steward to be cited for his yellow-carded up-ending of Adams, while young scrum-half Jack van Poortvliet is an injury concern after he limped out of the low frills first-half action where Wales had injury worries of their own with Dewi Lake exiting.

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Despite those anxieties, the stirring manner of this comeback England victory in the last quarter-hour should provide plenty of encouragement that they might not be going to France just to make up the numbers. Here are the England player ratings:

15. Freddie Steward – 3.5
Was doing fine, having carried well with the ball to beat some defenders and having little to do in a better connected defence compared to last week. But then came his rating-killing yellow card which he will now hope won’t have a citing officer sequel. There was no need for him to tackle Adams like his did in the air and he paid a heavy price with a frustrating sin-binning and the concession of a yellow card.

14. Henry Arundell – 3
Just his second start and his first at Twickenham, this was another limp effort similar to Dublin in March where he didn’t get going at all. Bar one gallop after an early Farrell grubber, he wasn’t seen in the attack. Finished the opening half in the bin for cynically preventing Liam Williams from playing quickly off a mark. That incident came a few minutes after he strangely delayed his chase to a clearance kick, a sign that Test level requirements are taking much getting used to. Hooked on 57 minutes.

13. Joe Marchant – 7.5
One of the major winners in England’s RWC squad of 33, he came agonisingly close to being the try-scoring hero before Ford kicked the winning points. A lack of downward pressure as he dived to catch a crosskick was the verdict. Played enterprisingly and was also good in defence, winning a ruck penalty turnover. Got exposed for the breakaway second Wales try, though.

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12. Ollie Lawrence – 7
Another who will take great encouragement that he is heading in the right direction as regards his form and his willingness to try and do something to get England going. Departed on 72 minutes, but recorded a heap of metres wth his carry.

11. Elliot Daly – 7
A first Test outing since the 2022 Six Nations, he had some classy touches in the opening half. Less prominent in the second period, but he put his hand up to be considered for a World Cup starting spot despite some missed tackles.

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10. Owen Farrell – 0
When you have a reputation for suspect tackling, the last thing you want to do in the lead-up to a World Cup is to invite serious trouble. Farrell, though, couldn’t help himself, his ugly shoulder contact to the head of Basham rightly upgraded to a red card after TMO bunker review of the yellow he initially received. Now faces missing England’s important pool opener versus Argentina. Had started well, with good variety in his game,  but that kudos doesn’t matter a whit now.

9. Jack van Poortvliet – 5.5
Started full of energy but limped off prematurely eight minutes before the break. Mixed effort encapsulated by a rare direct snipe through the ruck that raised a cheer only being followed by a knock on when looking at getting a second touch on the next phase.

1. Joe Marler – 6
Another seasoned operator who had been out of the Test loop since the spring of 2022, he wasn’t the main culprit for the scrum issues and while he was gone after 54 minutes, this was an okay return to the international fold but not enough for him to be viewed in the same light as the clear first-choice Genge.

2. Jamie George – 7.5
Had a field day feasting on Welsh lineout overthrows. He also spoke well with the referee at times and generally showed over his full 80 minutes why there is currently no one fit to rival him in England in this position. Topped his team’s tackle count, but missed a few as well.

3. Will Stuart – 5
One of just four players who started last weekend to be named to start again, this was an excellent chance for him to build on the excellent first-half scrum at the Principality and put some heat on Kyle Sinckler but too many infringements damaged his report.

4. Maro Itoje – 7
With the World Cup start just four weeks away, it was time for the once world-class operator to show glimpses that he is heading towards his peak and he eventually delivered with his team staring down the barrel and set to be beaten. Scored the rejuvenating maul try and his joy was unconfined near the end celebrating a Wales knock-on.

5. George Martin – 5.5
Played with heavy strapping on his left leg but managed to come through the game. Wasn’t as effective as last week and yet played his part when England importantly put a stop to two Welsh lineout drives from five metres out in the opening period.

6. Courtney Lawes – 6.5
Another important player who has been rarely seen in recent times due to repeated injury. There was a concern when he took a first-half head bang but he recovered and showed decent nuisance value such as the steal of a Welsh lineout in the second half. Hung tough and fought when it most mattered.

7. Ben Earl – 8
Incredible to think that one of the Premiership’s most dominant performers was only making his first Test start after 15 sub appearances. He has now put it up to the rehabbing Tom Curry with his impact, clocking up the most ball-carrying metres by any of the England pack and tackling well.

8. Billy Vunipola – 5
Borthwick has staked the house on this previous surplus to requirement No8 becoming the gain line monster that Alex Dombrandt struggled to be. Said to be as fit as the coach has ever seen him, but he was like a jumbo jet struggling to gather speed on the runway. Exited on 61 with England digging a hole for themselves.

Team Form

Last 5 Games

3
Wins
0
1
Streak
5
13
Tries Scored
13
-5
Points Difference
-51
2/5
First Try
2/5
2/5
First Points
2/5
1/5
Race To 10 Points
2/5

Replacements:
16. Theo Dan – No Rating
Didn’t get off the bench as George was pivotal to the English resistance.

17. Ellis Genge – 6.5
A down and then up 50th cap. The loosehead was yellow-carded within minutes of arriving in when both teams were on a scrum warning from the referee. Got stuck in when he returned, though, and even looked dangerous when taking a cut down the left near the line.

18. Dan Cole – 6
Did workhorse stuff to help 12-man England bounce back, including steadying the scrum.

19. Jonny Hill – No Rating
Didn’t play despite looking set to arrive in for the treatment-receiving Martin late in the first half.

20. Jack Willis – 6
The calalry for Vunipola with England in disarray. Like Cole, did the gritty to help force the momentum shift.

21. Ben Youngs – 6.5
An early arrival eight minutes before the break, he played much better with Ford at 10 than with Farrell.

22. George Ford – 8
An irrelevancy last week during his cameo, so we needed to see much more from him off the bench on this occasion and boy did he deliver, cranked it up to brilliant effect after coming on for Arundell.

23. Max Malins – No Rating
Given just the last eight minutes in place of Lawrence; not enough to make a real statement.

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Comments

9 Comments
F
Former 310 days ago

Farrell is a liability. Another shoulder charge in the world cup could sink England's chances. Should expect a 4 match ban minimum but should be 6 given his recent history and his failure to adjust after his recent safe tackle training. He has done it a number of times and been very fortunate not to get carded as well as the number of times when he's been appropriately pinged. Relegate him to the bench....

D
David 311 days ago

Also the person who gave the player ratings on Rugby Pass basically said that Arundel “ had a lot to learn at this level “ what level ?....the Wales vs England game was so below the calibre of the France vs Scotland game that as some wise commentator said that “ it looked like a different sport “ …Obviously something seriously wrong with this set up …

D
David 311 days ago

Giving Arundell a. Mark of 3 is a terrible injustice ..he didn’t receive one pass ..not one from his team mates in his 40 mins of game time …he’s moving to play in France and will be a superstar this time next year …why ..because they will give him the ball …atrocious backwards Neanderthal performance from England and why he has chosen all the old boys is beyond me and many others

J
Jonathan 311 days ago

Vunipola was totally ineffective - bring back Sam Simmonds to partner Ben Earl in an explosive attacking back row. Farrell has no running game and so is predictable - either kick or pass which makes defenders jobs easier. Our route one running is also predictable, we'll never tear apart defences playing like that. Youngs delivery was so slow - get rid of the old guard. Compare how much quality rugby was played in the first 10 mins of the France Scotland match and you can see just how far behind the rest of the world we are.

D
Dominic 311 days ago

The injury to JVP might be a blessing in disguise. He may come good – after another season or two – but he’s not ready at this level.
SB can recall Alex Mitchell, the obvious choice, or bring in one of Harry Randall / Raffi Quirk.
In fact, bring in all three, and ask Care and Youngs to politely excuse themselves.

F
Filippo 311 days ago

Courtney Lawes was key in England victory. Steals lineouts and gain crucial pk who led to the 5m driving maul where Maro scored. To me Player of the match.

M
Mark 311 days ago

Certainly a mixed bag.
It is still impossible to watch this England team and decipher the identity of the team, or indeed the team they aspire to be.
Farrell going to tackle school clearly has the same effect as a boy racer attending a speed awareness course, namely fuck all.
And if vunipola is the answer, I've no idea what the question is.

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