Player Ratings: Blossoming roses
OPINION: Having named their strongest line-up yet in the 2019 Rugby World Cup warm-up games, England were rewarded with a 57-15 victory over a strong Ireland side.
Eddie Jones will be extremely pleased by what he saw from his side at Twickenham, as they comprehensively beat Ireland in all facets on Saturday afternoon.
We have run the rule over all 23 of England’s players and rated their performances in an extremely encouraging outing.
15 Elliot Daly – 7
Provided a sharp pass for Joe Cokanasiga’s early try and was generally more of a counter-attacking threat than he had been able to be against Wales. Ireland weren’t able to test him in the air as much as Wales did and his tactical kicking from deep was a valuable territorial weapon for England. Beaten on the outside late by Bundee Aki, a moment which he’ll want back.
14 Joe Cokanasiga – 8
Similar to Daly, Ireland weren’t able to move Cokanasiga around and try to exploit him with their kicking game. He kept his depth and width well for his first-half try and his defensive reads were good, as he kept Jacob Stockdale relatively quiet. Continued to come off his wing looking for work and grabbed his second try of the game by bursting through the midfield.
13 Manu Tuilagi – 8.5
A very encouraging display from Tuilagi back in his previous position of outside centre. His decoy line helped create Cokanasiga’s try, a powerful carry set up Daly’s score and then he displayed a good step for his own try. His strength and leg drives in the carry were difficult for Ireland to contain and he even pitched in with a turnover.
12 Owen Farrell – 7
A lot of England’s early success came from George Ford’s play on the gain-line, although Farrell stepped up as a first receiver in the second half. He connected with six of his seven kicks and his kicking from hand was incisive and effective.
11 Jonny May – 8
The Leicester wing performed well on his return to the starting back three, chasing industriously and effectively throughout. His work off the wing laid the groundwork for Cokanasiga’s first try and his elusive footwork hurt Ireland. Impressed defensively and with his one-on-one tackling, too.
10 George Ford – 8
Ford excelled with his play on the gain-line in the first half, with his bravery and late play paving the way for the two opening tries. He looked comfortable with Farrell outside of him, as well as playing off of the significant impact that Tuilagi offered.
9 Ben Youngs – 5.5
The scrumhalf started well with contestable box-kicks and kicks into space, although he lost his radar somewhat as the game went on. A few errant passes mixed in with effective play on the gain-line made it far from one of Youngs’ better games in an England jersey.
1 Joe Marler – 8
There are few tougher challenges than Tadhg Furlong, although Marler stood up well to him at the set-piece on his first start since coming out of international retirement, even managing to get an edge on the Irishman in a couple of contests. He helped provide quick ball for England with good clearing work at the ruck.
2 Jamie George – 7.5
George connected with all nine of his line-outs, although the first couple were pressured by Irish jumpers. He was industrious in the loose and contributed significantly to England’s continuity, with strong carries close to the ruck and clearing work at the breakdown.
3 Kyle Sinckler – 8
After coming under pressure in the first scrum of the game from Cian Healy, Sinckler delivered at least parity for the rest of the contest. He carried well, supported line-breaks and his soft hands and playmaking skills unleashed Sam Underhill for a break and the subsequent assist to Tom Curry.
4 Maro Itoje – 9
A monstrous showing from the lock, who was on hand to take five of England’s line-outs and managed to steal or disrupt three of the Irish throws. He won a turnover, sacked a rumbling Irish maul and was effective hunting down Ireland’s first receivers. Carried well, too, and capped his display with a deserved try in the second half.
5 George Kruis – 7
Kruis came under pressure at the first couple of lineouts, losing the first as he was ripped in the maul. He grew into the game, though, with his defensive communication key and he grabbed a line-out steal as England preyed on the Irish set-piece.
6 Tom Curry – 8
Couldn’t quite dislodge Irish jackals on a couple of occasions, but it was a solid overall performance. Curry stepped up as a carrier, as well as making a precise pass for Daly’s first-half try. Offered a third lineout option in the second half, as England expanded their set-piece repertoire, and secured a try, trailing Underhill’s break.
7 Sam Underhill – 7.5
Although he wore seven on his back, Underhill took on more of the traditional roles of the blindside, effectively executing the chop tackle throughout the game. He snaffled a turnover in the second half, though, and began to impose himself in attack.
8 Billy Vunipola – 7.5
Not the cleanest attacking performance, with the number eight isolating himself on a couple of occasions and coughing up turnovers, despite still providing front-foot ball. He forced a penalty out of Ireland at the breakdown, though, and made several dominant tackles, as he showed his value on defence.
16 Luke Cowan-Dickie – 6.5
No drop-off from England’s set-piece and loose work when Cowan-Dickie arrived, as the Exeter man connected with all four his line-outs and stole a late try from an errant Irish throw.
17 Mako Vunipola – n/a
Unfortunately had to leave the field after coming on as a replacement, walking gingerly to the sideline.
18 Dan Cole – 6
Kept up England’s impressive set-piece showing and was powerful at the contact area.
19 Courtney Lawes – 6.5
Lawes was successfully targeted twice at the line-out following his introduction, as well as carrying and tackling with his typical strength.
20 Mark Wilson – 6
Solid off the bench and helped England cruise over the finish line.
21 Willi Heinz – 7
Heinz delivered some contestable box-kicks and sharp passing from the breakdown after replacing Youngs.
22 Piers Francis – n/a
Came on too late to have an impact on the game.
23 Joe Marchant – n/a
Came on too late to have an impact on the game.
By Alex Shaw, @RugbyPass