Player Ratings: So near, yet so far
OPINION: The conclusion of the 2020 Six Nations tournament might currently be uncertain but the importance of an England versus Wales fixture is never in doubt
England’s power game ultimately was too much for Wales throughout although a late Welsh comeback made the scoreline much closer at the final whistle.
Rhiannon Garth Jones rates the Welsh players!
15. Leigh Halfpenny – 5
Solid in the air in a game that demanded it and kicked well when asked to but a player with his defensive reputation will be disappointed to look back at some of his reads.
14. George North – 5
The Welsh management have insisted throughout camp that North is one of the best trainers in the squad. He was better in defence than he has been and was a key part of the comeback but he is still not back to the player he was.
13. Nick Tompkins – 7
The Saracens man fronted up against a number of his club teammates for the first time in international colours and wasn’t deterred by England’s ferocious physicality. Was central to much of Wales’ good work in attack, both with his running and his lovely miss-pass to North. Wales’ best player.
12. Hadleigh Parkes – 4
Showed his physical side, which Wales needed, but his handling was poor and he may well be cited for the high tackle on Manu Tuilagi that gave away a penalty on the field.
11. Liam Williams – 4
Hasn’t played since the World Cup semi-final in Japan and he is not back to his old self just yet. He covered the backfield well and improved before going off in the second half.
10. Dan Biggar – 6
It was a surprise that he was named in the team, given how serious his injury last weekend looked, and many questioned whether he would actually start. His kicking was not up to his usual standard but he battled through two early hits to make it to the end and got a try at the end to give Wales the sniff of a losing bonus point. His running game is starting to show for Wales.
9. Tomos Williams – 5
Reclaimed his position in the starting jersey for his first Six Nations match at Twickenham but this wasn’t his best game, despite lovely work for Wales’ first try. His missed tackle on Watson for the first try was poor, given the importance to England of starting early and their reputation for moves of that sort.
1. Rob Evans – 4
Another change to the starting lineup, with the loosehead taking the place of injured Scarlets teammate Wyn Jones but he didn’t impress. Loosehead is becoming an interesting position for Wales.
2. Ken Owens – 5
Not his best game but there’s no chance of him being replaced any time soon. Did make a crucial tackle to stop a Jonny May break.
3. Dillon Lewis – 4
Has got through a huge amount of work in every game this tournament and it might be starting to show. He is capable of much more than he showed today, although he is still learning.
4. Jake Ball – 5
Still to make a proper impact in this tournament although this was a better performance from the big man. His injury will worry Wales, given their lack of depth at lock.
5. Alun-Wyn Jones (capt) – 5
Another underwhelming performance from the skipper by his standards but showed his steel and leadership yet again to stay on the pitch and keep Wales going.
6. Ross Moriarty – 5
Continued to play on the blindside where his particular skill set is perhaps more effective and tried hard to bring some physicality against England’s power game. Arguably unlucky to give away a penalty for holding on.
7. Justin Tipuric – 7
Another outstanding game from Wales’ multitalented openside. Showed his footballing skills, distributed well, and showed how effective he is in the wide channels with two tries.
8. Josh Navidi – 6
Like Liam Williams, the Cardiff Blues back row forward hasn’t played since the loss to South Africa four months ago. He wasn’t perfect but he showed just how much Wales have missed him, with a lovely contribution to Wales’ first try and some excellent physicality throughout.
Ryan Elias – 4
Didn’t make a mistake but still isn’t staking a claim for the starting jersey.
Rhys Carre – 5
Another Saracens man facing his club teammates for the first time in a Wales shirt and he made an impact off the bench.
Leon Brown – 5
Carried well and put in a shift in defence.
Aaron Shingler – 6
Perhaps not the ideal lock cover but injuries seem to have forced Pivac’s hand. Showed why Pivac values his athleticism as Wales fought back.
Taulupe Faletau – 6
A knock last weekend and a few underwhelming performances saw him take a bench spot. Showed his ability as a distributor and at the back of the scrum.
Rhys Webb – 7
A surprise addition to the bench, selected for his game management but more than justified it. Made all the difference to Wales going forward when he came on.
Jarrod Evans – n/a
Johnny McNicholl – 5
Still to prove himself at this level.