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Player ratings: England

OPINION: Incredible, simply incredible.


England weren’t given a hope in hell of causing an upset and yet here we were, swept away by the raucous celebrations sparked by Marcus Smith landing the winning drop-goal on penalty advantage with the clock in the red. Wow!

This was a fantastic all-round performance,

Liam Heagney rate the England players after their dramatic 23-22 win over Ireland!

15. George Furbank – 8
His DNA is to make errors and there were more than a  couple here such as him losing his bearings late in the first half when fielding a long James Lowe kick and giving up a soft touch, but he has got an attacking danger that Freddie Steward hasn’t had. Gave Ollie Lawrence the assist for the opening try and then galloped in to score himself on 48 minutes.

14. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso – 8
A first Test start following a try-scoring cameo off the round three bench, he looked the part, clattering into the action without inhibitions. His power and pace had the Irish defence constantly on guard and it was his break late on that put them in the back foot in the lead-up to the Smith drop goal.

13. Henry Slade – 7.5
Wasn’t the worst in Scotland and he did well here as well. The highlight was a jaw-dropping one-handed flick while lying on the floor after getting tackled on the hour, igniting the move for the Ben Earl try.


12. Ollie Lawrence – 9
Mr Explosive. Anonymous the last day due to the level of his team’s handling errors, he needed just four minutes to score with a lovely run from outside the 22 and would have had a second but for a Furbank spill. At fault for one of Ireland’s three-point kicks, but this was a coming-of-age performance. Class.

11. Tommy Freeman – 7
Switched to the left after spending February on the right wing, he crumpled Calvin Nash in the carry that ignited the opening try. Beaten in the air for the kick that led to the Ireland try early in the second half, otherwise great value.

10. George Ford – 7
On a better wavelength with those around him than in Scotland, he did well in helping England wield a good attacking shape and stern defence in the first half. Wide with seemed to be an important kick from the 10-metre line that would have pushed his team to 11-6, he then didn’t have the gas to catch the try-scoring Lowe shortly after the break. Exited on 59.

9. Alex Mitchell – 7.5
Back fit after missing the Scottish Gas Murrayfield debacle, he brought tempo and wasn’t at all daunted by the fast-track reputation of Jamison Gibson-Park. Would have rued a spill on 13 minutes in the 22 trying to find Ellis Genge, but that mishap didn’t matter in the end. Played for 66 minutes.


1. Ellis Genge – 7
Needed breakdown authority and while he started slowly, infringing to give Ireland the opening points, it sparked him into life and he would have enjoyed an opening half scrum penalty win.

2. Jamie George – 7.5
Insisted England would be up for the fight and they were. Two missed lineouts with England leading 5-3 were a concern, but he valiantly brought the battle to the Irish, showing up excellently on the carry and asking questions of the visitors at the breakdown during his 54 minutes.

3. Dan Cole – 7.5
Exited Edinburgh with calls for him to be retired, but the veteran struck back here with a much improved work rate that ensured his team were far more competitive. Gave everything until pulled 14 minutes into the second half with the rest of the front row.

4. Maro Itoje – 7.5
Could have been accused of having a quiet game but he was integral to England scrapping away and staying the course. Best moment, aside from giving Furbank the try assist, was forcing Gibson-Park to knock on 15 minutes from the finish, resulting in Huo Keenan getting called back when thought he was about to score.

5. George Martin – 8.5
A rightful starter given his impact off the bench in Edinburgh, his action-man approach helped to negate the much-hype Irish lock partnership of McCarthy and Beirne. Super.

6. Ollie Chessum – 8.5
Shifted to blindside to accommodate the returning Martin, the move resulted in England having a better balanced back row with the workload more evenly shared. Valiantly played through the pain barrier with an injury exiting late on.

7. Sam Underhill – 7.5
Struggled this past month to be at his nuisance best, but he was the business here in annoying Ireland. Superb carry and offload in the tackle in the creation of the Furbank try.

8. Ben Earl – 9.5
Wonderful, simply wonderful. His footwork was immense the whole way through when carrying and he was rewarded with his try on the hour. Excellent in defence as well, epitomised by a breakdown poach 13 minutes from time.

16. Theo Dan – 7
Arrived on as part of the all-front row swop on 54 minutes with England down 13-17, he didn’t see much of the ball but still gutted it out.

17. Joe Marler – 6.5
Had 26 minutes and revelled in a solo celebration of the winning Smith score.

18. Will Stuart – 6
Brought energy to help England hang on in there.

19. Chandler Cunningham-South – 8
The second of the five-strong Harlequins bench, England had just gone 20-17 ahead when he was introduced. He was a fabulous addition and it was a shame to have it end prematurely by injury.

20. Alex Dombrandt – 6
His first selection since the pre-World Cup away loss to Wales, getting the last 14 minutes for Chessum, he enjoyed a few carries.

21. Danny Care – 7.5
Won his 100th Test cap when sent on for Mitchell on 66 minutes. There were groans when he aimlessly box0kicked from the Irish 10-metre line but he finished his cameo by giving Smith the pass for the winning score.

22. Marcus Smith – 8
Back fit following his frustration February lay-off, he was ushered on with England looking to take advantage of the Peter O’Mahony yellow card. Didn’t have the heft to stop Lowe from getting in his first second in the corner but he wound up being a brilliant match-winner.

23. Elliot Daly – 6
Lost his starting sport to Feyi-Waboso, he came on for Slade with 14 minutes to go. Hit hard immediately by Bundee Aki and then wide with a penalty from just inside his own half.

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