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Player Ratings: England

England player ratings live from Groupama Stadium in Lyon: This was yet another Six Nations classic, a seven-try, 64-point thriller in which England commendably played their part, but that will be of cruel consolation as they agonisingly lost out 31-33 to a last-minute Thomas Ramos penalty stroked over from the halfway line.


On a day that started with them positioned in second place and still in the title race, their bus pulled into the ground in France with Ireland seeing out their 17-13 win in Dublin over Scotland to be crowned back-to-back champions.

That left England to focus on finishing as runners-up but that target was frustratingly wrested from their grip at the death after a penalty was called against Ben Earl.

This brilliant burst pushed them 24-16 in front on 46 minutes, but four quick changes to the pack would defensively hurt England.

By the hour mark, they were 24-30 behind but their defiance admirably kicked in again and they seemed to have landed the sucker punch via Freeman/Ford.

It wasn’t to be, though, the defeat meaning that the English now have just one win in their last eight round five Six Nations matches. That’s a painful stat to swallow.


Here are the England player ratings:

15. George Furbank – No rating
Seven measly minutes was all his ninth cap lasted for, the fullback limping to the sideline with his calf injured. He was replaced by Smith and his absence hurt England in defence.

14. Tommy Freeman – 8
He closed out an excellent campaign consisting of five successive starts with another fine contribution illuminated by his break which ignited the move for Lawrence’s second try and then his superb finish for the bonus point try.

13. Henry Slade – 5.5
With Furbank gone so early, he needed to defensively step up but he struggled. Eventually called ashore on the hour. A real pity as much more was expected.


12. Ollie Lawrence – 8
England’s most potent back on the night, he was handsomely rewarded with two tries. He swatted Gael Fickou aside for the first with the first half clock in the red and was again robust with his 42nd-minute carry before he reached out and executed a stylish finish. This will steel his confidence no end.

11. Elliot Daly – 5.5
Back in the starting team after Immanuel Feyi-Waboso ruled himself with a self-diagnosed concussion, the fear was he wouldn’t bring the oomph that the rookie managed and sadly this was the case.

10. George Ford – 8
Deserved to start despite the clamour after Smith’s drop-goal heroics last weekend and he shone very brightly. Stayed composed when England were under the first half pump and then came to the fore late in the second, having an exquisite touch in the Freeman try that he then expertly converted from out wide.

9. Alex Mitchell – 7
Played 70 and helped Ford to impress with his pass tempo. His box-kicking also slowed the game down whenever England needed to take sting from the French. What was lacking was the threat of a carry just to break the routine.

1. Ellis Genge – 8
Showed up very positively. Early scrum penalty win versus Uini Atonio got England their 3-0 lead, and his fine carrying was decorated by the popped pass he gave to Earl in the creation of the Smith try. A shame he only played 50 as there was surely much more in him.

2. Jamie George – 7
A less prominent display compared to his defiance versus the Irish. Can’t be happy that a stolen lineout was the catalyst for France’s first-half try, but he stuck at it until he too exited 10 minutes into the second half.

3. Dan Cole – 7
The veteran is the sort of fella you need in the trenches when your team is massively under the pump. Similar to the level-headed Ford, his composure helped England not to panic in the opening half but he won’t like watching back the replay of getting mugged twice by Damian Penaud on the penalty advantage that ended with France kicking 16-3 ahead.

4. Maro Itoje – 7
Like last week, this was a contest where the longer it went on the more he eventually grew into it.

5. George Martin – 7.5
The glue that bound together England’s great breakdown parts against the Irish, he had it tougher here. For example, he was beaten by Francois Cros at the stolen lineout that ended in France’s first try. Still, a very decent effort.

6. Ollie Chessum – 8
Clattering start that included one jolting tackle with England under the early cosh, he continued to be a defensive leader along with Earl. Capably grasped the lineout for the first Lawrence try but another hooked way too early, departing on 54 minutes.

7. Sam Underhill – 7
You can’t fault his work rate but too many missed tackles blotted his report. Gone on 67.

8. Ben Earl – 8
The round four rock star was a heavily marked man seven days later. Took 38 minutes before he had a carry of any significance but he exploded into life on the ball in the second half. Posted a colossal tackle count as well and it was unfortunate that his debatable no-arms tackle gave Ramos his kick to win.

16. Theo Dan – 6.5
Given a half-hour, he was busy with his tackling but won’t want to be reminded about the horrible lineout overthrow that gave France the ball for a try when they were trailing 24-16 and struggling.

17. Joe Marler – 5.5
Another 50th-minute introduction, he initially didn’t give England a lift but finished better.

18. Will Stuart – 5.5
See Marler.

19. Ethan Roots – 6
The fourth pack change at a time when momentum was England’s, he too took a while to settle before coming through later.

20. Alex Dombrandt – 5.5
Played the last 13 minutes for Underhill. Made little headway.

21. Danny Care – 6
Given the last 10 in place of Mitchell, he helped to quicken the pace and get England back in front.

22. Marcus Smith – 6.5
The toughest player to rate. A defensive liability who was shown up for two of the French tries, buying a dummy for one and not tackling Penaud hard enough for the other. Also gave France their first penalty points for a no-release. Still, his 72 minutes had very bright moments in attack, scoring on 46 minutes and then giving Freeman the assist 29 minutes later. The bottom line, though, was he isn’t an all-round fullback.

23. Manu Tuilagi – 5.5
Sent on for the last 20 minutes in place of Slade, he had little impact and the question now is whether his Test career is over as a move outside the Premiership is likely this summer.

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