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Player Ratings: Wales

OPINION: A young Welsh side was asked to go to Twickenham and show some fight and that they did.

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Daring on attack and ferocious around the breakdown, they made England look ordinary at times.

But a distinct lack of quality, as well as enough heft, meant they couldn’t get the better of England’s rush defence. Red runners were smothered by white shirts and when the match coalesced into a struggle of will, the team with more nous won out.

Wales will be proud but also annoyed that they let this slip. They’re not necessarily a better team than England. But they were mostly better here which is why some high scores are found below.

How the Welsh players rated!

15 – Cameron Winnett – 8
Didn’t merely catch high balls and hoof them back. He showed maturity and composure, looking up with the intent to impact the game. And when fielding under pressure he demonstrated the strength to keep the ball alive. gets extra points for a one-on-one tackle on the much larger Tommy Freeman that saved a try early in the second half.

14 – Josh Adams – 5
Solid, but mostly on the periphery. Still, strength and quick feet in the close exchanges meant he beat several defenders. When he finally had space on 56 minutes, he neither had the pace to burn around the last defender nor enough might hold him up. That felt like a big moment with the score reading 8-14. Hooked on the hour for Mason Grady.

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13 – George North – 5.5
Was mostly quiet but had the most penetrating run of any Welsh back looking to punch through England’s line. Needed to have more of those impacts with the ball in hand, but his larger frame was a weapon on the counter ruck. One shove in particular on 67 minutes procured a turnover against a possible overlap.

12 – Nick Tompkins – 4
Struggled to provide any strike force through midfield. Also guilty of giving the ball away after a 24-phase move when he recklessly chucked an off-load from the ground. Worse perhaps was the custard-soft penalty he gave away when Adams kicked from his own in-goal area to gift England three points.

11 – Rio Dyer – 6.5
This felt like a more senior, accomplished performance from Dyer. His darting runs – like the one where he reached the safety of his 22 after collecting a pass under his own poles – weren’t just brave, they were calculated. Also frenetic on defence, shutting down width.

10 – Ioan Lloyd – 7.5
Dallied on the ball and, like a sacked quarterback, was monstered by Maro Itoje under his own sticks. That ended with Ben Earl running over Lloyd to score. But that was one blight. The young flyhalf was brave and skilful, showing great ambition in his play when kicking or running. Could have benefited from more punch through the rush, but didn’t need a midfield thanks to his sniper-accurate cross-kicks. Showed that last week’s tricks weren’t just a consequence of the hopeless situation. Made way after the 80th minute for Cai Evans.

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9 – Tomos Williams – 6.5
It was his frenetic spark that turned the game against Scotland last week. Here he showed a more controlled side to his game. Nothing too flashy, he continued to find his close-in runners and – mostly – his areas when box kicking. Replaced by Kieran Hardy with seven minutes to play.

1 – Gareth Thomas – 6
Won a big scrum penalty after a stodgy sequence when the game was scoreless, allowing Wales to scratch out a foothold. Sinned when he went early on another scrum when Wales had the feed on England’s line. Mostly good though. Lasted 58 minutes before Corey Domachowski replaced him.

2 – Elliot Dee – 6
On a long list, it was the line-out that was most abject in Wales’ game last week. Dee’s accuracy here meant England wouldn’t get handed free balls at the set-piece. It was a brave call to go to the back of the line within striking distance, but it worked and Wales won a penalty try from the subsequent maul. Good on the loose as well. Subbed on 55 minutes for Ryan Elias.

3 – Keiron Assiratti – 6
Showed aggression at the breakdown and contributed to the loss. Held his own in the scrum. Replaced by Archie Griffin on 55 minutes.

4 – Dafydd Jenkins – 4.5
A totem at the line-out, he lacked enough grunt to punch holes through the rush defence. Wanted the ball. Battled to get go-forward when he had it.

5 – Adam Beard – 5
A hefty presence at set piece, he couldn’t replicate that anywhere else on the park. Wales had the upper hand on a few metrics, but their engine doesn’t have the requisite torque to boss around the fringe. Replaced by Will Rowlands on 69 minutes.

6 – Alex Mann – 6.5
Scored his Test second try after as many matches thanks to a lovely supporting run for Williams after Tommy Reffell busted through a gap. Was too easily brushed off by Earl and perhaps needed a bit more grunt at times. But was busy, getting himself about, acting as a presence. Sometimes that’s enough. Switched for Taine Basham on 69 minutes.

7 – Tommy Reffell – 9
Outstanding. A typical all-energy show that also included world-class touches. Having just carried up-field a minuter before half-time, he got up, carried again, stepped, off-loaded and found Williams on his inside. That ended with Mann’s score but it was Reffell’s try. Was also a menace at the breakdown, coming up with momentum-swinging steals in both halves and made more tackles than any other Welshman. Elite.

8 – Aaron Wanwright – 7
Wales’ best player last week continued his form here. Rangy runs, athletic grabs under high balls, he also offered a target at the line-out.

16 – Ryan Elias – 5
Hit the first jumper but missed his most important throw when Wales had to chase the game.

17 – Corey Domachowski – 4
Asked to join the scene by scrumming against Dan Cole. Didn’t struggle as much as fellow substitute Archie Griffin, but didn’t win his personal duel.

18 – Archie Griffin – 3.5
Struggled against the vastly more experienced Ellis Genge and gave away a penalty which was kicked into the corner. Made a handful of tackles to earn half a mark.

19 – Will Rowlands – n/a
Came on too late to impact the game.

20 – Taine Basham – n/a
Came on too late to impact the game.

21 – Kieran Hardy – n/a
Came on too late to impact the game.

22 – Cai Evans – n/a
Brought on after the 80th minute.

23 – Mason Grady – 0
It might seem harsh to put too much emphasis on his 70th-minute yellow card – for a deliberate knock-on in his own 22 as English backs formed on his outside – but that was his most significant contribution. The result was England taking the lead for the first time. If that’s not a score of 0 then one doesn’t exist.

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