Player Ratings: Good, just not good enough
OPINION: Never had Wales been such heavy underdogs going into a home game against bitter rivals England, and the questions how would they react to the scale of the defensive edifice facing them at the Parc Y Scarlets.
Many expected a hammering, but Wales were in this game for much of it and you fancy Wayne Pivac will secretly be very happy with what was gutsy performance.
Rugbypass writer Ian Cameron rates the Wales players
1. WYN JONES – 5.5/10
He has been Wales’ form prop this Autumn, but first blood went to Kyle Sinckler who won an early penalty off the Scarlet for collapsing. Very busy around the park, popping up everywhere, but the scrum is still a concern for Wales.
2. RYAN ELIAS – 5.5
Strong and aggressive on both sides of the ball, and was one of Wales’ better forwards this evening. He rarely lost a collision. But then there’s the lineout throwing, which is letting him down (Wales boast a risible 74 per cent success rate across the Autumn Nations Cup).
3. SAMSON LEE – 4
Struggled in the battle to contain England’s scrum, although Poite’s decision making creaked as much as the setpiece at times. Got the shepherd’s crook just after halftime.
4. JAKE BALL – 5
It was a chance for Ball to make a case for Wales’ heavily contested number four jersey, albeit against a team he has only beaten once in seven Wales’ outings. A solid outing but nothing that will elevate his place in Wales’ engine-room depth charts.
5. ALUN WYN JONES – 6.5
His constant gamesmanship got under England’s skin, with Maro Itoje notably having a relatively quiet night after a massive showing against Ireland. The Lions captaincy race isn’t over yet.
6. SHANE LEWIS-HUGHES – 6
Did well to hold up Billy Vunipola in the 50th minute, albeit only delaying an inevitable England try at the hands of Mako moments later. Was part of a Welsh pack that was more concerned with containing Englishmen as opposed to imposing their own will on the game. Replaced by Aaron Wainright.
7. JAMES BOTHAM – 7
You imagine Botham must be desperate to set out from the shadow of his famous grandad and stake his own name in a very different sport. Playing on the openside, Botham didn’t take a backward step and tackled everything that moved.
8. TAULUPE FALETAU – 7.5
The Lions No.8 was on form. Effective carrying and was used to carry back ball from deep with interest.
9. LLOYD WILLIAMS – 5
His first start for four years. Caught napping at the base of a ruck, ceding possession to the quick thinking English pack. Not a great audition for the jersey.
10. DAN BIGGAR – 7
Showed a cool head to charge down and set up Johnny Williams for his 11th-minute try. His kicking from hand impressed, even if he did get caught out by England’s line speed more than once.
11. JOSH ADAMS – 5
One of the few Welsh players in form coming into this encounter, he settled his nerves early with a well-taken overhead catch for a mark. A relatively quiet evening, as like fellow winger Rees-Zammit, he rarely gets any decent ball in this Welsh set-up.
12. JOHNNY WILLIAMS – 7
A beautiful touch to set up his first try for Wales. Wiliams already looks like a long-term contender for the Wales 12 jersey and it’s only his second cap. Owen Watkins will be sweating.
13. NICK TOMPKINS – 6
An eager beaver who’s always looking to make something happen. He and Williams look like a solid pairing.
14. LOUIS REES-ZAMMIT – 6
Barely touched the ball all night, but when he did be was electric. Looked very comfortable defending Jonathan Joseph and Anthony Watson respectively. Still waiting for Wales to get him some ball in space.
15. LEIGH HALFPENNY – 5
He’s clearly not the man claiming high balls that he once was. Still looks composed with ball in hand and when booting Wales out of trouble, even though he’s doesn’t offer a meaningful threat in attack.
18. TOMAS FRANCIS – 6
Scrum looked marginally better with Francis on, although the England eight generally had the whip hand.
20. AARON WAINWRIGHT – 6.5
Will have been p***ed off not to have started this one after an impressive outing against Georgia. Brought value.
21. RHYS WEBB – 6
Wales looked better with Webb running the show. He may be 31, but you fancy he might well make France 2023 at this rate.
By Ian Cameron, Rugbypass