Sat 28 Nov 2020 | 11:08

Player Ratings: Still unbeaten

Player Ratings: Still unbeaten
Sat 28 Nov 2020 | 11:08
Player Ratings: Still unbeaten
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OPINION: After recording victories over Georgia and Ireland, England wrapped up their pool stage journey at the Nations Cup with a laboured 24-13 win over Wales at Parc y Scarlets in Llanelli.

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It was not the polished all-court performance that Eddie Jones would have ideally liked heading into the  Nations Cup final next weekend, though it is fair to say that at no point did England look like losing the game.

Yet again, it was the physicality of the forwards which shone through for the Australian’s charges.

Rugbypass writer Alex Shaw rates the England players 

Elliot Daly – 7/10
A strong showing from Daly whose quick catch and pass turned the edge of the Welsh defence and made Henry Slade’s try possible. His defence was also physical and effective, as well as popping up in midfield and utilising his distribution to counter Wales’ line-speed.

Jonathan Joseph – 7
It was not the game for a wing to thrive out wide and Joseph’s best moments with ball in hand came when he went looking for work in the midfield. Where did thrive, though, was in the kick chase and aerial contest, coming out on top on multiple occasions.

Henry Slade – 6
A mixed bag in the first half for Slade, whose attempted kick, with too little time and space, was returned by Wales for a try, though he redeemed himself with England’s first score of the game. It just didn’t quite click for Slade offensively.

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Owen Farrell – 6
The fly-half shook off the nerves after missing his first two kicks and proceeded to make the next five from the tee. He was solid, particularly in defence, without ever quite reaching the heights he is capable of. England’s kick-heavy approach didn’t overly play into his hands as a second playmaker.

Jonny May – 7
May was a willing chaser and good aerial competitor all game long, and certainly helped pressure Wales on England’s kicks, though there were not too many other opportunities for the speedster to impose himself on the game.

George Ford – 6
A decent outing from Ford, without quite stamping his authority on the game in the way he would have liked. His carrying at first receiver was incisive, though a couple of his kicks went out on the full and he was not able to fully execute England’s plans with his boot.

Ben Youngs – 6
It was a livelier second half from Youngs, after a number of his kicks didn’t seem to quite be in synergy with England’s chase in the first half. His passing was accurate and quick from the base, too.

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Mako Vunipola – 8
In addition to drawing two penalties out of Samson Lee at the scrum, Vunipola contributed significantly to an English set-piece that was largely on top of their Welsh counterparts throughout the game in Llanelli. The loosehead carried strongly, too, and was good value for his second half try.

Jamie George – 8
A thoroughly impressive showing from George, who was highly influential in the loose as a ball-carrier and link option in the wide channels, as well as connecting on all eight of his lineouts.

Kyle Sinckler – 7
Sinckler carried well at first receiver, worked hard to seal the edge in the maul and prospered at the scrum, drawing a penalty out of Wyn Jones.

Maro Itoje – 6
It was not a poor performance from Itoje by any means, though the lock was not quite as defensively destructive as he often can be. The nuts and bolts were done, certainly, with particular success disrupting Wales’ lineout.

Joe Launchbury – 8
A typically physical outing for Launchbury. He was frequently at the forefront of England’s kick-chase and his power in the tackle gave him plenty of success on the gain-line. He ran some clever out-to-in lines in the tight, too, bringing England valuable metres and front-foot ball.

Tom Curry – 8
A classy all-round performance from the young back rower, who was targeted multiple times in the lineout, was a persistent nuisance on the counter-ruck, won a turnover and was flawless on the kick receipt and carry. A performance that suggested he can fill any role in Jones’ back row.

Sam Underhill – 8
One of England’s more effective ball-carriers on the day, Underhill was an incisive option on the inside or outside shoulder of England’s first receiver forwards. The openside made a number of scything, physically dominant tackles that erased Welsh momentum.

Billy Vunipola – 6
Vunipola was solid across the board against Wales, with his carrying, kick receipts and tackling all efficient and positive on the gain-line for the most part.

Replacements: 

Luke Cowan-Dickie – 6
A big tackle seconds after coming on helped England to a turnover, whilst he also made the two lineouts he was on the pitch for.

Ellis Genge – 6
A statement first scrum from Genge, who tore into Tomas Francis after the Welsh tighthead had looked as though he’d brought his side a bit of parity at the set-piece.

Will Stuart – 6
Minutes on the pitch were limited for Stuart following his late arrival, though he did grab a turnover after the Welsh carrier helped him out by falling at his feet.

Jonny Hill – 6
Good energy and kick-chase from Hill after replacing Launchbury.

Ben Earl – n/a
Came on too late to have any real influence on the game.

Jack Willis – 7
Unsurprisingly burgled himself a turnover in his late cameo and continues to show he can make an impact in the Test arena.

Dan Robson – n/a
Came on too late to have any real influence on the game.

Anthony Watson – 7
Watson maintained every bit of the energy on the kick chase and aerial ability of Joseph when he arrived in the second half.

By Alex Shaw, Rugbypass

PV: 30
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Player Ratings: Still unbeaten | Rugby365