Player Ratings: Reality Check for Rennie
OPINION: Both England and Australia came into the third and final test of their series with promising performances under their belt.
Discipline and execution would be the deciding factor between two teams hitting some great international form and utilising their strengths effectively.
Australia deployed their third-choice fullback due to an injury list which also includes both their starting locks, openside flanker, and x-factor first five-eighth Quade Cooper. England entered the decider with their own injury toll, with three of their players leaving the team in favour of home recovery.
The English side came through in the end with timely breakdown turnovers, absorbing Australia’s attack as the hosts ran up the phase play and made good ground through their attacking possession. The English defence kicked up a gear when backed into their own 22, showing composure through the pressure being applied and picking their moments to devastate the Wallabies’ hopes of another comeback.
There were, however, some very positive signs for both sides looking ahead to next year’s World Cup. No doubt, Australia’s focus will be on consistency at the breakdown to maintain their platform and see some reward on the scoreboard for their attacking prowess. The English will be looking to maintain some more possession and apply pressure through their tactical territorial game.
Ned Lester rates the Australian players
1. James Slipper – 7/10
Another huge shift. Scrum penalties were flowing both ways this game, the Aussie scrum looked most dominant at the end of the game when the fresh legs of Alaalatoa came on. Slipper was solid in defence around the ruck.
2. Dave Porecki – 6.5
Another solid all-around game, doing the little things right – and isn’t required to do much more.
3. Taniela Tupou – 6
Wasn’t able to put his stamp on this one. Got penalised at scrum time and a handling error cost some early momentum.
4. Nick Frost – 5.5
Had one or two good runs, it’s obviously not something they’re looking for from him but he finds himself in the right spot at the right time and makes the most of it. Handled the lineout well.
5. Matt Phillip – 7
Started the game with a great play, charging down the return kick and then earning a great steal. Uses his frame well around the park.
6. Harry Wilson – 6
A quiet night for Harry. Usually such a good ball carrier but looked a bit off out of his familiar role. Still, mobile around the park and did the dirty work in the clean-outs to allow Nic White to do his thing.
7. Michael Hooper – 7.5
Immense work rate, as usual, looked like he was getting the Richie McCaw treatment the way the English were hitting him every time he carried. Excels in the ruck work keeping the ball readily available for his side.
8. Rob Valetini – 6
Didn’t see quite as much ball as in previous weeks but offered his usual physicality with his limited touches.
9. Nic White – 8
Another class performance. Tested England’s fitness with his quick delivery and variety of running options.
10. Noah Lolesio – 6.5
Started the game by missing a penalty from an advantageous position and then threw an intercept. Settled into his role and made some tricky conversions. With such physical runners coming off his shoulder, he distributed well – but his outstanding halfback does a lot of that for him.
11. Marika Koroibete – 7
This man is as consistent as they come. Made metres with most touches and often popped up around the park away from his wing.
12. Samu Kerevi – 7.5
Seemingly a cheat code for front-foot ball off the set piece. Decent work rate defensively despite being another victim of the Ellis Genge avalanche.
13. Hunter Paisami – 7
Good physical running game. Used as a decoy rather than a distributer in a lot of play.
14. Tom Wright – 8
Made the most of all opportunities that came his way. Handled the high ball well, defended with strength and found space outside the English line.
15. Reece Hodge – 6.5
A shaky start with his early kicks being surprisingly conservative but showcased his power and precision as the game wore on. Had some nice touches on attack after butchering a couple early. Dwarfed by Freddie Steward in the air.
16. Folou Faniga’a – 7.5
Does a great job of backing himself close to the line, picking a smaller body and running straight at them. Made a couple more good runs in centre field, contributing well to his side’s momentum.
17. Angus Bell – N/A
Barely touched the field
18. Allan Alaalatoa – 7
Good intensity, had a positive impact aside from a knock-on. Looked strong in the scrum.
19. Rob Leota – 5
Looked to be dangerous lurking wide but didn’t see much ball.
20. Pete Samu – 7.5
Again came on and had an immediate impact, very dangerous with ball in hand.
21. Tate McDermott – 7
Was able to play on top of the ball and picked out strong ball runners, maintaining momentum well.
22. Len Ikitau – 6.5
Some quality touches in limited opportunities.
23. Suliasi Vunivalu – 5
Did as much as you could expect from someone with three minutes of game time.
By Ned Lester, Rugbypass