Player Ratings: A long way to go
OPINION: It’s not been an easy few weeks for Welsh rugby. With fans unsure whether the England game would go ahead 72 hours from kick-off, it almost felt easy to forget Wales were battered in Murrayfield only two weeks ago. The fact Wales took the field in itself was commendable, but this is test rugby, and England don’t take any prisoners.
It was a valiant effort by Wales – their best of the Six Nations by a mile, low though the bar is. Wales were beaten by a better England team.
Will Owen from @RugbyPass rates the Welsh players:
15. Leigh Halfpenny – 6.5
Supreme in the air and made the right calls to kick. Rescued Wales from some tough positions.
14. Josh Adams – 6
Typically solid on the wing. Chased kicks well and was very physical. Bizarrely substituted after 55 minutes.
13. Mason Grady – 6.5
Looked confident on debut – slipped out of a tackle to set Adams free early on and forced an error from Ollie Lawrence. Went quiet in the second half, but a decent first cap for the youngster.
12. Joe Hawkins – 7
Hawkins’ first carry was fantastic and he generally made correct decisions. Made a fantastic kick on the front foot to force van Poortvliet into an error.
11. Louis Rees-Zammit – 5.5
Had a quiet first half before he made a break near the end. Had a dream start to the second half committing daylight robbery on Malins.
10. Owen Williams – 7.5
A significant improvement on Biggar. Looked to kick on the front foot and pulled the trigger at the right moments. Wales could’ve done with him for an extra ten minutes if not for his injury. The tactic of kicking to Steward was helpful, despite what some may say!
9. Tomos Williams – 5
Made a nice break off a quick tap, but Wales’ structure off the back of it was poor. Williams wasn’t bad by any means, but a couple of not-quite-perfect passes allowed England the opportunity to get off the line.
1. Gareth Thomas – 4.5
Was rocked by a poor tackle on Ludlam 10 minutes in. Was generally pretty quiet.
2. Ken Owens – 6
Had a quiet first half but made a huge shot on Farrell early in the second. Not mind-blowing, but good.
3. Tom Francis – 6
Had a word with Mattheiu Raynal and won a couple of scrum penalties. Perfectly solid game.
4. Adam Beard – 6
Beard upped his performance by a few per cent and won a couple of turnovers from mauls and was solid at lineout time.
5. Alun-Wyn Jones – 7.5
People will watch Jones receiving a hospital pass and getting nailed by Itoje and think he’s finished. Jones was excellent at set-piece and made some truly fantastic clearouts when he had no right.
6. Christ Tshiunza – 5.5
Made a couple of early errors including one in the wide channel. Solid in the contact area, but not outstanding.
7. Justin Tipuric – 5.5
Went about his business through most of the game and came up with a huge turnover towards the end.
8. Taulupe Faletau – 7.5
Immediate impact from talismanic Toby as the number 8 won an early turnover and charged Farrell down. Did a super-human job of rescuing Wales at times.
16. Bradley Roberts – 3
Overthrew a lineout which proved costly.
17. Rhys Carre – 7
Made a great take and went forward whenever he had the ball.
18. Dillon Lewis – N/A
No significant impact.
19. Dafydd Jenkins – N/A
20. Tommy Reffell – 5.5
Had a few attempts at turnovers, but didn’t quite grow into the game.
21. Kieran Hardy – 7
Wales’ tempo skyrocketed as soon as Hardy came on. If only he was on for longer!
22. Dan Biggar – 5.5
Made a couple of nice takes but didn’t get much opportunity to turn the game.
23. Nick Tompkins – 5