1. Mako Vunipola
With Joe Marler taking a leave of absence, Mako has the chance to make the loosehead jersey his own during this tour. He started to do just that on Saturday, carrying well and more importantly, was part of a dominant front row.
Having not played much rugby since the Six Nations, Dylan led the side valiantly until he was replaced by Luke Cowan-Dickie in the 72nd minute. His line out darts were just as important as his quick strike in the scrum.
After suffering at scrum time against the same opposition during the World Cup, England hit back on Saturday, dismantling Australia at the set piece. Key to that success was Dan Cole, who used his experience to decimate Scott Sio.
Maro was ever present throughout the first test. His voice could constantly be heard over the referee’s microphone, encouraging his teammates to give further effort. He is not just a presence on the pitch, but a leader.
Brilliant in the line out yet again, George reacted to the challenge laid down by Joe Launchbury against Wales. He has very quickly become a key cog in Eddie Jones’ team.
Although James Haskell may have received all the plaudits, Chris’ work rate was second to none. The way in which he closed Michael Hooper down following Owen Farrell’s missed penalty epitomised his character.
Man of the match with a massive 18 tackles and three turnovers, James was a constant thorn in Australia’s side. His hit on David Pocock was a particular highlight, and won three vital points for England.
Credit must go to Australia for keeping Billy quieter than usual, but he still managed to carry the ball on 12 occasions last weekend.
Worked brilliantly at the base of the scrum, providing Owen Farrell and George Ford with a constant supply of clean ball. Ben remains ahead of Danny Care on the pecking order.
Showed exactly what he could do after replacing Luther Burrell after 27 minutes. George’s pass to Marland Yarde was beautifully floated, while his chip kick for Jack Nowell’s try was sublime. He may just be finding form at the right time.
Although I wouldn’t have picked him last week, Marland’s performance has him in the team for the second test. Took his try brilliantly, and was physical against the big Aussie ball carriers.
Eddie’s policy of using both Owen and George as playmakers in the same team is flourishing. Owen’s defensive strength will be tested again on Saturday, but Australia’s big centre combination couldn’t get the better of him last weekend.
Scored a try and made his tackles, what more do you do you want from your centre?
Anthony may not have been as dangerous as he was during the Six Nations, but he is still the best finisher in the country. Like his teammates, he worked hard and was sound in defence.
Andy Goode, Pundit Arena