Home Rugby England Player Ratings V Ireland

England Player Ratings V Ireland

After England lost their first game in 19 matches and missed out on a back-to-back Grand Slam – thanks to a superb Irish defence – we rate the entire England 23 out of 10.

1) Joe Marler

A solid enough performance in the first half, but being replaced at half time was telling. He is likely to lose his spot to Vunipola post-Lions tour. 5

2) Dylan Hartley

You cannot dispute Hartley is a fantastic leader: back-to-back Championship titles (England had only previously won one since 2003) and 18 consecutive victories. However, he is not his country’s best hooker and despite a good performance against Scotland has looked below par all tournament. 4

3) Dan Cole

England’s anchor at the scrum, Cole got through a significant defensive shift (8 tackles in total), but still has a tendency to give away penalties.  5

Ireland v England - RBS Six Nations

4) Joe Launchbury

18 tackles in all and another impressive workmanlike performance from the Wasps lock – now seemingly England’s first choice second row. 7

5) Courtney Lawes

With Ireland putting England under huge pressure in defence, Lawes put in another fantastic contribution with 20 tackles in all and he was one of his team’s best players on a night of disappointment. 7

6) Maro Itoje

Not a great night for the young Saracens man – he made uncharacteristic mistakes and was thwarted at the lineout, plus gave away needless penalties. Yet Itoje still put in 20 tackles and made a nuisance of himself around the pitch. This is first defeat at international level and he will learn from it. 6

7) James Haskell

Constantly put his body on the line but sometimes lack the intelligence to go with his brute force – being caught up in the choke tackle was costly to his team. England still need to find a more traditional openside to bring better balance to the back row. 5

Ireland v England - RBS Six Nations

8) Billy Vunipola

Some will argue Vunipola should not have been brought in so quickly given his recent return from a serious knee injury, and the player looked underpowered and undercooked – although much credit must be given to Ireland’s defence for this. 5

9) Ben Youngs

Really struggled to produce the quick ball England needed to build up any attacking momentum, with Ireland skilfully slowing the ball down time after time. Youngs can be brilliant but he looked distinctly ordinary in this match, and although robbed of the chance of facing Lions rival Conor Murray, this opportunity to push his case to the team selectors was simply not taken. 5

10) George Ford

With an armchair ride provided by his forwards against Scotland, Ford was utterly brilliant last weekend at Twickenham. However, under pressure in defence – he put in 12 tackles in all – and severely restricted in terms of time and space by a relentless Irish defence with fantastic line speed, Ford struggled to get himself into the game. 5

11) Elliot Daly

A clever player with a box of tricks, but was given too few opportunities to show what he can do with the ball in hand. Daly is England’s most naturally gifted footballer and will continue to figure largely in Jones’ plans. 6

Ireland v England - RBS Six Nations

12) Owen Farrell

Despite another decent shift in defence and a reliable place kicking boot, Farrell couldn’t find a way through the green wall in front of him, not helped by the lack of quick ball being produced up front. 5

13) Jonathan Joseph

One fan commented to this writer during the game: “Was Joseph even playing?” With England lacking any decent possession for much of the game last week’s hat-trick hero was anonymous beyond the four tackles he put in. 4

14) Anthony Watson

Brought into the side after impressing off the bench against Scotland, but was given little opportunity to show what he could do in attacking play. Watson did put in a decent defensive shift but question marks will remain over who should make up England’s back three. 5

Ireland v England - RBS Six Nations

15) Mike Brown

This type of game in those conditions were perfect for Brown and his strengths: his aerial skills, his defensive prowess and his powerful boot. There is still a place for the Harlequins’ fullback’s old school style of play. 6

Finishers

Jamie George 5

Mako Vunipola 5

Kyle Sinckler 4

Tom Wood 5

Nathan Hughes 5

Danny Care 6

Ben Te’o 5

Jack Nowell 4

Paul Wassell, Pundit Arena

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