England opened their 6 Nations campaign with with a strong second half comeback against Wales in Cardiff. Here’s how the individual players performed.
Joe Marler – 7 – Best moments came at the set piece in the first half, but solid throughout.
Dylan Hartley – 7 – Some good moments in the loose, but found himself isolated and penalised (albeit sometimes harshly) once or twice.
Dan Cole – 7 – Along with Marler, responsible for giving England the strong platform they needed from the scrum.
Dave Attwood – 7 – Strong in defence, unlucky to have a late try disallowed.
George Kruis – 8 – An excellent first start for the young Saracen, he was responsible for a few big hits and turnovers.
James Haskell – 9 – As good a game as we’ve seen from Haskell in a long time. Brilliant in defence and dangerous in attack. Came close to scoring, and will no doubt be mercilessly teased for running in to the posts, even if that was down to good cover by Alex Cuthbert and Taulupe Faletau.
Chris Robshaw – 8 – A typically committed Robshaw performance. Strong work in defence and around the breakdown. Never the flashiest performer, so often overlooked, Robshaw has really developed into a top-class Number 7 and an improving leader.
Billy Vunipola – 7 – Carried strongly throughout, but mostly kept in check by a strong Welsh back row.
Ben Youngs – 7 – Would have benefited from playing on the front foot more, replaced by Richard Wigglesworth just as England started to dominate the game.
George Ford – 9 – Managed the game superbly, especially given the inexperienced partnership outside him. Missed a couple of kicks, but made the important one at the end when nerves must have been jangling.
Jonny May – 6 – A quiet game from one of England’s stars of the Autumn.
Luther Burrell – 6 – An up and down game summed up by starting a break with a great show & go, followed by a poor pass behind he supporting Mike Brown. Probably did enough to retain his place for the next game, but Manu Tuilagi won’t be worrying just yet.
Jonathan Joseph – 9 – Explosive in attack, and excellent is defence, Joseph has given England fans thoughts of a tantalising prospect, Tuilagi’s strength and size inside, with Joseph’s pace and power outside him. Scored a much needed try after James Haskell’s incident with the post, using quick feet and surprising power to beat the (admittedly less than stellar) tackle attempts from Rhys Webb and George North.
Anthony Watson – 9 – Dependable under the high ball, and looked confident in defence against the Northern Hemisphere’s in form player in North. Took his try well and impressed throughout.
Mike Brown – 8 – A perfectly weighted grubber kick through for Watson’s try punctuated the consistency we’ve come to expect from Brown in defence.
Subs: Mako Vunipola – 7; Tom Youngs – 7; Kieran Brookes – 6; Richard Wigglesworth – 8; Nick Easter – 6; Billy Twelvetrees – 8; Tom Croft, Danny Cipriani – N/A.