As England rack up three wins from three in the Old Mutual Autumn Internationals with a resounding 48-14 win against the troubled Samoa we will again take a look at how each player performed. History will look back at this series as a dominant success, but have the performances really justified the plaudits this England team will receive? A distinctly average run out against Argentina, an improved but still far from their best performance against the Wallabies, but how did they do against Samoa? Let’s take a look at the individual player performances from yesterday.
15 Mike Brown, 7/10 Started like a house on fire with his early try with a smart line off Maro Itoje. Managed to hold up TJ Ioane over the line and always looked safe under the high ball. Solid performance and didn’t put a foot wrong but has he done enough to regain the 15 shirt from Anthony Watson?
14 Jonny May,7/10 Always scared Samoa with his sheer pace, chased all the kicks well and looked defensively sound. Showed a bit of class with his quick line out to himself and 30m run that kept the Samoan defence aware of May. Brought off the pitch with concussion shortly after the break.
13 Henry Slade, 7/10 Defended well for a man of his slight frame against a hugely physical Samoan back line. Has the brilliant knack of being able to deliver quality passes at full pace which really benefits his wingers. Eddie Jones will have a real headache who to pick at 13, not a bad problem to have.
12 Alex Lozowski, 8/10 Looks totally comfortable at International level, brings a different prospect at 12 than Owen Farrell, attacked well and took England’s second try with ease. Hits very hard for a converted fly half, although got hit pretty hard by Leiua he shook it off well. Will always be tough to take the place of Owen Farrell but can see him taking a bench spot in the upcoming Six Nations.
11 Elliot Daly, 8/10 Kick chase was very good, harassing Tim Nanai Williams that led to an England try. Took his two tries very well especially the second where he danced around two defenders and showed blistering pace to go in from 35m. still not entirely sure what his best position is but you’ve just got to get the man on the pitch somewhere, class!
10 George Ford, 8/10 Co-captain with Chris Robshaw, the Leicester fly half showed real maturity in his play, didn’t try to push too hard when England were seemingly cruising. Started some lovely back line moves and tactically kicked very well to keep the Samoans in their own half when needed. Looks to be a favourite of the Jones regime and is developing to be one of the world’s best.
9 Danny Care, 7/10 Took a big hit when he got himself in front of the ball in the first half. Always looks lively around the fringes and gives a slightly faster delivery than Ben Youngs. Didn’t play as well as he did last week where he had an exquisite cameo from the bench, does this prove he is more of a finisher than a starter? Either way, you always get 100% from the Harlequins man.
1 Ellis Genge, 7/10 Didn’t get as much action as the young Bristolian would have liked but looked solid enough in the scrum and as always hard as nails in defence. Thought Genge would have really prospered in an open running game that you often get from Samoa but England seem to spin the ball wide a little too often, bypassing the ball carrying talents in the England pack. Will find it tough to get a regular spot ahead of Marler and Vunipola but certainly seems to be a favourite of Eddie Jones.
2 Jamie George, 8/10 Line out was accurate, scrum was solid and his defence was good but what really sets George apart is his attacking play. You can really see the Saracen has learnt from Schalk Britz, his support lines were fantastic and his hands are as good as anyone’s. as shown by his pass to set up Lozowski’s try. His place in the starting line up for the Six Nations all depends on whether Jones see’s Hartley captaining the side in the next World Cup.
3 Dan Cole, 6/10 Gave away a penalty for coming in at the side but to be fair, anyone would have done it, it was worth the risk, made up a minute later with a turnover that started the move for an England try. Really worked on not giving penalties away in the past year or so and it has certainly benefitted his game. Can’t see anyone usurping Cole before the World Cup in Japan.
4 Joe Launchbury, 7/10 Much like Cole, Launchbury just very rarely puts in a bad show, Mr dependable never stops working hard. Unbelievable levels of effort are put in every week by Launchbury. England really are blessed in the second row department and can almost swap and change dependant on who they are playing, but for me the Wasps man would be the first name on my team sheet.
5 Charlie Ewels, 6/10 Not a bad outing for the Bath Lock but didn’t get too many chances to shine, took his try well when the opportunity came his way. Will be glad of his chance but in a position that England have four top class players Ewels will really struggle to stake any sort of claim for a starting jersey.
6 Maro Itoje, 7/10 I may be alone here but I think Itoje is a second row that can fit in at flank, not the other way round. Big athletic and busy around the pitch but didn’t really stamp his authority on the game. Found a bit lazy in attack a couple of times where he was far too flat rather than getting back and hit the ball at pace. Saying that, still a quality outing, I just think he can do better.
7 Chris Robshaw, 6/10 With England being on top much of the game and trying to play an expansive game it really didn’t suit Robshaw’s strengths. Worked as hard as always but in vein much of the time as England looked to hit the wings every time they got any ball.
8 Sam Simmonds, 8/10 Didn’t put a foot wrong, fielded the Samoan kicks well and ran them back hard and purposefully. A different prospect at 8 than Billy Vunipola or Nathan Hughes but no less impressive. Can’t help but think he will make a better finisher though, coming on against a tiring team his impressive pace will cause havoc.
Dylan Hartley 6 (George) Didn’t put a foot wrong without setting the game alight Joe Marler 6 (Genge) powerful in the scrum and defended well Harry Williams 7 (Cole) added a little more dynamism than Cole, one for the future Nick Isiekwe 6 (Ewels) Didn’t get much time to show what he can do but would have enjoyed his Twickenham debut Courtney Lawes 7 (Launchbury) Came on early and continued to impress with his physicality Ben Youngs 6 (Care) Didn’t have the same impact Care did last week Piers Francis 6 (Lozowski) Another one that didn’t have too much time but doesn’t look out of place at the International level Semesa Rokoduguni 7 (May) Great footwork and always has an eye for the try line, which isn’t a bad thing for a winger