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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Gerard Meagher at Twickenham

England 23-22 Ireland: Six Nations player ratings from Twickenham

Ben Earl in full flight against Ireland at Twickenham
Ben Earl in full flight against Ireland at Twickenham. Photograph: Tom Jenkins/The Guardian


George Furbank Some wonderful things - the break for Lawrence’s try and his own smartly taken score – but one or two errors too. 8

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso Impressive defensively and always looked to come off his wing. Couldn’t quite wriggle free but not for the want of trying. Key role in final passage of play. 7

Henry Slade Due a performance and was in the mood here. Lovely dummy to give Feyi-Waboso the ball in space and led defensive line well. 8

Ollie Lawrence Took his try well before being correctly denied another. Discipline needs to improve but does bring a carrying threat. 7

Tommy Freeman Looked dangerous whenever England could get him in space but one or two naive moments. Will no doubt learn from those. 7

George Ford When England clicked into gear he was often at the heart of it but a difficult day kicking at goal. Under pressure for his place. 7

Alex Mitchell Welcome return to side after injury and injected tempo into England’s attack. The jersey is his for the foreseeable future. 9

Ellis Genge Part of the more dominant front row and produced his most conspicuous carrying half under Steve Borthwick in the opening 40. 8

Jamie George (capt) One or two lineout problems but recovered well and showed up in the loose well. Takes plenty of credit for England’s marked improvement. 7

Dan Cole Ireland complained to the referee about his scrummaging, which he can take as a compliment. In the wars but soldiered on. 7

Maro Itoje Influence so often grows in big matches like this and once again he made his presence felt in the final quarter. 8

George Martin England’s enforcer. Struck first blood in battle with McCarthy with big tackle, then walloped Beirne on the brink of half-time and made sure he knew about it. 9

Ollie Chessum Thunderous tackle on Aki to force him into touch and performed his job in the lineout well. Developing into a key part of this side. 8

Sam Underhill Robust carry and offload to create the space for Furbank’s try and some typically tough tackling. Emptied the tank before making way on the hour. 8

Ben Earl Another sterling performance. Showed lovely footwork time and again and took his try well. England’s standout operator. 9

Replacements Theo Dan (for George, 54) 7; Joe Marler (for Genge, 54) 7; Will Stuart (for Cole, 54) 6; Chandler Cunningham-South (for Underhill, 61) 7; Alex Dombrandt (for Chessum, 66) 6; Danny Care (for Mitchell, 66) 6; Marcus Smith (for Ford, 58) 8; Elliot Daly (for Slade, 66) 8


Hugo Keenan Forced to right wing after Nash’s withdrawal, restored to full-back when Frawley went off and amid the chopping and changing, struggled to influence matters. 6

Calvin Nash Injured after six minutes when coming off second best in huge collision with Freeman in build-up to Lawrence’s try. 5

Robbie Henshaw Good choke tackle on Slade to earn Ireland a scrum but a relatively quiet game. Solid if unspectacular. 5

Bundee Aki Ran down Ford’s channel at every opportunity and often made yards. Lethal at the breakdown too. Outstanding at the World Cup and has maintained that form. 8

James Lowe Trusty left boot was as effective as ever and after a quiet first half with ball in hand he took his two tries superbly well early in the second. 8

Jack Crowley So composed for someone so new to the international set-up. Didn’t panic when England were on top and delayed pass delightfully in buildup to Lowe try. 8

Jamison Gibson-Park Such a reliable performer in this well-oiled machine and seamlessly filled in on the wing when called up. Killer pass for Lowe’s second try. 7

Andrew Porter Silly penalty conceded to ruin a promising position and met his match in Cole at scrum but always keeps plugging away. 6

Dan Sheehan Endured some lineout wobbles and could not affect proceedings from out wide in the way he so often does. 5

Tadhg Furlong A quiet game by his lofty standards. Ran into Genge in imperious form and couldn’t make his impact felt in set-piece or with ball in hand. 5

Joe McCarthy Arrived with a burgeoning reputation and while he made his tackles well and looked dangerous on occasion at close quarters England marshalled him well. 6

Tadhg Beirne Pinched a long England lineout and is always a menace. England did well to ensure he was not the force he can be. 6

Peter O’Mahony Justifiably shown a yellow card for cynical penalty and had his difficulties at the lineout too. A day to forget for Ireland’s captain. 5

Josh van der Flier Made good ground up the middle early on and continued in that vein. Excels at making yards through contact. Won key penalties at the breakdown too. 8

Caelan Doris Excellent defensive work with England battering away in the first half and had a land in Lowe’s try. Not the relentless force of nature he can be though. 7

Replacements Rónan Kelleher (for Sheehan, 63) Rolled up sleeves 6; Cian Healy (for Porter, 72) n/a; Finlay Bealham (for Furlong, 62) n/a; Iain Henderson (for McCarthy, 62) Struggled 5; Ryan Baird (for O’Mahony, 69) 6; Jack Conan (for Van der Flier, 63) n/a; Conor Murray (for Frawley, 50) 6; Kieran Frawley (for Nash, 6) 6

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