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Evening Standard
Evening Standard
Nick Purewal

England player ratings vs South Africa: Petulant Jonny Hill blunders costly in miserable Twickenham display

Jonny Hill endured an afternoon to forget, along with most of England’s other players

(Picture: Action Images via Reuters)

England ended a frustrating 2022 on a sour note as they were brushed aside by South Africa.

Eddie Jones’ side were found wanting in every department on another disappointing night at Twickenham, with the excellent Springboks muscling their way to an impressive 27-13 victory.

Kurt-Lee Arendse lit up the London evening with a tremendous first-half try, with Eben Etzebeth burrowing over after the interval to go along with 11 points from the boot of Faf de Klerk and two Damian Willemse drop goals.

Henry Slade gave England the briefest of late hopes with a score off the bench after Thomas du Toit’s red card, but seven days after staggering the All Blacks there was no comeback to be found.

The result means England lost more games than they won in a difficult calendar year, with much work to do ahead of the Six Nations and 2023 World Cup in France.

Here is how Nick Purewal rated the England players at Twickenham...


Freddie Steward 5

Battled manfully with the aerial bombardment but England were awfully aligned and rightly punished.

Tommy Freeman 4

Withdrawn at half-time after a pretty miserable outing in which nothing went right.

Manu Tuilagi 4

Has done so well simply to be back playing but yet to rediscover his power game.

Owen Farrell 4

Fluffed two regulation shots at goal and struggled to impose himself.

Jonny May 4

Criminally underused and left to look for work in vain.

Marcus Smith 4

Unable to make any magic happen in a chastening afternoon that looked to leave him with an injury.

Jack van Poortvliet 5

Pushed where he could but England were overwhelmed in all areas.


Mako Vunipola 4

Bested at the scrum alongside his fellow starting front-rowers.

Jamie George 4

Could not cope with the Springboks power.

Kyle Sinckler 4

Withdrawn with the rest of the front row at the break, struggled to make an impact.

Maro Itoje 5

Jones hailed his “second coming” this week but the Saracens totem was second best here.

Jonny Hill 3

Naive, niggly and petulant in conceding two needless and costly penalties. Hard men do not faff about like this.

Alex Coles 5

Struggled to impose himself on the contest.

Tom Curry 5

Sin bin was inevitable for England’s overall showing but the flanker was played off the park.

Billy Vunipola 5

Could not generate any power to his game at all.


Luke Cowan-Dickie (for George, 41) 5

Stabilised the scrum but could not add much more.

Ellis Genge (for M Vunipola, 41) 5

Put himself about but could not inspire a comeback.

Will Stuart (for Sinckler, 41) 5

Looked decent enough but appeared to suffer another injury.

David Ribbans (for Coles, 46) 6

One of the few bright sparks of this autumn. Must feature more.

Sam Simmonds (for B Vunipola, 56) 5

Had precious little chance to show his skillset.

Ben Youngs (for Van Poortvliet, 66) 6

Quick thinking yielded England’s only try.

Henry Slade (for Smith, 60) 6

Deserves so much more rugby in this team. Adds immediate backline balance.

Jack Nowell (for Freeman, 41) 5

Struggled to impose himself again.

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