Six Nations 2013 England v France: England player ratings
15. Alex Goode: 6
Did everything that was asked of him. A couple of up-and-unders were perhaps a little misguided, but other than that it was a solid afternoon for Goode. He may need to show a little more of the attacking threat that propelled him into the public conscience, but for now his place is probably safe.
14. Chris Ashton: 5
Very suspect again defensively, and not only for the Fofana try. Completely outwitted on that occasion, although to be fair he was not the only one. Still works hard to get on the ball in attack, but defences seem to have worked him out. Will be sweating under the pressure of other wingers in form in the Premiership.
13. Manu Tuilagi: 9
England’s stand-out back by some distance and easily their most potent attacking threat. Consistently got over the gain-line and while there was a large slice of luck leading up to his try, he still showed good pace to get over the line. Proved why he must be one of the first names on the teamsheet in future.
12. Brad Barritt: 7
Seven is very much Barritt’s number: he never has a bad game, and yet rarely stands out either. Vital to the defensive efforts of the team, although with Italy to come next it will be mightily tempting to try out a Twelvetrees-Tuilagi axis in the midfield.
11. Mike Brown: 6
Another to be solid without sparkling, Brown showed good pace for one outside break but other than that did very little. Unfair to judge him on past performances, but it is interesting that he was nowhere near the top of the metres made stats, something which he has dominated in recent games.
10. Owen Farrell: 5
Not Farrell’s finest afternoon in an England shirt. Seemed riled up about something, needlessly trying to wind-up the French players after every tiny mistake they made. Threw a couple of wayward passes and even horribly shanked a penalty – something we haven’t seen for a while. Was replaced by the vastly more effective Flood after picking up an injury, which perhaps contributed to the lacklustre nature of his performance.
9. Ben Youngs: 7
Under increasing pressure from Danny Care, Youngs will have wanted a little more from his performance on Saturday. His arcing runs can look silly at times but his devastating pace means they can be deadly – sadly this weekend he was more or less well shackled by Morgan Parra (who was inexplicably subbed in the second half) and chums.
1. Joe Marler: 4
It speaks volumes that the scrum was substantially shored up after the arrival on 51 mins of Mako Vunipola. Not a good afternoon for the Harlequins loose-head, who was also fairly anonymous in the loose. It would not surprise many to see Vunipola starting against Italy.
2. Dylan Hartley: 5
Brought back in to provide bulk and boisterousness against an aggressive French pack, but failed to show much of either. Another to be taken off early in the second half and be outplayed by their replacement.
3. Dan Cole: 7
An pilfering presence at the breakdown, he has surely confirmed himself as the best front-row forward at that part of the game in the world. It is a shame, then, that he suffered at scrum time. He wasn’t helped by the two men next to him, mind you, but will still be disappointed that he couldn’t assert the dominance that he is used to.
4. Joe Launchbury: 8
Topped the tackle stats with 15, a figure that reflects just how busy he was in the loose. A couple of strong carries added to another exemplary performance from the young Wasp.
5. Geoff Parling: 7
Was typically triumphant at line-out time, claiming five in total, and along with his partner in the engine room showed impressive energy to put in another 80-minute stint.
6. Courtney Lawes: 4
The Lawes experiment did not work. Brought in to intimidate France physically he looked off the pace for an international back-row forward and was even knocked backwards in the tackle a couple of times. Credit to Lancaster for realising his mistake and taking him off after 50 mins.
7. Chris Robshaw: 9
Simply superb again from Robshaw. His hunger to get his hands on the ball is hugely impressive, and he again topped the carries chart with 16 – six more than any of his teammates. He is the ideal leader for this team and for Lancaster’s reign, typifying all the qualities that the coach holds dear.
8. Tom Wood: 7
Showed glimpses of some nice hands and carried more than he usually would. Tackled his heart out as always, but must take some of the blame for a faltering scrum. Out of position, and not as bulky as Morgan or Waldrom, he lacks the power to back-up the front five. Still a vital part of this England team, he should be returned to his favoured position on the blind-side.
The 50-minute men all made a big difference. Mako Vunipola shored up the scrum, Tom Youngs was a tyro in the loose and James Haskell added a physicality that Lawes could not. Danny Care was again impressive in a twenty minute cameo, but probably did not do enough to suggest he should start ahead of Youngs. The biggest winner from the bench was arguably Toby Flood, who showed a willingness to attack the gain-line that Farrell did not.
By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43