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Saturday Mar 9, 2024

England player ratings: England wake Twickenham up with huge victory

England have defeated Ireland at Twickenham in what was arguably their best performance since their 2019 World Cup semi-final victory over New Zealand.

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Each and every member of the England team were clearly fired up and prepared to take down an Ireland side lining up their second grand slam in a row. The victory not only ends these dreams, but also halts Ireland’s 11 game Six Nations win streak – a streak that has only been achieved once before – by England.

The match shot forwards and backwards from minute 1 to minute 80. Neither side was ever assured of victory in what will go down as an almighty clash between the two sides.

The match finished 23 – 22 to the home side.

England player ratings:

George Furbank: 7.5

A refreshing performance from a player who many believe to be slightly fortunate to be occupying with fullback position. Making a case for a permanent hold of the 15 shirt, Furbank displayed incredible attacking intent with his direct running opened up the Irish defence on multiple occasions. Sadly on the end of a couple of suspect passes, he made some simple mistakes which slightly shadowed his overall performance.

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso: 8

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A complete performance from a player that looked to have 21 years of experience – not be the age of 21. He pressed well in defence and looked incredibly threatening every time he received the ball in attack.. His inexperience told once when giving away an important penalty in the ruck – but otherwise a freakishly impressive showing for someone making their starting debut.

Henry Slade: 7

The Exeter lad was a key component of England’s attack in the first half, displaying some of the skills that have gained him such a respectable reputation over the years. His impressive form diminished quickly after half time, however. At fault for Ireland’s second try after rushing out of the line and creating a dogleg, he was replaced midway through the half for Elliot Daly. First half display would have got him top marks.

Ollie Lawrence: 7

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Brilliant finish to take England’s first try. Took control of the crash ball on multiple occasions and proved to be an absolute menace in attack. Caught out on a couple of infringements and put Furbank in trouble with a mistimed pass in the first half – casting shadow over an otherwise solid performance.

Tommy Freeman: 7

Freeman is an interesting one. He never appears to do anything wildly special, but he also never appears to make a mistake. Another typical performance from the Northampton player today with multiple solid carries and an important defensive display.

George Ford: 7.5

The playmaking maestro dictated the play well throughout. A huge part of England’s early attack, Ford was a vital cog in England’s early dominance. A couple of wayward drop goals, a missed penalty and an up-and-under or two that went south dampened an otherwise great performance from the Sale Shark.

Alex Mitchell: 7

He was a key component in England’s super-fast tempo which blew the Irish boys away. England’s lack of ability to take the points alongside the territory could well be put down to the lack of direction at nine. He will continue to improve as he grows into the international game – but another good step forward.

Ellis Genge: 9

It started poorly for the baby rhino after an early offside was followed up by the front rower failing to focus on the breakdown as Ireland made their first snipe. This proved to be a minor blip, with Genge turning causing pure chaos in the Ireland defence for the remainder of his time on the field.

Jamie George (Captain): 8

The charismatic captain was everywhere. Led by example by taking on multiple crash ball lines. The line out and scrum were solid – Borthwick couldn’t have asked for any more from his captain.

Dan Cole: 7

He might be one of the older boys in the squad, but the energy he put into this performance wouldn’t suggest so. A vital component in a forward pack that gave the backs so much footing.

Maro Itoje: 7

A typically dominant performance from one of England’s key figures. His standards remain so high that when he fails to dazzle it can appear a poor performance.

George Martin: 8.5

A solid performance from the man that Jamie George simply described as ‘Oomph’. Needs to be careful with infringements, but otherwise a very impressive performance from a young man with plenty of potential.

Ollie Chessum: 8

Dominant throughout. Sending Bundee Aki flying into touch with a huge hit summed up the day for the versatile giant.

Sam Underhill: 7.5

Invisible…but that is the sort of player he is. Does the dirty work which allows the rest of the team to fly, with a couple of golden moments himself. Well deserved of his place in the side.

Ben Earl: 9

Speed of a winger, footwork of a fullback, power of a front row – just clone him 15 times and have done with it.

England’s Marcus Smith scores the winning drop goal during the Six Nations international rugby union match between England and Ireland at Twickenham Stadium in south-west London, on March 9, 2024. (Photo by Adrian DENNIS / AFP) (Photo by ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP via Getty Images)

Replacements

Theo Dan: 7

Didn’t put a foot wrong when he came on for the England captain. A young player but plays with the confidence of someone much older.

Joe Marler: 7

Solid, unrelenting and reliable. A typical performance from the prop.

Will Stuart: 7

Secure in the scrum and held his own in the tackle. Another player that doesn’t steal the limelight, but goes ahead and does his job well.

Chandler Cunnigham-South: 8

A monster with the ball in hand. The Twickenham faithful build up a rumble of anticipation every time the big man trundled towards the Irish defensive line. Forced of with an injury, but has put forward a case for a test start.

Alex Dombrandt: 7

Made one impressive carry down the wing, offloading the ball in inches of space. Will struggle to make a regular contribution to the side with Ben Earl currently commanding the 8 shirt though.

Danny Care: 7

One awful decision to grubber kick through when England needed to keep hold of the ball. Putting that aside, the centurion added his typical zip to the England attack which kept the Irish team on the backfoot for the remaining few minutes.

Marcus Smith: 9

His talents were on full display in the last 20 minutes, with his trademark goosestep causing havoc in an Irish defence not-used to the speed of play. Drop goal winner, only Marcus.

Elliot Daly: 4

Poor first kick from hand, giving the ball back to Ireland. Triple miss pass was fortunately captured by Freeman on the wing after bobbling along the floor. Missed vital, albeit very hard, penalty. Overall not a good day at the office for the immensely talented Daly. But, it’s a team game, he will return the favour, no doubt.

Rag and Bone Man: 10

Lovely jumper.

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