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England player ratings: Marler thrives whilst Vunipola dives

BY Jack Tunney  ·  Sunday Oct 22, 2023

South Africa defeated England in the World Cup semi final in Paris last night in a match that will down in history for its intensity not its quality.

Here’s how the England players fared:

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15. Freddie Steward – 7.5

Impressive return to the starting team, dealt well with tough high balls in a deceptively wet evening.

14. Jonny May – 5.5
A performance not dissimilar from the rest of the tournament, quiet. Could be argued that he’s been lucky to keep his place in the squad. A great servant, but likely to have just one more England match remaining.

13. Joe Marchant – 5.5
Not up to his normal impressive standards, but was not a game suited to his skill set.

12. Manu Tuilagi – 6.5
A powerful unit in the centre as always, but used more to keep the Springbok defence on the back foot rather that actually create anything.

11. Elliot Daly – 7
A typically impressive performance from the utility back. Always looked threatening on the ball.

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10. Owen Farrell – 7.5
Indiscipline cost him a high rating, and plenty of ground on the field. Otherwise he nailed his place kicks, controlled the game well and made a point with his critics.

9. Alex Mitchell – 6.5
Growing into the England shirt, helped control the game well. Multiple missed tackles will need to be looked at if this scrum half is to continue to keep his place.

1. Joe Marler – 9
Poor discipline in opening minutes, but otherwise he was incredible. Scrummed terrifically against a tough Springbok pack and held his own in every aspect of the game.

2. Jamie George – 6
It was a highly pressurised match, but even so, a crooked throw from the 5 metre line is shocking. Scrum held well, not the worst, certainly not the best.

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3. Dan Cole – 9
Will be England’s prop in USA 2031 the way he’s going. Scrummaged brilliantly, carried well and put his body on the line in defence. Solid.

4. Maro Itoje – 8.5
This Itoje hasn’t been seen in a while. He wasn’t soft – he was hard hitting, a nightmare in the maul and just everywhere around the park. Great performance, just needs consistency now.

5. George Martin – 8.5
Second most England tackles, combined brilliantly with Itoje.

6. Courtney Lawes – 8.5
Made the Springboks look foolish with his big hits and hard carries. Helps the teams with hugely with his experience and leadership on the field.

7. Tom Curry – 8.5
Not so much the young lad anymore, Curry is the superstar forward that Eddie Jones tried to build his team around. Fantastic performance. Also had to contend with being receiving end of alleged racial slur.

8. Ben Earl – 8.5
Explosive every time he got the ball with Springboks struggling to contain him.

Replacements:
16. Theo Dan – N/A
Unused replacement.

17. Ellis Genge – 5
Uncharacteristically poor game from the prop, found out in the scrums.

18. Kyle Sinckler – 5
Not a regular starter for England nowadays, and you can see why. Made vital mistakes which cost England.

19. Ollie Chessum – 6.5
Continued the trend of impressive locks, looked secure when he came on. One of England’s better players in the current squad.

20. Billy Vunipola – 2
Game ended after he dropped the ball for the final time. Caused problems for his own side and offered nothing in attack. Been Englands weak spot since 2020.

21. Danny Care – 8
Likely his final World Cup, and he’s performances impeccably the entire time. Looked lovely when he came on and did utmost to keep match in England’s control.

22. George Ford – N/A
Two minutes not enough to make an impact.

23. Ollie Lawrence – 6
Looked solid with his two carries, but six minutes is not enough time to make an impact.

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