England ground out an ugly 12-11 win over South Africa in the first of their Quilter Internationals. Here are our ratings of the two starting XV’s.
15 Elliot Daly 5/10
Took the long range penalty well, missed some opportunities in attack and allowed Dyantyi and Nkosi to boss the air.
14 Jack Nowell 6/10
The Exeter wing was busy and played well. Should start against the All Blacks next week.
13 Henry Slade 6/10
One neat kick through that Jonny May nearly got to in the first half. Part of a solid England defensive effort.
12 Ben Te’o 6/10
Mixed for the Worcester player, caught in defence a few times, but tackled hard and carried well.
11 Jonny May 7/10
Chased very well. Was all over the pitch, could have had a try had Elliot Daly found him late in the second half.
10 Owen Farrell 8/10
What a player. Missed just one of his kicks at goal and put his body in the line developing into a really good captain.
9 Ben Youngs 6/10
Lots of box kicking, some good, some not. Distributed really well, good decision making.
1 Alec Hepburn 5/10
Had a job done on him in the scrum, with limited impact in the loose.
2 Dylan Hartley 7/10
A solid performance from the hooker. Lead well and was prominent in the heroic, defensive effort.
3 Kyle Sinckler 7/10
Carried really well and got England moving in the right direction, not great in the scrum.
4 Maro Itoje 7/10
Got a yellow card and was lucky for England to escape, came back on and was sensational, made lots of tackles and carried extremely well.
5 George Kruis 6/10
Great at the lineout, carried strongly.
6 Brad Shields 6/10
Missed a golden opportunity at the end of the game spilling the ball inches short. Was part of a strong, balanced back row.
7 Tom Curry 6/10
Shame to see him hobble off early in the second half, carried fairly well and fulfilled his specialist openside duties.
8 Mark Wilson 8/10
Carried really well, defended excellently. This man is a dark horse for England’s World Cup squad, thoroughly deserved man of the match.
Ben Moon and Harry Williams shored up the scrum. Zach Mercer carried strongly. Danny Care came on and upped the tempo. Ashton had some nice touches.
15 Damian Willemse 6/10
Some amazing footwork from the young fullback. A solid performance.
14 Sbu Nkosi 7/10
Took his try well and was good in the air, put Daly under an enormous amount of pressure, an integral part of the South African back three.
13 Jesse Kriel 6/10
Part of an assured, settled Springbok midfield, he used his pace and strength to full effect outside De Allende.
12 Damian De Allende 8/10
South Africa’s best player, he looked very good on the attack, broke the England line and used his upper body strength to beat players.
11 Aphiwe Dyantyi 6/10
Less dangerous than possibly the most dangerous winger in the world. Like Nkosi very good in the air and part of a lovely move for the try.
10 Handre Pollard 7/10
Not as solid as you would have liked off the tee, kicked well tactically and made some nice half breaks from fly-half.
9 Ivan van Zyl 6/10
Distributed well. Not as much of a livewire as Faf de Klerk, but did the job he had to do.
1 Steven Kitshoff 7/10
Was in charge of the scrum, in the first half. Was powerful in the loose. A good showing from the prop.
2 Malcolm Marx 3/10
Awful performance from the best hooker in the world. His lineout throwing was atrocious and had next to zero effect in the loose.
3 Frans Malherbe 7/10
Dominted Hepburn in the early stages, not quite as effective against Ben Moon who won a penalty off him late in the second half.
4 Eben Etzebeth 6/10
Tried his best in the lineout. Was a huge part of the physical power in the Springbok pack.
5 Pieter-Steph Du Toit 6/10
Excellent defence from the second row, made some real inroads with his carrying and good at the set piece.
6 Siya Kolisi 5/10
An extremely average performance from an excellent player.
7 Duane Vermeulen 6/10
The number eight in the unfamiliar position and did well. Made tackles and a huge part of the excellent first half from the South Africa forwards.
8 Warren Whiteley 7/10
Standout in the South Africa defence, made a massive impact, physical defence and useful carrying in offence.
RG Snyman made an impact when he came on and Bongi Mbonambi solidified the lineout. Not much to note from the other bench members who kept South Africa going to the end.
A close encounter as England move on to a game against New Zealand next week.