England 26 Australia 17: Player ratings as Ben Morgan stars

Harry Reardon runs the rule over the Red Rose and the Wallabies after a hard-fought home victory

England

15. Mike Brown Clattered as he chased his own up-and-under 12 minutes in to allow Ford to give England the lead for the first time, and was an alert presence in the back line throughout. 7/10

14. Anthony Watson Not quite at the races in the first 20 minutes, but sprang into action after Morgan’s first try and was a handling error or two away from a couple of tries of his own. 7

13. Brad Barritt Made the break from the scrum that gave Morgan his first try, and will rarely let his team down. 6

12. Billy Twelvetrees Ran up against a brick wall for most of the game, and his tactical kicking was not up to the level he would have wanted. 5

11. Jonny May A quick start to the game, with his break leading to the penalty which put England on the board, and a motoring run earned England a five metre scrum partway through the second half from which came an inevitable try. 6

10. George Ford A quiet start to the game, but then found his range as Australian mistakes started to add up and Wallaby heads to drop slightly. It was his excellent positional kick which led to the knock-on and scrum from which Morgan scored after half an hour, and he held his nerve for the penalty with three minutes to go that gave his team vital breathing space. 7

9. Ben Youngs One early box kick was a touch too deep, but he was neat and tidy with ball in hand. 6

1. Joe Marler A very effective presence in the scrum, where England had too much for their opponents. 7

2. Dylan Hartley An early line-out in a dangerous position had too much zest, but otherwise he was tidy without being spectacular. 7

3. David Wilson Another solid member of what is becoming a fearsome front three. 7

4. Dave Attwood Not as prominent in the loose as second-row colleague Lawes, but did his job at set pieces and deserves his extended run in the side. 7

5. Courtney Lawes Wonderful try-saving tackle 15 minutes in when Australia had an overlap and seemed destined to score. A vital member of this team when on this sort of form.8

6. Tom Wood Back in favour this week, and a strong claim from kick off was a sign of things to come. Involved in Morgan’s try and will take some displacing from the starting line-up. 7

7. Chris Robshaw (captain) A quieter game for the England captain today, insofar as Robshaw ever has a quiet game. 6

8. Ben Morgan (man of the match) Conceded an early penalty in a dangerous area, but made up with it in style when bulldozing over after sharp home movement from a scrum half an hour in, and then converting a five metre scrum after 58 minutes. 8

Replacements

Rob Webber N/A

Matt Mullan Replaced Marler with 55 minutes gone, and kept up the forward momentum. 7

Kieran Brookes N/A

George Kruis On for Lawes with 25 minutes to go, and made his presence felt without offering the same X-factor. 6

James Haskell N/A

Richard Wigglesworth N/A

Owen Farrell On as a blood replacement for Barritt before remaining as Twelvetrees was sacrificed. One excellent tackle on Cooper epitomised the effort that he brings to this team. 7

Marland Yarde N/A

Australia

15. Israel Folau Looked a very slippery customer, particularly in the early stages, but knocked on under minimal pressure as the half hour approached to give England the scrum from which they took the lead. 7/10

14. Henry Speight Looked extremely threatening in the first 20 minutes with a couple of line breaks before fading a little and eventually being replaced. 7

13. Adam Ashley-Cooper Should have scored after a quarter of a hour, but was denied by a Lawes tackle. His influence grew in the second half as the Australian backline came on strong, and he was heavily involved in Skelton’s try. 7

12. Matt Toomua The Australian try-scorer in last year’s match between these teams had little impact in the first half, but made his presence felt with a crunching tackle ten minutes into the second to force a knock-on and turnover. 6

11. Rob Horne In his first start for the Wallabies in two years, the wing was a sparky presence, and looked his side’s best prospect of incision in the first half. His link up with Foley led to the latter’s try, but his knock-on in the dying stages with the line begging cost them dearly. 8

10. Bernard Foley Did his job from set pieces without offering the same loose ball kicking threat as his opposite number, and scythed far too easily through the home backline five minutes into the second half. Immediately replaced by Quade Cooper. 7

9. Nick Phipps After a fine try against Ireland, the scrum-half was always looking for quick ball, and was probably as imaginative an option as his team had while he was on the pitch. Replaced by White after 50 minutes. 7

1. James Slipper Was dominated in the scrum, and substituted part way through the second half. 5

2. Sala Fainga’a First half line-outs were a little jittery, and could do nothing against the England forward juggernaut. 5

3. Sekope Kepu An anonymous presence for the 52 minutes he was on the pitch before being replaced by Ben Alexander. 5

4. Sam Carter Picked in front of James Horwill, and did not really do enough to justify his retention. 6

5. Rob Simmons Pinged for holding on to the ball on the stroke of half time to allow Ford a chance to stretch the England lead. Replaced at half time. 5

6. Sean McMahon Probably his team’s best forward with ball in hand, with a couple of line breaks before his team were called back for infringements. Substituted midway through the second half. 7

7. Michael Hooper (captain) Always sniping at the gain line, and probably the slightly more effective of the skippers. 7

8. Ben McCalman Perhaps lucky to escape censure for taking out Brown off the ball in the early stages, and did not have as impressive a game as Morgan. 6

Replacements

James Hanson N/A

Benn Robinson N/A

Ben Alexander On for the last half hour, and immediately looked more threatening than Kepu in the loose. 6

Will Skelton On for McMahon with just over 20 minutes to go, and made an immediate impact when burrowing his way over to keep his team in touch. 7

Luke Jones On for Simmons at half time, but could do nothing to turn the tide. 6

Nic White Replaced Phipps with half an hour to go, and kept up the Wallabies’ attacking threat. 7

Quade Cooper Replaced Foley immediately after the number ten’s try, and interlinked well with his backline colleagues. 7

Kurtley Beale N/A

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