England 28 Samoa 9: Player ratings

Player ratings from Twickenham as the Red Rose claim a hard-fought victory

England

15. Mike Brown Dropped a high ball in the early stages to put England under pressure, and there was a suspicion of a forward pass in the build-up to Jonny May’s first try. He then knocked on with the line in sight after half an hour, before making amends with a try early in the second half as he grew into the game. 7/10

14. Anthony Watson A swift break after six minutes was about as good as it got for his team in the early stages, and he was calm under the high ball. Was then alert to find Brown for the latter’s try. 7

13. Brad Barritt Gave as good as he got in central midfield, without finding the same gaps as his colleagues in the back line. 6

12. Owen Farrell Fairly anonymous showing, but there were signs of an understanding with Ford in their regular positional switches. On this evidence, he is not England’s best option at 12, but we probably already knew that. The question is, can the relationship with his old schoolmate blossom? 6

11. Jonny May Overran a box kick in his eagerness to make an impact after an early blood injury, before a scything run led to the try with which England took the lead. Claimed a second score fifteen minutes into the second half after an expansive passing move. 6

10. George Ford (Man of the match) The 21-year-old stood up to the buffeting he received from the visitors, and settled into a useful ground kicking game which was brought to life by his delightful cross-kick for Brown’s try. Missed a couple of tough efforts with the boot, but otherwise reliable. Very promising. 8

9. Ben Youngs Not quite the sparkle he would have been looking for to justify his selection ahead of Danny Care, but he was snappy and involved. 7

1. Joe Marler Was a powerful presence as England’s scrum took control, forcing the penalty a quarter of an hour in which allowed Ford to equalise and woke England up. 7

2. Rob Webber Solid enough in the scrum and at the line-out; one well-worked set-piece just after the half hour following a clearing kick from Samoa which nearly went backwards should have led to a try but for Brown’s knock-on. 7

3. David Wilson Back to the ranks after his moment in the sun with a try against South Africa, and put in a shift before being replaced just before the hour. 7

4. Dave Attwood A solid contribution from the second rower, who was a key part of the move that led to May’s second try ten minutes into the second half. 7

5. Courtney Lawes Limited to one real driving run; otherwise did his job with the minimum of fuss until being replaced by Kruis midway through the second half. 6

6. James Haskell Some early indiscipline could have left England six points down within the first ten minutes; he also fumbled as Robshaw looked to set them going from their 22 midway through the first half. Not quite the presence he has been for the Red Rose. 6

7. Chris Robshaw (captain) A couple of vital scrag tackles, one in each half, as the Harlequins man led by example in the loose. Provides the fire that England will need to make an impression next year. 8

8. Ben Morgan Not quite the rampaging presence of Billy Vunipola, but an important part of England’s efforts in the first half in particular. 7

Substitutes

Dylan Hartley N/A

Matt Mullan Came on with Brookes after an hour, and suffered a little bit at set pieces. 6

Kieran Brookes Like Mullan, his impact was limited. 6

George Kruis On for Lawes with 25 minutes to go, and helped keep Samoa at bay. 7

Tom Wood N/A

Richard Wigglesworth N/A

Billy Twelvetrees N/A

Marland Yarde Saw most of his action as a two-time blood replacement for Jonny May, and not quite as prominent. 6

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