Wales v England player ratings: Owen Farrell below par; Alex Dombrandt comes of age

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Tries from wing Anthony Watson, prop Kyle Sinckler and centre Ollie Lawrence earned Steve Borthwick’s England a second consecutive Six Nations victory as Wales ended a miserable week with defeat in Cardiff.

Telegraph Sport takes a closer look at the two sets of players and how they rated.


15. Leigh Halfpenny

Gatland opined pre-match that Halfpenny remained the world’s “best defensive full-back”. On this showing, he is not far off it, but was overshadowed by Steward. 6/10

14. Josh Adams

Wales never managed to unlock their right-wing speedster but his tenacity and commitment can never be questioned. One thunderous hit on Itoje was petrifying.  6/10

13. Mason Grady

Did not set the game alight but, given this was his Test debut, he barely put a foot wrong. Showed enough threat, promise and potential to continue at this level. 7/10

12. Joe Hawkins

One glaring error aside – the initial break for England’s first try steamed through the 10-12 channel – he was solid. But Wales’ dynamism improved with Tompkins’ arrival. 6/10

11. Louis Rees-Zammit

Anything even remotely threatening from the Welsh side came through the Gloucester wing’s fingers and toes – including their sole try. A welcome return. 8/10

Louis Rees-Zammit had put Wales ahead shortly after the break Credit: Andrew Boyers/Reuters

10. Owen Williams

His first Test start at fly-half and, on this evidence, the Ospreys fly-half deserves another go. Nothing flash but kept Wales ticking with customary variety until retiring hurt. 7/10

9. Tomos Williams

His first-half break from a tap penalty was one of few attacking highlights for the Welsh. His service is always full of zip but did not threaten the English ruck fringes. 6/10

1. Gareth Thomas

His calibre in the loose has never been in question, underlining that with a frightening first-half bust. Was never overwhelmed at the scrum by a rejuvenated Sinckler, either. 7/10

2. Ken Owens (capt)

Looked broken off the pitch during the week but was not broken on it. Could not have led his side with more heart and soul but was, ultimately, outclassed. 7/10

3. Tomas Francis

Played his part in an old-school scrum tussle but struggled to properly assert himself in the loose. Still, with more robust carriers around him he remains valuable. 6/10

4. Adam Beard

Grew into the match, to be frank. Made a mess of a couple of English mauls and worked his socks off defensively but it was all a little meek.. 5/10

5. Alun Wyn Jones

The old war horse is undoubtedly past his prime but, except when shunted backwards by Sinckler and Itoje, never looked out of place. A turnover in his final act was fitting. 6/10

6. Christ Tshiunza

For a man of such stature, he struggled to impose himself physically, and an early knock-on – with a hint of an overlap for Wales – summed up his afternoon. 5/10

7. Justin Tipuric

By his lofty standards? Relatively quiet. Although he won the champion turnover – in vain – in Wales’ late defensive effort. Reffell is pushing him. 6/10

8. Taulupe Faletau

Welcome back. There was a sloppy pass to Tshiunza but his early charge-down on Farrell and subsequent turnover marked Wales’ tone. 8/10

Replacements – 7 The reserve front-rowers did not match the incumbents’ solidity but Biggar added to Williams’ control and Tompkins brought thrust. Reffell is a scrapper, too.


15. Freddie Steward 

This was the Steward who rose to global prominence last year. Immaculate in the air – his best showing so far this year – despite his maiden trip to the Principality cauldron. 9/10

14. Max Malins 

Lively, and his willingness to contribute should not be underestimated, but there were errors – particularly the egregious second-half pass for Rees-Zammit’s interception. 7/10

13. Henry Slade

Defensively, there were lapses – notably on Grady – but he has a classy touch with the ball. Whether he is enough of an out-and-out threat remains the question. 7/10

12. Ollie Lawrence

A mixed bag. Dynamite with the ball in his hands – once again providing that much-lacking focal point to the English attack – but there was some carelessness, too. 7/10

11. Anthony Watson

Watson’s brilliance is executing Borthwick’s prosaic fundamentals – kick-chase and defence – while also delivering the poetic; his first-half try an example. 8/10

Anthony Watson marked his Test return with an early try Credit: Andrew Boyers/Action Images

10. Owen Farrell (capt)

Farrell is a phenomenal talent but the skipper did not enjoy his best of days. Missed kicks, charge-downs – but the competitive venom was never in question. 5/10

9. Jack Van Poortvliet

Another who enjoyed one of their finest games of the season. Did not threaten around the fringes as much as usual but his service and kicking were delightful. 8/10

1. Ellis Genge 

Irrepressible in his work-rate, seemingly wanting to hammer the Welsh door down all by himself. Never managed to get the upper-hand at scrum time, mind you. 8/10

2. Jamie George

Was guilty of leaking some early penalties and, despite England’s near-faultless line-out, it is somewhat concerning that England do not have better. 6/10

3. Kyle Sinkler

A marked improvement, capped off with a try, where he reminded the rugby world that he has the brawn to go with the brain.7/10

4. Maro Itoje

A nuisance all afternoon. Still working his way back to his best but he is not far off it. Building a balanced partnership with Chessum. 7/10

5. Ollie Chessum

Gareth Thomas felt the full weight of his shins early on as Chessum continued his rise to prominence. Never far away from the action.  7/10

6. Lewis Ludlam 

In tandem with Willis, Ludlam is forming quite the flanker partnership, a microcosm of which came with the blindside’s chop and Willis’ steal together in the first half. 8/10

7. Jack Willis

Was not quite at his Italy best but his work-rate remains astonishing. Won one turnover – could have had a couple more – and surely made the shirt his own. 8/10

8. Alex Dombrandt

This might well have been his coming-of-age performance – and, boy, did he need it. Skilful, intelligent and – crucially – used in ways to best profit from those strengths. 9/10

Replacements – 8 Curry and Mitchell brought vim and vigour and Vunipola, Lawes and Cole continued Genge and Sinckler’s hustle and bustle. Smith and Arundell could have used longer.