England got their Autumn Nations Cup up and running on Saturday afternoon with a comprehensive 40-0 win over Georgia, putting themselves in a strong position to make a run at the title over the coming weeks.
Although England’s defence was excellent and they were able to exert consistent pressure on Georgia territorially and at the set-piece, their attack away from the forwards, in admittedly testing conditions, just denied them the truly emphatic win that they would have been hoping for.
Nevertheless, it was a case of job done for Eddie Jones and his charges at Twickenham and far more one-sided than Scotland’s competitive game against Italy earlier in the day. We have run the rule over the England players below.
Elliot Daly – 6
The full-back didn’t make any errors in defence and was solid at the back, though his final pass and short kicking game couldn’t quite unlock the Georgian defence in the way he is often capable of. He took his try well and will be keen to build into the autumn next week.
Jonathan Joseph – 7
Joseph’s value on the wing was the comfort he had coming off of it and bringing incision to the midfield, as well his ability to chase and compete for kicks. One of his breaks brought about Daly’s try and wrapped up the bonus point for England. Unfortunately, he left the pitch with an injury just before half time after flashing signs of his impact as a winger.
Ollie Lawrence – 6
Lawrence showed good hands, defensive reads and the speed to pressure the attack in his first start, although opportunities to impact the game offensively as a ball-carrier were limited as England kept the ball tight.
Henry Slade – 6
After a rusty start where a couple of his passes were off the mark, the European and domestic double-winner settled into the game and his distribution began to hurt Georgia, not least so with composed play on the gain-line for Daly’s try. The centre also made a number of dominant defensive tackles.
Jonny May – 6
Without making many or even any errors, May wasn’t as influential as he often is for England. He couldn’t quite win a couple of the contested aerial balls that he usually thrives on and his chances with ball in hand in space were limited. Where he did make some gains were in coming off of his wing and running at the more congested areas of the defence.
Owen Farrell – 6
It wasn’t a game for the back line to thrive, though Farrell didn’t quite have it ticking along as smoothly as he would have liked. As with Daly and May, it was a relatively clean performance from the fly-half, who made five of his six kicks, without being the masterful puppeteering outing that he regularly turns in.
Ben Youngs – 6
Some good, competable box-kicks from Youngs, in addition to a few incisive short kicks that found space or a chaser. It was a forward-led performance in testing conditions, limiting the impact the scrum-half had in facilitating the back line.
Ellis Genge – 6
A solid set-piece foil to Will Stuart, Genge certainly held his own against the powerful Georgian tight five. He was busy in the loose as a ball-carrier and providing quick and clean ball at the breakdown, without being as dominant as he has the capability to be.
Jamie George – 9
The hooker spearheaded England’s impressive set-piece and connected on all 17 of his line outs, including many of which were made in heavy rain. He was rewarded with three tries, all of which came off the back of mauls. He popped up in the loose with a couple of key carries and passes, too.
Will Stuart – 7
In just his first international start, Stuart largely prospered at the scrum against the vastly more experienced Mikheil Nariashvili. His body height and power was too much for the Georgian at times, as Stuart turned the screw at the set-piece.
Charlie Ewels – 8
A very impressive showing from Ewels, who went a long way to filling the boots of George Kruis at Twickenham. He was the favoured lineout target, successfully taking seven throws from George, and his physicality in defence helped England repel Georgia at the gain-line, as well as being impactful at the counter-maul. The only blemish was a spill on the carry.
Joe Launchbury – 7
A typically industrious performance from Launchbury who was influential as a lineout target, bringing pressure in the defensive line and on both sides of the ball at the breakdown.
Maro Itoje – 7
Itoje was consistently harassing in defence, including the pressure he put on the Georgian scrum-halves, legal interference at the lineout and disruption at defensive mauls. He was on hand as a carrier, too, with the game understanding to always be in the right place at the right time.
Jack Willis – 7
The much-hyped openside caught the eye early with the quantity and quality of his carrying, something which culminated in his debut try and England’s first in the game. He also grabbed himself a jackal in the first half in what was a solid introduction to Test rugby for the back rower.
Billy Vunipola – 6
A couple of strong carries off the base of the scrum aside, it was a more defensive-orientated showing from Vunipola, who brought plenty of physicality in the tackle with neither Tom Curry or Sam Underhill in the starting XV. Typically reliable on the kick receipt, too.
Tom Dunn – 7
Dunn maintained George’s 100% record at the lineout and stepped up with a couple of strong carries and tackles in a good cameo.
Mako Vunipola – 6
Vunipola kept England fluctuating from parity to advantage at the scrum, although he had limited impact in the loose after arriving for Genge.
Kyle Sinckler – 6
The tighthead continued England’s advantage at the set-piece after replacing Stuart in the second half.
Ben Earl – 6
There were glimpses of Earl’s speed and ability in the loose, though weather conditions meant that England kept the ball relatively tight during the final quarter of the game.
Tom Curry – 6
There wasn’t too much for Curry to do after arriving in the back row, though that did not stop him from putting in a couple of powerful tackles.
Dan Robson – 7
Robson brought an increase in tempo to England with the swiftness of his distribution from the ruck and then capitalised on the Georgian defence biting on his passes with a dummy and dive for the try line in the final quarter.
Max Malins – 6
Very limited opportunities for Malins to influence the game when he came on in the centres.
Joe Marchant – 6
England’s lack of width and desire to play the ball in the second half downpour limited what Marchant was able to do, but the centre by trade did look at home on the wing defensively and with his ability to chase and pressure kicks.
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