England v Ireland, player ratings: Who shone brightest and who came up short at Twickenham?

Charlie Morgan
·7-min read
May puts on the afterburners - MARC ASPLAN
May puts on the afterburners - MARC ASPLAN

 Jonny May scored twice, including one of the all-time great individual Twickenham tries, as a dominant England overwhelmed an inexperienced Ireland 18-7 to make it two wins out of two in the Nations Cup.

May crossed twice to move beyond Jeremy Guscott and into joint second in the all-time red rose try scoring list alongside Ben Cohen and Will Greenwood with 31 touch downs, leaving only Rory Underwood ahead.

The hosts retained control after the break with two Owen Farrell penalties while Jacob Stockdale gave the visitors their only try.

So, who were the standout perfomers?

England

15. Elliot Daly 6/10

Covered probing kicks and threw an acrobatic offload to help England out of trouble. Beaten aerially by Keenan but followed up with a lovely strike that turned Ireland 

14. Jonathan Joseph 6/10

Fairly quiet outside of a thumping tackle on O’Mahony in the first half after he had jammed off the right wing. Badly sliced one kick 

13. Ollie Lawrence 8/10

Dented Ireland with an explosive first touch. Looked tenacious and hungry in defence, chopping opponents with low, lasso-tackles 

12. Henry Slade 7/10

Hit a long clearance in the opening minutes and was more prominent as a distributor. Adds a point for his miraculous try-saver on Chris Farrell 

11. Jonny May 9/10

Climbed above Keenan to score his 30th Test try then added a spectacular 31st. Also made a try-saving tackle on Earls. A special afternoon 

10. Owen Farrell (captain) 8/10

Overcooked a grubber and conceded a soft penalty but clipped the cross-kick for May’s first. Organised England’s aggressive defence and was a nuisance at the breakdown 

9. Ben Youngs 7/10

Caught once at the base while box-kicking. Service was not perfect but added variety with a quick-tap and a dart from the tail of a maul 

1. Mako Vunipola 9/10

Relishes cutting down carriers in green, it seems. Another hugely energetic game in defence from the loosehead, with robust scrummaging to match 

Mako Vunipola leaves his mark on James Lowe - GETTY IMAKES
Mako Vunipola leaves his mark on James Lowe - GETTY IMAKES

2. Jamie George 9/10

One skewed throw was a tiny blemish on another excellent display. The hooker is effervescent – so industrious on both sides of the ball 

3. Kyle Sinckler 8/10

Conceded a free-kick for an early engage but then helped bully Ireland, spearheading the set-piece operation and building a huge tackle-count 

4. Maro Itoje 9/10

Forced crucial turnovers at the lineout and breakdown. Also threw a slick pass ahead of May’s second. Brilliant, even if a couple of botched lineouts would have frustrated him 

5. Joe Launchbury 8/10

Burly, busy and evidently eager to keep his spot. Launchbury was the understated foil for Itoje on his 50th Test start. He wants more of those 

6. Tom Curry 9/10

A menace to attacking sides. Curry won two jackal turnovers in the first half and continued disrupting relentlessly in the second. Deceptively powerful with ball in hand 

7. Sam Underhill 9/10

Another tour de force from England’s openside, who shunted into clear-outs, pilfered possession and scythed runners. Carried well and had another try chalked off 

Sam Underhill barges his way through  - GETTY IMAGES
Sam Underhill barges his way through - GETTY IMAGES

8. Billy Vunipola 8/10

Coughed up an offload before rallying to reinforce his worth. Forced a fantastic jackal turnover in the 30th minute and was among England’s most prolific tacklers 

Replacements

16. Tom Dunn (on for George, 79) N/A

Given 30 seconds from the bench when the game was secure 

17. Ellis Genge (on for M Vunipola, 63) 7/10

Trucked up the middle from a lineout and added his weight to the defensive effort 

18. Will Stuart (on for Sinckler, 68) 6/10

Sinckler was the star with the Bath man arriving for the final moments 

19. Jonny Hill (on for Launchbury, 68) 6/10

Had time to smother a couple of Ireland runs close to the breakdown and steal a lineout 

20. Ben Earl (on for Underhill, 63) 7/10

Continued where Underhill left off, stifling Ireland on the floor to force turnovers 

21. Dan Robson (on for Youngs, 63) 6/10

Spent his early moments around the fringes, plugging England’s defensive line. Will fancy more game-time 

22. George Ford (on for Lawrence, 68) 6/10

Perhaps slightly slow on the turn for Ireland’s late try. Could be excused a touch of rust 

23. Max Malins (on for Joseph, 73) N/A

One neat flick-on in the wide channels was a taste of what he can offer as a link-man 

Ireland

15 Hugo Keenan 5/10

Outjumped by Jonny May for his first try and suspect technique when taking ball into contact. Replaced by Jacob Stockdale. Ireland’s full back dilemma continues

14 Keith Earls 6/10

All the talk beforehand was of James Lowe but it was Earls who was Ireland’s most dangerous runner. Farrell will be pleased to have him back

Keith Earls was one of the brighter players for Ireland  - ACTION IMAGES
Keith Earls was one of the brighter players for Ireland - ACTION IMAGES

13 Chris Farrell 5/10

Exposed defensively by Jonny May in his wonder try. Better in the second half but should have scored from Farrell’s chip. He’s no Garry Ringrose

12 Bundee Aki 5/10

Tried to match England’s physicality and put in some crunching hits. But didn’t have much joy ball in hand

11 James Lowe 5/10

Three early kicks from hand were charged down and wasn’t able to show the X-factor he displayed on debut against Wales

10 Ross Byrne 5/10

Lovely little dink through for Farrell in the second half deserved a try. Didn’t do much to advance his case as Johnny Sexton’s understudy

9 Jamison Gibson-Park 4/10

Brought in to inject tempo but had a stinker. Wayward kicking, penalty for not releasing tackler, unnecessary risk when running ball on his own line

1 Cian Healy 5/10

Some monster carries in the first half and certainly didn’t shirk the physical contest. But could do nothing to stem England’s dominance

2 Ronan Kelleher 4/10

Three lineouts lost in the first half made for a wobbly second full cap for the young Leinster hooker

3 Andrew Porter 5/10

An early free kick to Ireland at scrum time would have settled nerves of player called out by Eddie Jones beforehand

4 Quinn Roux 5/10

Big man, big hits. Sometimes too big. Pinged for a high tackle. Didn’t offer much else. Lineout a disaster

5 James Ryan 5/10

Captaining Ireland for the first time but will not look back at this match with fondness. Didn’t help Kelleher by missing England’s extra man in one lineout. Outplayed by Maro Itoje

6 CJ Stander 5/10

Ireland’s man of the match in virtually every game recently but offered very little here. 5 carries for 2m

Not one of CJ Stander's better games - ACTION IMAGES
Not one of CJ Stander's better games - ACTION IMAGES

7 Peter O’Mahony 5/10

Typically whole-hearted display, and one lovely chip and collect. But his combination with Stander looked pedestrian compared with the dynamic Underhill-Curry

8 Caelan Doris 5/10

Spoken about as a potential Lions bolter on strength of recent games. But completely outplayed by Billy Vunipola here

Replacements

16. Rob Herring (on for Kelleher, 50) 6/10

Came close to a try when he came on, and the lineout improved. Turned over near the English tryline in the closing stages

17. Finlay Bealham (on for Healy, 65) 7/10

Covering loosehead. Up against it considering quality of England front row replacements

18. John Ryan not used

19. Iain Henderson (on for Roux, 50) 6/10

Knocked on soon after entering fray but seemed to make a difference at ruck and maul

20. Will Connors (on for Stander, 65) 7/10

Added energy

21. Conor Murray (on for Gibson-Park, 50) 7/10

Was it a mistake not to start the veteran scrum half? Possibly. Not much he could have done about Ireland’s set piece though

22. Billy Burns (on for Byrne, 68) 7/10

Delicious chip for Stockdale’s try

23. Jacob Stockdale (on for Keenan, 57) 7/10

Defensively suspect in recent weeks but has X-factor going forward. Great try.