England player ratings vs Ireland: Tuilagi back but Arundell wasted and Van Poortvliet must sharpen up
England gave an improved performance in Dublin on Saturday night, but it wasn’t enough to spoil Ireland’s Six Nations Grand Slam party.
Seven days on from their record home defeat by France at Twickenham, Steve Borthwick’s side showed far more intensity and physicality from the first whistle, but were handed a huge blow on the stroke of half-time with full-back Freddie Steward’s contentious red card for a collision with opposite number Hugo Keenan.
Still, England continued to battle valiantly with 14 men and even reduced the deficit to one point before nervy Ireland pulled away with a trio of late tries to deservedly clinch their fourth Grand Slam.
Standard Sport’s rugby correspondent Nick Purewal was at the Aviva Stadium to run the rule over the England players.
Freddie Steward 6
As masterful as ever under the high ball and hugely unlucky to be sent off.
Anthony Watson 6
England’s most dangerous attacking player again. They must find a way to get him on the ball regularly.
Henry Slade 6
Solid effort from the glue in England’s backline.
Manu Tuilagi 6
Fair to say the powerhouse looks back on this evidence. England can only hope.
Henry Arundell 5
This rating is absolutely not Arundell’s fault. England promised to use him properly and simply did not.
Far too good a player to be wasted kicking his heels out wide. The coaches must construct a system to maximise his stunning talent.
Owen Farrell 6
Kicked better out of hand and off the tee and grafted to drive England forward but did not have another level.
Jack van Poortvliet 5
Must sharpen up core skills if the plan is simply to box-kick the grip off the ball.
Ellis Genge 7
A powerful turn that shows everything about his tenacity and determination after last week’s France humiliation.
Jamie George 7
His try was a worthy return for a man who was devastated after the France game.
Kyle Sinckler 6
Scrummaged well and put himself about in style.
Maro Itoje 6
Some fine moments but still does not look quite his full self.
David Ribbans 6
Stood in well for the injured Ollie Chessum.
Lewis Ludlam 6
A genuine battler and fine man who holds much promise.
Jack Willis 6
Yellow card aside, this was an astute and simmering showing.
Alex Dombrandt 6
Put himself about certainly more than last week.
Mako Vunipola (for Genge, 64) 6
Won some big scrum moments at the death.
Dan Cole (for Sinckler, 67) 6
Fully deserved 100th cap in a fine career from the Leicester man.
Nick Isiekwe (for Ribbans, 70) 6
Had precious little time to make anything happen.
Ben Curry (for Willis blood 52-64, for Dombrandt 64) 6
Stirred things up with a gritty showing.
Alex Mitchell (for Van Poortvliet, 70) 6
Hardly had time to make an impact.
Joe Marchant (for Arundell, 58) 5
Several sloppy moments on a quiet cameo.
Unused: Marcus Smith.