Rating every player from England’s promising Six Nations campaign: ‘World-class’ displays and a ‘beast’ of a forward

Colin Newboult
England fly-half George Ford, head coach Steve Borthwick and back-rower Ben Earl during the 2024 Six Nations.

George Ford and Ben Earl were among the standouts for Steve Borthwick's men.

Following the conclusion of the 2024 Six Nations, we rated all the players who featured in the Championship, continuing with the third placed finishers, Steve Borthwick’s England.

The Red Rose struggled to find any rhythm early despite emerging victorious over Wales and Italy. Their Calcutta Cup defeat to Scotland, therefore, provided the wake-up call they needed, and against Ireland and France, they were much, much better.

We run through their team, rating each player out of a possible 10.

Outside backs

Freddie Steward: Did nothing wrong before he was dropped. Was typically very good under the high ball, and against Wales, he was England’s best player, but Borthwick decided to change tack. 7

George Furbank: Not as good individually as Steward, but his playmaking qualities perhaps fit more into what this new Red Rose side are trying to do. He was poor against Scotland, but the Ireland game showed what he can offer. 6

Tommy Freeman: Excellent against Italy, quiet versus Wales and Scotland, before coming to life in the final two Six Nations matches. A very promising tournament from Freeman, who can be proud of his efforts. 7

Immanuel Feyi-Waboso: When the youngster played, he showed up extremely well. Barely got any minutes versus Italy and Wales but came off the bench against Scotland and was England’s best back. Took that form into Ireland and was excellent throughout before missing the France game. The score would have been higher, but a lack of game time counts against him slightly. 7

Elliot Daly: Started four of the five matches but never really influenced them in any meaningful way. Could still be a useful utility player off the bench, but we’ll be surprised if Daly starts in New Zealand. 4

10 - Career defining tournament 9 - Outright blockbuster campaign 8 - Significantly influenced their team's campaign 7 - Committed and effective throughout 6 - Flash of brilliance outside of executing fundamentals 5 - Fulfilling the role required by positional (Base Level) 4 - Poor execution of fundamentals 3 - Costly errors and/or discipline that proved costly 2 - Poor performances that directly impacted the result of key games 1 - Grossly ineffective throughout 0 - Should have carried water instead

Our Six Nations player rating key.


Henry Slade: A very mixed bag from the Exeter Chiefs centre. Had a big responsibility in getting to grips with their new defensive system, and that no doubt hindered him at times, but by the end of the tournament, he was starting to look assured on both sides of the ball. 6

Ollie Lawrence: Returned from injury against Scotland, but the less about that game the better for most of the squad. However, Lawrence was very influential against both Ireland and France as England finally found a way to get the best out of him. 8

Fraser Dingwall: Was dropped for Lawrence after starting the opening two matches, and it ultimately proved to be the right call. Dingwall has his qualities and, at some point, could well feature alongside the powerful centre, but the Red Rose needed ballast, and the Northampton man didn’t provide it. 5

Manu Tuilagi: Given just 20 minutes in the whole Championship after missing the start through injury. Was fine in that final quarter against France, but ended what was likely to be his final England match on the losing side. 5


Marcus Smith: Another player who was struck by injury ahead of the tournament but, like Lawrence, he made a great impact. Came on at fly-half in Round Four and kicked the winning drop-goal against Ireland before replacing George Furbank at full-back a week later. There were a couple of errors, but he seemed to enjoy the style that the Red Rose employed and, as a result, revelled in it. 7

Fin Smith: His time will come, but the younger Smith only got 33 minutes in total across the three games he was involved in. There were some nice moments, but he wasn’t really given enough of a chance. 5

George Ford: Kicking off the tee was a real problem until the France encounter, but every other part of his game worked very well. He struggled to get the backline moving initially, but, in hindsight, that was more of a team issue, and then he ended the tournament with one of his best-ever Test performances. It was truly stunning. 8

George Ford in action against France in 2024 Six Nations.

George Ford in action against France in 2024 Six Nations.


Ben Spencer: It is difficult to make an impression when you know you’re not the first or second choice and need to perform when the opportunity arises due to injury, but, in truth, he was disappointing in the absence of Alex Mitchell. Danny Care, who started that Scottish match, wasn’t great either, but Spencer really struggled when he came off the bench. 4

Alex Mitchell: More opportunities will hopefully open up around the fringes for the scrum-half as time goes on, but he was otherwise excellent in the four games he played in. Mitchell’s kicking is both long and accurate, while his service from the base was lightning quick. 8

Danny Care: Played his part in the Ireland win but a few too many errors during the Six Nations for such an experienced player. 5

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Ben Earl: Quite simply, England’s best player, and maybe the tournament’s, too. Even when England weren’t particularly great in the opening three matches, Earl impressed and he then went up a level when the Red Rose finally clicked. Astonishingly good number eight, who has elevated himself to world-class level. 9

Alex Dombrandt: Just 30 minutes to impress, so not given much opportunity to show his qualities, although there was one key turnover win in the final round. 5

Sam Underhill: Fits in with England’s aggressive defence, but we wonder whether they could do with more of a breakdown threat. 6

Ethan Roots: Started off so well and then rather faded. Was anonymous following that superb Italy performance. 5

Chandler Cunningham-South: Big impact player off the bench who, injury-depending, will have a big Test career. Carries hard, tackles even harder and has an excellent work ethic. Cunningham-South only turned 21 earlier this week, so he has a big future ahead of him. 7


George Martin with a big hit on Ireland's Tadhg Beirne.

George Martin with a big hit on Ireland’s Tadhg Beirne.

George Martin: An absolute beast of a second-row. His return completely changed the complexion of this English outfit. Excellent tighter to the ruck; he is the type of lock all teams need, while he complements the skills of Maro Itoje superbly. 8

Maro Itoje: Had a difficult day against France, but it was otherwise a fine tournament for Itoje, who looked close to his best. Enjoyed a good Rugby World Cup and built on it during the 2024 Six Nations. 8

Alex Coles: Was decent enough off the bench but not given much of an opportunity to really show what he could do. 5

Ollie Chessum: Was good enough at lock but really excellent when moved to blindside flanker. Not necessarily because it’s his best position but due to the fact that he worked well with Itoje and Martin. There is a nice balance to that trio. 7


Will Stuart: Switched between the XV and the bench during the tournament. There were some good things, but we’re still not quite sold on him being at Test level. In fairness, he scrummaged well enough but rarely got dominance. 5

Dan Cole: The old warhorse continues to be vital to England’s set-piece. Doesn’t offer a whole lot outside of that, but he is important for the Red Rose getting a platform at the scrum. 6

Beno Obano: Five minutes and one penalty conceded was his contribution during the tournament. Obano is ultimately an excellent player, but it’s unfortunate for him that England have depth at loosehead. He will just have to bide his time and hope that an opportunity arises in New Zealand. 4

Joe Marler: Like Cole, did his job in the set-piece, continuing to provide valuable service to his country. There are few better scrummaging looseheads around. 6

Ellis Genge: Got better as the tournament went on and contributed in both the loose and the tight. Genge can elevate his level further, but he still had a good Six Nations. 7


Jamie George: In his first tournament as captain, George led the team superbly. A great bloke who remains an excellent hooker, especially in the set-piece, the 33-year-old was key in the English revival. 7

Theo Dan: The odd lineout error apart, Dan is the perfect impact replacement. The Saracen made his mark every time he stepped out onto the field. With him learning all the time under George for both club and country, he could be the starting hooker come the 2027 World Cup. 7

READ MORE: Rating every player from Scotland’s mixed Six Nations campaign: Top try-scorer and a promising star