Wales player ratings: Few standouts after an improved performance still results in defeat to England

Jared Wright

Following their 20-10 Six Nations defeat to England at the Principality Stadium in Cardiff, he is how we rated the Wales players.

15 Leigh Halfpenny: Brave and effective under the high ball despite getting smashed regularly throughout the game. He made an error late on in the game but was saved by Justin Tipuric. 6

14 Josh Adams: He saw very little ball on attack and spent most of the match chasing Garryowens. Freddie Steward bossed the aerial game, partly due to the Wales kicking game being overcooked. He did have a high missed tackle count, slipping three from eight. 5

Young centres

13 Mason Grady: A solid Test debut for the 20-year-old who had a lot to do defensively. He made all of his tackles and won a turnover. His carries were robust, too. 6

12 Joe Hawkins: Continues to impress despite the poor results of Wales. When the Welsh did keep the ball in hand, Hawkins shone, gaining over 40 metres, making ten passes and nine carries. 6

11 Louis Rees-Zammit: Wales’ biggest attacking threat gaining well over 100 metres. The speedster looked dangerous with each touch of the ball he did get. He had the odd error or two, but overall, he did well with what he was given, especially the gift from Max Malins. 7

10 Owen Williams: Many hoped that he would spark Wales’ attack into life, but that’s not how it played out. He did have some bright patches, including a great line break assist for Gareth Thomas. He didn’t dictate the attack as anticipated. 5

9 Tomos Williams: Wasted a ton of quick attacking ball through slow service in the first half, which was detrimental to the Welsh ability to crack open the England defence. His kicking game was reasonably sharp. 5

Tireless Taulupe

8 Taulupe Faletau: As always, it was a tireless workmanlike Faletau game. However, he wasn’t as accurate as he would have liked, conceding two needless penalties. He did manage two turnovers and carried for 24 metres from eight runs. 7

7 Justin Tipuric: Wales’ top tackler making 17 in total, without missing, Tipuric tried his utmost to keep his side in the game, further highlighted by his exceptional breakdown penalty win late on in the game. He struggled to gain ground on the England defence with ball in hand but was astute defensively. 6

6 Christ Tshiunza: Another impressive game from the youngster who is thriving in the physicality of Test rugby. He made good runs into the English defence and tackled well. 6

Tight five

5 Alun Wyn Jones: The veteran lock is usually a massive presence at the attacking breakdown, an area England got the edge on Saturday. He did come up with a great steal in his final action on the pitch, but overall, not the kind of performance that meets the Welsh legend’s standards. Still not a terrible game. 6

4 Adam Beard: A good lineout option as Wales‘ lineout operated far better than it has in the two prior games. He did well in stalling England’s maul and got through his usual high volume of defensive actions. 6

3 Tomas Francis: A good battle with Ellis Genge at scrum time, earning a penalty or two off the England loosehead. A reasonably solid game doing the dirty work in the rucks and making tackles. 6

2 Ken Owens: Ticked all the boxes in the set-pieces, landed a good shot on Owen Farrell and made a few characteristically abrasive carries. 5

1 Gareth Thomas: He got his tackle on Lewis Ludlam all wrong but recovered to continue playing. He was arguably unlucky not to get a bit more purchase from his scrummaging against Kyle Sinckler. Thomas made a nice break from some slick passing from Williams. Nothing outrageous but quietly solid. 5

Replacements: England’s bench played a more significant role in the match’s outcome, but a select few made a telling impact for Wales. Kieran Hardy was exceptional and must be pressing for a start; he revitalised the attack. Dan Biggar had a few good touches, much not enough to turn his side’s fortunes around, while Nick Tompkins was lively. On the flip side, Bradley Roberts’ overthrow proved costly. 5

READ MORE: Six Nations: Wooden Spoon beckons for Wales as England make it two wins out of three