ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS: Sam Underhill shows he shouldn’t be cast aside just yet as England secure third place at the World Cup… but Henry Arundell struggles on a rare chance to impress
England secured third place at the Rugby World Cup with a narrow 26-23 victory over Argentina.
It caps a hugely positive World Cup for Steve Borthwick‘s side who were written off by many heading into the tournament in France.
The Red Rose had to come from behind on Friday, but ultimately tries from Ben Earl and Theo Dan, along with 16 points from Owen Farrell, were enough for the victory.
In light of the tense clash at the Stade de France, Mail Sport’s ALEX BYWATER rates England’s players.
Marcus Smith – 6
Lovely sleight of hand sent Ben Earl over for opening try. He is more than capable of playing full-back but must surely be at No 10 in four years’ time as he was targeted in the air again.
Freddie Steward – 5
Shifted from full-back to the wing and was a close to non-existent figure. No surprise he took a couple of high balls but nothing in attack.
Joe Marchant – 6.5
Staying in Paris to play club rugby with French side Stade Francais which means he will be ineligible for England moving forwards. On the basis of his World Cup performances, he will be a loss.
Manu Tuilagi – 5.5
Physical as always but met his match up against Jeronimo de la Fuente. This might be the last time we see him in a white shirt. Replaced by George Ford.
Henry Arundell – 4
At last given a chance to start. You wanted to see him in possession but, frustratingly, it just didn’t happen. Not all his fault but needs to look for the ball more. Didn’t receive a pass from a team-mate.
Owen Farrell (capt) – 6.5
With Smith at 15 it allows England to have a playmaker either side of the ruck and at the set-piece. Kicked well from the tee to help his team finish third. Moved to centre when Ford came on.
Ben Youngs – 5
England’s most capped men’s player said farewell to Test rugby in Paris. Produced a nice early dummy but followed that with a pass that slipped out of his hands.
Ellis Genge – 6
Carried well and looked more than up for the battle. Tried in vain to stop Santiago Carreras after Theo Dan’s missed tackle. Replaced by Bevan Rodd.
Theo Dan – 6.5
England’s future in the No 2 jersey. One strong early carry and good hit in defence but line-out wasn’t perfect. Failed to stop Carreras but made amends with charge down try.
Will Stuart – 6
Penalised at the contact area in the first half and pinged in the second too after Arundell kicked poorly. Helped England scrum well after the struggles in that area in the semi-final defeat by South Africa.
Maro Itoje – 7
Pressurised the Argentina line-out well and had an energetic start. He’s had a good finish to this World Cup but must not let that form slide.
Ollie Chessum – 6.5
He very nearly didn’t make this World Cup due to injury but his development in an England jersey has been hugely positive.
Tom Curry – 7
Cruelly and needlessly criticised for reporting alleged racist abuse against South Africa. This was his 50th cap at the age of just 25. Straight into his work by winning an early breakdown penalty.
Sam Underhill – 8
Bit of a forgotten man. First World Cup appearance after late call up and was very impressive with his carrying, tackling and physicality. Showed he shouldn’t be cast aside just yet with 24 tackles.
Ben Earl – 7.5
Ran brilliant line off Smith to score his first England try. He has had a sensational World Cup and must now be a back-row regular as a result. His speed is a real point of difference.
Replacements: Bevan Rodd (for Genge 50, 5.5), Dan Cole (for Stuart 50, 6), Lewis Ludlam (for Curry 50, 6), Danny Care (for Youngs 51, 6), Jamie George (for Dan 54, 7), George Ford (for Tuilagi 56, 6), Ollie Lawrence (for Arundell 66, 5), David Ribbans (for Chessum 70, 5)