ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS: George Ford fails to back up Argentina showing

ENGLAND PLAYER RATINGS: George Ford fails to back up stunning Argentina showing as most of Steve Borthwick’s side struggle – with Alex Mitchell enduring a night to forget

  • England beat Japan 34-12 in their second game of the Rugby World Cup in Nice
  • Steve Borthwick’s side struggled, with several players performing poorly
  • Ford was the star man against Argentina but failed to get his side going here
  • Latest Rugby World Cup 2023 news, including fixtures, live scores and results

England made it two wins from two at the Rugby World Cup after beating Japan 34-12 in Nice on Sunday.

Steve Borthwick’s side have now beaten their two strongest Pool D opponents in Argentina and Japan, though they have a long way to go if they are to be successful at the tournament.

England kicked too often though they finally scored their first try of the tournament, but the game was often scrappy whenever England tried to attack.

They should top Pool D but will face tougher opposition in the next stage and will need to be stronger if they want success. 

Here are Mail Sport’s player ratings from the clash, courtesy of NIK SIMON. 

Lewis Ludlam was one of England’s better players against Japan during their 34-12 victory

Steve Borthwick’s side have won their two from two but must be better to succeed in France


Feddie Steward – 5: Spilled the ball in England’s first entry to the red zone as the attack inside the 22 continued to falter. Not his authoritative self until try.

Jonny May – 4: Did not touch the ball in the first 40 minutes and conceded a penalty for a late hit that gifted territory to Japan.

Joe Marchant – 5: Struggled to break the line and show the attacking verve he does for Harlequins. Anonymous until his last-minute try.

Manu Tuilagi – 5: Hitting hard lines on line-out starter plays but breakdown in communication with Ford resulted in turnovers and lost territory.

Elliot Daly – 4.5: Dominant in his aerial battles but strategy to pin Japan back in coffin corner with grubber kicks often resulted in lost possession.

George Ford – 5: Received a huge cheer when his name was read out but the mood quickly changed. Charged down and failed to make attack tick.

Alex Mitchell – 4: Kicked away a lot of possession and failed to inject the tempo to break up Japan’s defensive structure. Poor day at the office.

George Ford had a poor game against Japan as he failed to make England’s attack tick

Alex Mitchell struggled as he kicked a lot and failed to inject the tempo England required

Joe Marler – 6: Won a solid turnover on his own five-metre line and held his own at the scrum against a small but dynamic front-row.

Jamie George – 5: Fumbled a line-out strike play as the ball hit him in the face. Struggled to impose superior physicality against a much lighter pack.

Kyle Sinckler – 5: Required treatment at one stage on his return from a pec injury. Difficult to dominate scrum on churned-up turf.

Maro Itoje – 5: Lurked around breakdowns like a praying mantis but struggled to win turnovers to disrupt Japan’s flow. Massive drop in intensity.

Ollie Chessum – 6: Working with George Kruis on the line-out throughout the week. Hustled Japan at line-out for opening try.

Ollie Chessum impressed for England and played a vital role in the opening try of the evening

Courtney Lawes (captain) – 5: Marshalled a huge driving maul in the first half but did not turn the screw. None of his trademark hits but a fortuitous try.

Ben Earl – 6: Switched to No 8 on attacking scrums. One of England’s busiest carriers but penalised for drifting offside in defence.

Lewis Ludlam – 6: Justified his selection ahead of Billy Vunipola when he scored England’s first try at this World Cup after 104 minutes.


Will Stuart (for Sinckler 52); Billy Vunipola (for Ludlam 52); Ellis Genge (for Marler 59); Ben Youngs (for Mitchell 59); Marcus Smith (for Steward 69); Ollie Lawrence (for Tuilagi 69); Theo Dan (for George 74); George Martin (for Chessum 74).

Stand-in England skipper Courtney Lawes scored a bizarre try but was generally off the pace

Japan were solid enough in defeat, with Rikiya Matsuda one of the players to have impressed


Masirewa 3, Matsushima 6, Osada 5, Nakamura 5, Naikabula 7, Matsuda 7, Nagare 7, Inagaki 5, Horie 5, Gu 5, Cornelsen 6, Fakatava 6, Leitch 5, Labuschagne 5, Himeno (capt) 6.


Lemeki (for Masirewa 7); Valu (for Gu 41), Millar (for Inagaki 50), Riley (for Naikabula 51), Dearns (for Fakatava 62); Saito (for Nagare 65); Shimokawa (for Labuschagne 74).

Referee: N Amashukeli (Georgia) – 6 

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