Here's how we rated Steve Borthwick's men at Twickenham

Marcus Smith’s heroic drop-goal with the clock in the red gave England an incredible 23-22 win over Ireland at Twickenham Stadium.

Two James Lowe tries looked to have won a pulsating contest for Andy Farrell’s men but with penalty advantage, replacement Smith slotted the crucial blow from in front of the sticks to end Ireland’s dreams of becoming the first Six Nations side to win back-to-back Grand Slams.

Read more: Is the Six Nations trying to create a Super Bowl half-time vibe?

England player ratings v Ireland – Backs

15. George Furbank – 7/10

Looks the part and played a nice hand in the opening Ollie Lawrence try but keeps coming up with a few too many handling errors at key junctures.

Catching James Lowe’s clearance and stepping into touch gave Ireland the opportunity to extend the lead to 12-8 on the stroke of half-time.

Bounced back by taking his try well when racing down the left wing after good hands from the forwards and overall came out in credit.

14. Immanuel Feyi-Waboso – 7/10

His speed and experience at Exeter makes him a perfect fit for this Felix Jones system and he put some big pressure on early, forcing a Hugo Keenan knock-on.

Showed promising signs in attack too, breaking the odd tackle on kick receipts. Penalised harshly when attempting a jackal in the second half.

13. Henry Slade – 7/10

His left boot is such a valuable weapon when kicking for touch from penalties.

Fell victim to the infamous Irish choke tackle when attacking in midfield and then was caught out on the blitz for Lowe’s first try after the break.

12. Ollie Lawrence – 7/10

A rip-roaring start with a worldie of a try out on the left wing to get the game off to a flying start and he had an impressive impact in the first 40.

Penalised for coming in at the side at the start of the second period but a good showing.

11. Tommy Freeman – 6/10

Put his big frame to good use early in a huge collision with opposite number Calvin Nash. Both men had on-field treatment with Nash failing an HIA and not returning while Freeman was able to carry on.

That seemed to knock the wind out of the Northampton man’s early momentum but always looked a threat despite some less impressive moments.

10. George Ford – 5/10

Put some nice width on the ball, particularly with the miss passes to a rampaging Ellis Genge in midfield.

However, he was guilty of missing a very kickable penalty attempt in the first half and also had a drop goal charged down. Mixed bag.

9. Alex Mitchell – 8/10

Was definitely missed in the Calcutta Cup a fortnight ago and was busy early as England enjoyed good possession and territory.

His speed at the breakdown and sniping threat is a notable point of difference for this England side on the front foot.

England player ratings v Ireland – Forwards

1. Ellis Genge – 7/10

Gave England some real verve in attack with some big lung-busting carries and ferocious clear-outs. Fell foul of the referee’s whistle a couple of times.

Very solid at scrum time.

2. Jamie George (captain) – 6/10

Found himself marauding through the middle of the park in the first half after collecting a Ben Earl offload. Then spent most of the first 40 in dialogue with the referee.

Not his most outstanding individual display but admirable leadership. Withdrawn in the 54th minute, the earliest for quite some time, but he did not mind come the full-time whistle.

3. Dan Cole – 7/10

Used his heft to usher Ireland into touch early on, which the Twickenham faithful enjoyed. Namechecked by Dan Sheehan (caught on ref mic) as the man collapsing the scrum, officials didn’t seem to agree.

4. Maro Itoje – 8/10

Got the better of Joe McCarthy in some big ruck contests before some nice hands provided the assist for Furbank’s try. Undid some of the good work with a knock-on from the resulting kick-off.

But really grew into the game later on and was leading by example come the end.

5. George Martin – 7/10

Not quite at the same outstanding level as that awesome World Cup semi-final display but wasn’t too far off with plenty of grit and some huge shots that went into a tidy performance.

Some good lineout work and overshadowed the much-hyped Joe McCarthy in Ireland’s engine room

6. Ollie Chessum – 7/10

Shifted to the flank, Chessum whacked Bundee Aki into touch but appeared to pick up a stinger.

Interestingly was seen packing down at No 8 for a defensive scrum around halfway in the first half. Used all his length of limb to force a knock-on when Ireland looked dangerous in the 22 at 20-17, shortly before he made way for Alex Dombrandt.

7. Sam Underhill – 7/10

Didn’t quite get a few attempted jackals right but was felling trees all afternoon until he made way for Chandler Cunningham-South. Nice offload in the build-up to the Furbank try.

8. Ben Earl – 9/10

A few handing errors occasionally undermined some typically strong first-half carries. Caught a funky loopy lineout play from George on the Ireland five-metre in the first 40.

Culpable in a few penalties England conceded at the breakdown but it was his surge through Ireland that led to Peter O’Mahony’s cynical yellow card and he topped it off by crashing over from short range to take England into the lead in the final quarter.

Came up with a superb jackal penalty to quell Irish momentum in the 68th minute to cap a tremendous Man of the Match display.


The whole front row came on for the best part of half-an-hour and looked solid bar one ruck where Stuart and Marler were unable to clear the danger.

Marcus Smith was bravely sent on for Ford after 58 minutes, just after the O’Mahony yellow card, by Steve Borthwick and that paid dividends with the winning moment.

Care came on for his 100th cap after 65 minutes, with coach Borthwick standing and applauding in the stands. His club-mate Dombrandt – a forgotten man since the World Cup – also entered the fray at the same stage. But England’s replacement nine ought to have kept the ball in hand as his attempted grubber was blocked following Smith’s surge into the 22 with three minutes left on the clock.

Elliot Daly replaced Slade at 13 but his first involvement was messy as he was tackled mid-clearance kick on an exit and he was unable to land a trademark long-range penalty attempt, pushing his effort wide.

Chandler Cunningham-South showed a terrific leg drive in contact and unleashed a superb offload to Smith for that break before suffering an injury which left England down to 14 for the final two minutes.

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