- 20 Sep 07, 10:07 PM
Wales ratings v Japan
Cardiff – I was at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on Thursday for Wales’ Pool B game against Japan.
Here’s how I rated the individual Wales players’ performances. See what you think and let us know what you made of the performance.
Kevin Morgan – 4
A horrific, near-lateral kick from breakdown ball that gifted Japan a counter-attack was the most memorable moment of the full-back’s match. Redeemed an error-ridden display somewhat with a well-taken try on the stroke of half-time.
Dafydd James – 6
An important physical presence in Gareth Thomas’ absence from the back three. Lacked the pace to finish the first try, but had the composure to put Alun Wyn Jones in.
Jamie Robinson – 5
Did little wrong, but his distribution was occasionally hesitant and the centre faces a thankless task in trying to displace Tom Shanklin.
James Hook – 7
Still questions over whether he can cope with the physicality at 12 against the bigger teams, but Hook’s skills are undoubted and his dummy to create space for his first-half try was delightful.
Shane Williams – 6
The ball didn’t run for the little winger on his 50th cap, but he also tried too much at times and spilt valuable ball. Got an almost obligatory brace of tries against Japan, but blew another with poor footballing skills.
Stephen Jones – 7
Determined to assert himself as leader, fly-half and first-choice kicker from the start. This was Jones’ best game at 10 when he has had Hook inside him and there is little doubt that Gareth Jenkins will keep his favoured outside-half in that role for the Fiji game.
Mike Phillips – 7
A frustrating first half riddled with errors. Phillips stepped up his battle to displace an out-of-form Dwayne Peel with two bullish breaks afterwards, scoring one try and creating another before being replaced by Cooper just as he was hitting his straps.
Duncan Jones – 6
Did his work in the tight but was somewhat quieter in the loose than we are used to seeing. Blew a first-half try by cutting back when an overlap was screaming outside.
Rhys Thomas – 7
Thomas’ often wayward line-out work was straight and true, benefiting from the lack of pressure exerted by the vertically challenged Japanese forwards. The Blues hooker was committed around the park and drove powerfully for his first-half try.
Chris Horsman – 7
Played his part in grinding down the spirited Japanese effort – and thankfully kept his discipline in check.
Will James – 6
We saw little of the Gloucester lock’s famed charges around the pitch and he was little used as a line-out option before the game was safe, but some strong hits at the fringes of rucks went some way to justifying his controversial World Cup call-up.
Alun Wyn Jones – 9
Wales’ go-to man delivered again. Took all the early line-outs, was prominent around the field, got his team’s opening try when they were struggling and was unlucky not to score a second.
Colin Charvis – 8
Always a solid, comforting presence for Wales, Charvis’ work at the breakdown was as effective as ever and his power and pace troubled the visitors.
Martyn Williams – 7
The quietest of Wales’ back-row trio in one of the most fiercely competitive areas of the squad. With Gareth Jenkins’ line-out captain Jonathan Thomas to come back in, Williams woke up late on with two well-taken tries.
Alix Popham – 7
Made a point after being dropped for the Australia game with some eye-catching hits and fine support work. Blotched his copy-book by throwing away an interception try with his last play before being replaced by Michael Owen.
Gethin Jenkins – 6
Came on with the hard work already done and played his part in easing Wales to victory.
Huw Bennett – 6
A justly deserved first appearance at the World Cup in his second tournament.
Ian Evans – 6
A joy to see Evans back on a rugby pitch after a seven-month injury absence. Took some line-out ball – but obviously didn’t fancy a 75m interception try run-in as he knocked on with the line beckoning!
Michael Owen – 6
A quiet 20 minutes after replacing Popham.
Gareth Cooper – 7
Came on to an ideal situation with the Welsh forwards rampant and the opposition out on their feet, Cooper capitalised well and scored a good try.
Ceri Sweeney – 6
Made a couple of mistakes after replacing Stephen Jones before he settled into and began to enjoy the free-running finale.
Tom Shanklin – 6
Had little to prove in his 10-minute run-out, but was eager and determined to get in the mix.
Sean Davies is a BBC Sport journalist based in Cardiff.