- 22 Sep 07, 05:27 PM
Nantes - I was at the Stade de la Beaujoire on Saturday as England survived another scare against Samoa before pulling away to a 44-22 victory.
Here’s how I rated each individual England player’s performance. See whether you agree and give us your own thoughts.
Josh Lewsey – Coped well under plenty of pressure, mopping up well and saving a certain try when the score was 26-22 and Samoa were pressing. Some of his kicking was not convincing though when England needed to get the ball off the park. 6
Paul Sackey – Still unconvincing in his some of his defensive work, but showed his attacking worth especially late on. Raced onto Wilkinson chip for easy first try, ran a good angle to put Corry in for his second, and showed his pace to beat Alesana Tuilagi on the outside to secure a bonus point in injury-time. 6
Mathew Tait – Looked to find space but struggled to find any, and his pass to no-one down the left flank when the game was in the balance almost cost a try. Replaced by Hipkiss late on. 5
Olly Barkley – Provided an invaluable second kicking option without providing the same authority he had in the box-seat against the USA. Made a couple of half-breaks but generally well shackled with ball in hand. 6
Mark Cueto – Looked lively cutting in from the left wing and went looking for work, popping up in the line on the right flank on occasion. Almost scored in opening minute, but also lost a couple of balls in contact. 6
Jonny Wilkinson – Had a hand in three of England’s four tries, giving scoring passes to Corry and Sackey, and chipping through for Sackey’s opener. Kept the scoreboard ticking over in first half and after a surprising miss at 26-22, steadied himself to see England home with a second drop-goal and penalty from halfway. Relief all-round when his head was still on after Brian Lima’s high tackle. 7
Andy Gomarsall – A reassuring presence and a polished performance, providing the direction at scrum-half missing against South Africa. Covered back superbly, made several vital clearing kicks to touch, and tackled bravely too. England’s best player. 8
Andrew Sheridan – Had the Samoan scrum under pressure at times and put in a good shift at the coalface, working hard around the rucks. Only a couple of charges with ball in hand, replaced by Freshwater for final 25 minutes. 6
George Chuter – Found his men well in line-out, one not-straight throw apart, and provided extra energy in the loose, showing a fine range of pop-passes and offloading skills as well as solidity at the set-piece. A fine outing. 7
Matt Stevens – Scrummaged soundly to keep his end up and more, and burrowed away at close quarters, without finding too much opportunity with ball in hand. 6
Simon Shaw – Chargedown in first minute led to England’s opening try, solid supply of line-out ball and picked his moments well to run onto passes. Also appeared to take a lead in addressing problems as they arose, before being replaced by Borthwick. 6
Ben Kay – Tremendous line-out display, claiming all his own ball as well as being a real nuisance to the Samoans, snaffling several of their throws. Worked hard around the field too, one delightful off-load, and big improvement all-round. 7
Martin Corry – Showed good strength to finish his opening try and stamina for his second late on, reward for a punishing afternoon in the back-row battle. Also claimed a couple of Samoan line-outs. 6
Joe Worsley – Did exactly the job Brian Ashton wanted when he selected him for this match, putting in a string of important tackles at vital times, meeting the likes of Henry Tuilagi head-on at the gain line. Warmly applauded as he went off late on. 7
Nick Easter – A couple of decent charges off the back of scrum and did some useful work on the ground, winning one good turnover, and at re-starts. A solid, rather than spectacular outing. 6
Perry Freshwater – Replaced Sheridan after 64 minutes and helped shore up the set-piece superiority. 6
Steve Borthwick – Came on for Shaw after 64 minutes and put himself about. 6
Lewis Moody – Came on for Worsley for the final 10 minutes, throwing himself into tackles. 6
Dan Hipkiss – Came on for Tait for final eight minutes,
Not used: Mark Regan, Peter Richards, Andy Farrell
Bryn Palmer is the BBC Sport website’s rugby union editor.