Our big England v Wales fans’ survey gave you the chance to let us know your reaction to all the big England v Wales talking points – and thousands of you took the opportunity to air your thoughts.
From Joe Marler’s controversial grab at Alun Wyn Jones at the start of the game to Manu Tuilagi’s red card at the end of it, and everything about Wales’ performance in between, here’s what you had to say about the game and where it leaves Wales.
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Question 1: Rate the Welsh performance on selection, attack, defence, tactics and overall
The top line here? A pretty average grade of 58% for the overall Welsh performance. But looking under the bonnet of that score, two stories emerge – a more positive assessment of the Wales selection and attacking display, and significantly worse marks for the team on the tactical and defensive fronts.
Changes to the back row to give Wales more of an edge at the breakdown seem to have played well with the Welsh public, with all three members of that back row scoring some of the highest individual scores (see below for more on that), giving Wayne Pivac a score of 64% for his team selection. And a second-half display thought brought three tries was enough to push at the team’s attacking rating up to 63%, despite long periods of the game when Wales seemed offensively blunt.
Question 2: Rate the individual performances, starting with the backs
There was one clear winner here, and it was the newest member of the Welsh back division. Nick Tompkins earned a mark of 75% from the Welsh public thanks to a swashbuckling display that blended pace, creativity and physicality. Up against many of his Saracens teammates, Tompkins was in no mood to be overshadowed, constantly probing for gaps and testing the English defence with his dynamic ball-carrying.
In second place was Dan Biggar, who overcome his nasty-looking knee injury in a try-scoring performance that picked up a score of 69% from those who took part in our survey.
Question 3: Rate the forwards
As mentioned above, it was that back row display that took the plaudits here, capped off by a swashbuckling, double try-scoring display from the irrepressible Justin Tipuric, including finishing off one of the all-time great Welsh tries. The Ospreys stalwarts was Wales’ overall man-of-the-match with a stunning score of 82%, although he was run close by the returning Josh Navidi, who showed no rust from his lack of rugby in 2020 in picking up a rating of 79% for an all-action display of power and mobility.
There was less positivity about Wales’ front-rowers, with the pack’s struggles in the scrum likely behind a set of scores barely creeping out of the 50s.
Question 4: Rate the replacements
One clear winner here – and it was the man exiled from the Welsh international scene for so long. Rhys Webb seemed a long way back to his old self in his cameo second half appearance, with his acceleration and eye for a gap earning him a score of 68%. It was a mark beaten only by Biggar and Tompkins among the starting backs, and 10 percentage points ahead of Tomos Williams, the man he replaced at scrum-half.
Unsurprisingly, that’s led to calls among many for a change at no.9 against Scotland next weekend.
Question 5: What did you think was the main reason Wales lost?
We gave you five options here – Wales’ aimless kicking tactics, Wales’ weak defence for England’s three tries, Ben O’Keefe’s reluctance to show a yellow card despite repeat English penalties, Wales inability to match England’s physical approach and Wales not scoring until 78th minute despite 10 minutes of pressure beforehand in England 22.
And while all the options garnered a reasonable level of support, it was the defensive lapses that ranked as the most popular choice, with 36% of you going for it.
And it’s understandable why. Wales looked vulnerable every time England reached their 22, with the home team’s three tries representing a significant success rate in terms of their total visits to Welsh territory.
In second place with 25% of the vote – and not unconnected – was Wales’ failure to match England’s physical intensity.
Question 6: Sum up the game for us in a couple of sentences
We got more than 2,000 comments here – too many to do justice to here, so we’ll bring you a flavour of those separately.
Question 7: Did Manu Tuilagi deserve to be sent off?
Very little debate here. Even the player himself had few arguments with being dismissed for a shoulder charge to the head of George North, and he’d have found only 20% of the Welsh public to defend him, according to our survey.
Exactly 80% of you agreed with referee Ben O’Keeffe’s interpretation of the situation as a straight red-card offence.
Question 8: What’s your view on the incident involving Joe Marler and Alun Wyn Jones?
Some initial reactions to Marler’s grabbing of the Welsh skipper’s private parts might have labelled it as banter and gamesmanship, but like Alun Wyn himself, the majority of our survey respondents thought the incident was much more serious than that.
More than three-quarters of those who answered felt the England prop should have been punished with at least a yellow card, with close to half – 47% – believing that Marler deserves a ban for the offence.
Based on what World Rugby’s guidelines say about such behaviour, it seems quite likely he’ll get one.
Question 9: Based on the performance against England, how confident do you feel that Wales are heading in the right direction?
Looking ahead from Saturday’s game then, we wanted to get an idea of the Welsh outlook for the future, based on what you’ve seen so far, and in particular, what you saw at Twickenham.
Asked to rate your confidence between 0% and 100%, the overall score came out at 59%. It seems there was enough about what Wales against England for the public to retain confidence that, despite three consecutive defeats, the team are on the right track.
But only just – this is no ringing endorsement of Pivac’s Wales regime, with the confidence rating only 9% into positive territory. The jury is still out on the new management and their plans, but they’ve still got the backing of the public.
Question 10: Do you think Wales will beat Scotland next weekend?
Wales might have failed to get a result against the World Cup finalists in their own backyard, but it hasn’t dented confidence that we’ll end this year’s tournament on a high. Four in five of you think we’ll beat Scotland next weekend at the Principality Stadium. Despite a losing win, it would be a major surprise if they were wrong.
Question 11: Would you now pick Louis Rees-Zammit for the Scotland game?
There was a huge buzz around the inclusion of the Gloucester winger in Wayne Pivac’s Welsh squad for the tournament, but as yet, we’re yet to see him on the field. Fitness permitting, a huge majority want to change for the championship denouement against Scotland, with exactly three quarters of you calling for the teenager to get a shot on the wing in what is now a dead rubber.
Question 12: What other changes, if any, would you make for the Scotland game?
Of the 1,200 responses we got to this question, there was one overwhelming choice – Rhys Webb. It’s been a long time since the former Toulon man wore 9 for Wales – will next week’s match be the big moment?