England player ratings vs Argentina: Sam Underhill back with a bang but Marcus Smith struggles in new role

Back with a bang: Sam Underhill provided a bruising reminder of his power on his return to the England fold (AP)
Back with a bang: Sam Underhill provided a bruising reminder of his power on his return to the England fold (AP)

Theo Dan atoned for gifting Argentina a try by stealing one of his own just two minutes later as England finished third at the Rugby World Cup.

The Saracens hooker missed a tackle on Santiago Carreras for an Argentina score, only to charge the fly-half down moments later and score himself at the other end.

England prevailed 26-23 in a nervy Stade de France encounter, with Nicolas Sanchez missing a penalty with six minutes to play that would have levelled the scores.

Steve Borthwick’s England lost out agonisingly 16-15 to South Africa in the semi-finals last weekend, but can now return home filled with pride and hope for a bright future.

England ratings

Backs

Marcus Smith – 5

Struggled under the high ball and this is where his difficulties will appear long-term at full-back. Always dangerous with ball in hand, though.

Freddie Steward – 6

Unable to repeat his heroics from the South Africa semi-final six days earlier, which is hardly surprising given how punishing that match proved.

Joe Marchant – 6

Defended well and looked busy but could never cut loose in the way he would have liked, in what will be his last England game for some time given his move to Stade Francais.

Manu Tuilagi – 7

A typically physical showing from the Samoa-born battering ram, who never lets England down.

Henry Arundell – 6

Unable to get on the ball and cut free in the way everyone knows he can. A frustrating night.

Owen Farrell – 8

So crucial to England’s success yet again. Embarrassingly booed by neutral spectators for opting to kick at goal... in what proved a three-point game.

Captain Owen Farrell defied the boo boys once again with another top-class showing (Getty Images)
Captain Owen Farrell defied the boo boys once again with another top-class showing (Getty Images)

Ben Youngs – 5

Not the way he would have wanted to bow out from Test rugby in terms of his own performance, but the result and the medal will do the job. A genuinely great servant of the English game.

Forwards

Ellis Genge – 8

A fizzing performance from the Bristol prop, who wanted to make a few points after struggling at the scrum against South Africa.

Theo Dan – 7

Atoned for his costly mistake with a gutsy try. The young Saracen has a big future with both England and his club side.

Will Stuart – 6

Still to realise his rich potential on the Test stage, but never let anyone down with a solid showing.

Maro Itoje – 7

Another Herculean effort from the talismanic lock who somehow found the energy reserves to go again.

Ollie Chessum – 7

So important to everything England do up front now. Chessum will return home as one of this team’s most important cogs.

Tom Curry – 8

A fine performance especially given all the outside chaos surrounding his allegations of racism against South Africa’s Bongi Mbonambi. A class act as ever.

Tom Curry performed admirably after a hugely difficult week off the pitch (Getty Images)
Tom Curry performed admirably after a hugely difficult week off the pitch (Getty Images)

Sam Underhill – 8

A stunning showing given he was an injury call-up to this squad. Surely has to be a regular in the ranks for the Six Nations and beyond.

Ben Earl – 8

Ran himself into the ground again, and bagged a smart try for his troubles. England’s man of the tournament delivered once more.

Replacements

Jamie George (for Dan, 53) – 8

Threw himself into everything as England clung on for victory. Vital late scrummaging secured this win.

Bevan Rodd (for Genge, 49) – 8

The entire change front row held firm against Argentina and even nicked a vital penalty.

Dan Cole (for Stewart, 49) - 7

Will go out on his shield if this campaign proves his last with England. A phenomenal resurgence given the difficulties he endured in the 2019 final.

David Ribbans (for Chessum, 69) – 7

Never lets anyone down in terms of physicality and delivered again.

Lewis Ludlam (for Curry, 49) – 7

Such a fierce and passionate competitor, Ludlam left it all out there in another strong cameo. A real leader even despite limited minutes at this World Cup.

George Ford made a late try-saving tackle on Mateo Carreras to preserve the lead (AP)
George Ford made a late try-saving tackle on Mateo Carreras to preserve the lead (AP)

Danny Care (for Youngs, 50) – 7

Saw England over the line and if this is to be his last action for the Red Rose, what a tale it will be to tell in the years to come.

George Ford (for Tuilagi, 55) – 8

Try-saving tackle helped secure England’s win here. Ford booted Argentina to submission in the September pool stage win, and knocked them back this time in Paris.

Ollie Lawrence (for Arundell, 65) – 7

Another physical showing from a centre of such high promise for England’s future.