"A for Arundell" - Every England Player Graded After the Rugby World Cup Pool Stages - Ruck

“A for Arundell” – Every England Player Graded After the Rugby World Cup Pool Stages

The pool stages of the 2023 Rugby World Cup are in the books, with England finishing at the top of Pool D for a spot in the quarter-finals. England completed a clean sweep of victories against Argentina, Japan, Chile and an albeit trickier encounter with Samoa, to confirm their spot in the final eight.

Steve Borthwick’s men take on Fiji this Sunday, as the knock-out stages heat-up. This is a re-match of the recent Summer Nations Series match, which saw England defeated by the Pacific Islanders for the first time in their history (30-22.) Borthwick’s side are out for redemption, and look like a far more confident outfit than the one which was beaten by the Flying Fijians back in August.

In this article, we take a look back over the past four matches of Rugby World Cup pool stage action, and hand out our gradings on every England player in Borthwick’s squad. Some players made the most of their short time on the pitch, whilst others struggled to hit the top gears that they would have liked.

Here is every England player’s Rugby World Cup pool stage performance graded, ahead of this Sunday’s quarter-final run-in with Fiji.



2023 RWC Caps: 4

Joe Marler of England seen during the Rugby World Cup Pool A match between England v Wales at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham on Sep 26th 2015 in London – Photo mandatory by-line: Graeme Truby/Pinnacle – Tel: +44(0)1363 881025 – Mobile:0797 1270 681 – VAT Reg No: 183700120 – SPORT – International Rugby

The Harlequins stalwart has made solid contributions in each of his pool stage appearances, that have predominantly come from off the bench. Marler made one start (against Japan), and presented his veteran instinct in the early scrum dominance. A key contribution saw Marler ‘use his head’, with an unorthodox assist for Courtney Lawes’ try against the Brave Blossoms.


2023 RWC Caps: 1

Bevan Rodd of England is tackled during the Autumn Nations Match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on 20 November 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

The Sale Sharks loose-head has been Borthwick’s third-string option for the number one jersey, with Ellis Genge and Joe Marler preferred in the tougher fixtures. Rodd started against Chile, and he ran out for 54 minutes, which saw him score a try in an all-round solid performance.


2023 RWC Caps: 3

Kyle Sinckler of England looks to offload during the Autumn Nations Match between England and South Africa at Twickenham Stadium on 20 November 2021. Photo: Tom Sandberg/PPAUK

The Bristol Bears man missed out on England’s Rugby World Cup opener against Argentina with a chest injury, but made a full recovery in time for Japan in round two. Having jostled for his long possessed number three jersey with Will Stuart throughout the Summer, Sinckler’s status as the go-to tight-head have dwindled slightly. A replacement appearance behind Dan Cole upped the tempo against Samoa, for a hard-fought England win.


2023 RWC Caps: 3

Will Stuart (Bath Rugby, 12 caps) during England Rugby training session at The Lensbury Hotel, Teddington, London on 28 Sept 2021. Photo: Phil Mingo/PPAUK

Three replacement appearances has seen England’s hottest propping prospect fall down the ranks in Borthwick’s eyes. The Bath man was running out stand-out performances over the Summer, with his World Cup outings packing as much punch, before he missed out entirely against Samoa. Still a decent showing on each occasion, with hopes of pressing on in the 2024 Six Nations.


2023 RWC Caps: 3

Ellis Genge of England during the Guinness Six Nations match between England and France at Twickenham Stadium, Twickenham, London on Saturday 11th March 2023 | Photo: James Fearn/PPAUK.

Not needed in the dominant win against Chile, but Genge has been putting in big shifts on his three opportunities. The former England captain has taken a back-seat from leadership roles, with the pack leader now seemingly Courtney Lawes, which has allowed him to focus on his own game. Genge has lifted his teammates, with stampeding runs customary of the ‘Baby Rhino’.


2023 RWC Caps: 2

Leicester Tigers player Dan Cole during the Gallagher Premiership Rugby Match between Leicester Tigers and London Irish on the first midweek round of matches as part of the Return to Rugby campaign as rugby continues after COVID 19 lockdown at Welford Road on 26 Aug. Photo: Steve Bond/PPAUK/Gallagher

Dan Cole’s on-field performances have come in the form of two starts, as he took the number three jersey for the matches against Argentina and Samoa. This could be a case of Borthwick sticking with what he knows for the RWC opener, and giving the tight-head a run out in the dead-rubber Samoan closer. After solid performances and always emptying the tank, Cole’s off-field RWC highlight has been his viral ‘Stone Cole Steve Austin’ impression.