Player ratings: Dark days
OPINION: New Zealand fell to a shock 18-25-18 loss at the hands of Argentina in Christchurch on Saturday, with ill-discipline costing the home team dearly.
The All Blacks outscored their opposition two tries to one, but with Emiliano Boffelli kicking six penalties for Argentina, it simply wasn’t enough for the All Blacks to prevent Los Pumas from recording their first-ever victory in New Zealand.
Tom Vinicombe rates the New Zealand players!
1. Ethan de Groot – 8/10
Dominated his opposite at the first two scrums to win his pack two penalties. Copped a penalty of his own for a marginally high tackle on Pablo Matera but also grabbed a turnover-cum-penalty at the breakdown early in the second half. Off in 45th minute.
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 7.5
Unsurprisingly busy with the ball, carrying regularly and often taking at least a pair of Argentinian defenders to bring him to the ground. Hit all lineout targets. Scored the All Blacks’ first points with a try from the back of a driving maul. Off in 45th minute.
3. Tyrel Lomax – 5
Pinged once in the first quarter for offside defence and again with time almost up in the first half for interfering at the lineout. Both instances cost the All Blacks three points. Held his own at scrum time. Off in 45th minute.
4. Sam Whitelock – 6
Wasn’t quite as influential as he was in the All Blacks’ two matches in South Africa. Disrupted the Pumas lineout, forcing two errors, but struggled to make an impact around the park. Conceded a penalty after getting stuck in a ruck.
5. Scott Barrett – 6.5
Carried with vig and vigour and hit plenty of rucks. Penalised twice for some illegal breakdown work in the first half. Couldn’t take a kick-off which resulted in a try for the Pumas.
6. Shannon Frizell – 6.5
One of a number of very willing ball carriers in the opening 10 minutes and continued to throw himself around the park throughout the match. Ran a nice line off Ardie Savea then offloaded to George Bower to generate some great momentum early in the second half. Sin-binned with 10 to play for collapsing a maul.
7. Sam Cane – 5
Led the defensive effort, per usual. Penalised for a tackle off the ball with 15 left to play which gifted the Pumas three points and left the All Blacks seven behind. Was subbed immediately afterwards. Off in 67th minute.
8. Ardie Savea – 6.5
Put in some big hits on defence. Showed off his deft hands with a nice ball to Frizell. Carrying game really came to life in the final half hour – and especially so with 10 to play.
9. Aaron Smith – 6
Delivered reasonably sharp ball at the base of the ruck but couldn’t offer much else. Didn’t really lay a hand on Juan Martin Gonzalez Samso after the Pumas flanker pounced on a loose ball and ran away for a try. Off in 63rd minute.
10. Richie Mo’unga – 6.5
Tried to skip and step his way through the Pumas defences but didn’t have much luck. Made one great break from inside his 22 to bring the ball to halfway but couldn’t find any support and Argentina won possession at the breakdown. A couple of misses on goal proved costly.
11. Caleb Clarke – 6.5
Scored the All Blacks’ second try with a nice run down the left-hand flank to finish off a counterattack and was one of the few All Blacks to regularly make metres with his one-off carries.
12. David Havili – 4
Resumed his usual role of throwing himself into bigger, stronger defenders and wasn’t able to generate much in the way of momentum. Pinged for sealing off the ball at the breakdown.
13. Rieko Ioane – 4.5
Dropped one ball cold when the All Blacks were building phases. Waited until the perfect moment to give the ball to Jordie Barrett for Clarke’s try. Had a couple of reasonable moments with the ball in hand in the second half but wasn’t able to cut loose. Lost possession on more than one occasion. Off in 70th minute.
14. Will Jordan – 4
Struggled to get his hands on the ball – not for the first time this year. Made one nice spot tackle when the Pumas got the ball out wide. Claimed a couple of high balls.
15. Jordie Barrett- 7
Did more close-range carrying than he was probably used to and worked reasonably well as a battering ram. Ran a nice line alongside Rieko Ioane to get himself into a gap before delivering the ball out to Clarke for his try. Missed one long-range penalty attempt. Off in 80th minute.
16. Codie Taylor – 2
On in 45th minute. Had an inaccurate start to his time on the field, missing his lineout jumpers and then dropping the ball cold. Effectively ended the All Blacks’ chances with a crooked lineout throw in the final minute.
17. George Bower – 8
On in 45th minute. Made a great run off a Frizell offload with his first carry of the match and was generally busy with ball in hand. Somewhat at fault for Argentina’s first try, failing to tackle Gonzalez Samso after Barrett lost the ball at the kick-off. Maintained De Groot’s dominance at scrum time, earning two penalties.
18. Fletcher Newell – 6
On in 45th minute. Held up his side of the scrum but wasn’t able to add any impact around the field.
19. Tupou Vaa’i – N/A
20. Akira Ioane – N/A
On in 67th minute. Carried strongly.
21. Finlay Christie – 4.5
On in 63rd minute. A few inaccurate passes cost the All Blacks some momentum.
22. Stephen Perofeta – N/A
On in 80th minute.
23. Quinn Tupaea – 6
On in 70th minute. A useful cameo with his midfield carries proving useful at generating some go-forward.