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Player Ratings: 'This young fella is like a keg of dynamite'

OPINION: The All Blacks were looking for a better performance against the Wallabies after the 16-all draw last weekend in Wellington.


It was a ding dong battle in the first stanza with the All Blacks completely focussed on the collision and breakdown as Australia still looked up for the task, getting their share of territory and possession.

It was the third quarter where the match was decided, the All Blacks with three quick tries and conversely the Wallabies missing a couple of chances to score. Final score 27-7.

Mike Rehu rates the All Black players:

1. Joe Moody – 7

The prop started well in his defensive work with six tackles but sadly knocked out in the 30th minutes on a Hanigan hip.

2. Dane Coles – 7


We saw the typical Coles larrikin behaviour as he got under the skin of Tupou early on. He was off at 50 minutes but had a couple of good runs and was solid in his core role. Nothing between him and Cody Taylor but when he controls his aggression he’s an asset.

3. Ofa Tu’ungafasi – 6

Some wobbly first scrums and a muted defensive job, something that has been his strength this year. Off at 50 and looked tired.

4. Patrick Tuipulotu – 7


Big Paddy looked comfortable on his home ground with plenty of pressure on him as a senior lock. Had a strong day with 10 carries in tight traffic, made a statement tackle on Matt Toomua in the sixth minute to set the tenor. Finally got to see some daylight when he set up his skipper for a try.

5. Tupou Vaa’i – 6.5

In truth, he’s a year or two away from being a Test match starter but he did well. Off at 51.

6. Shannon Frizell – 7.5

Looked like he’d had someone on one sessions with Richie McCaw, snaffling turnovers in the second and sixth minute to deprive the opposition of the continuity they had last week. For a big lump he’s become a very good aerial player, great line out target; top takes and a line-out steal. Off at 64.

7. Sam Cane – 9

Top tackler second week in a row but great to see him running with the ball. He capped off a great player of the match game with a try in the 54th minute.

8. Ardie Savea – 8

Early on he denied Australia with first blood with a snappy turnover but was he offside? Some great runs averaging over four metres in his eight carries, one of those for the try in the 47th, although lucky he brushed aside the Daugunu tackle with three men outside him. 12 imposing tackles and none missed.

9. Aaron Smith – 6.5

Sometimes Nugget can’t help himself, with a bizarre stop in play to talk to ref in the 15th minute but good burrowing try after 22 minutes. Good to see him choose to run at the right time. Off at 54.

10. Richie Mo’unga – 7

Linked well and used his footwork to good effect both to spark the attack but also get himself out of trouble. Great try-saving tackle on Koroibete.

11. Caleb Clarke – 8.5

This young fella is like a keg of dynamite, started both halves well and it was good to see him receive the ball early in the second, twice in the set up to Jordie Barrett’s try. Run of the game was at the 46th-minute mark, underlining his cannonball class beating seven tacklers. He certainly gets the crowd on their feet! Off at 67.

12. Jack Goodhue – 6.5

Solid again and formed a strong midfield pairing. Seems to have a problem on the right to left pass, a few times not hitting the mark when the ABs were on the front foot. Off at 60. Maybe time to look at an ALB/Rieko pairing?

13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 7.5

Looked good and for me is the real link man. His defence is caustic, the 36-minute hit on Koroibete! Wow! The Aussie wing was still feeling it seconds later as he dropped an easy one and continued to drop the pill after getting his medicine from ALB!

14. Jordie Barrett – 6.5

Uses his strength and height well in the game but still doubts in some quarters he’s not fast enough for a wing. When brother Beauden put in that peach of a kick into the in-goal in the 21st minute are there Kiwi wings who would have scored that?

15. Beauden Barrett – 9

What Achilles? Was a major difference from the All Black performance last week. Beat five tackles in the 16th minute to get the black tails up. Was Harry Wilson was on commission for softening off Beaudy? Didn’t phase the All Back star.


16. Codie Taylor – 6.5

On at 50. Mix and match with Coles.

17. Alex Hodgman – 7.5

Great debut! On at the 31st minute and is a big physical presence. Well earned scrum penalties at 39 and 72 minutes and is like a forklift cleaning out.

18. Nepo Laulala – 6

On at 50. Penalised a couple of times at scrum. Maybe longer sprigs?

19. Scott Barrett – 7

On at 51 minutes. Didn’t see him until 68 minutes which is fine for a tight forward and a major reason why we held the Wallabies off.

20. Hoskins Sotutu – 6.5

On at 64. Bubbling under but not out of his depth.

21. TJ Perenara – 8

On at 54 and really made a difference with his strength and desire. Great tackle and turnover on Liam Wright first up and then seconds later up the left flank for some major metreage. Love the “on the ball” niggly tackling technique!

22. Peter Umaga-Jenson – 6.5

On for debut after an ALB 18th minute blood bin. Cleaned out well to set up Smith’s try, then off until 60 minutes for ten minutes before an HIA ended his day.

23. Damian MacKenzie – N/A

On at 67. Time for Jordan to get a shot?

By Mike Rehu, @RugbyPass

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