Player Ratings: Dethroned
OPINION: It was the match many were billing as the ‘true final’ and it certainly didn’t disappoint.
The All Blacks were bullied and bruised across the park in Yokohama – they simply had no answer for a fired-up England team that out-thought and out-played them en route to their deserved 19-7 victory.
It wasn’t all bad from New Zealand, however – there were a few shining lights among the rubble of defeat.
Tom Vinicombe rates the New Zealand players!
1. Joe Moody – 7.5/10
Incredibly busy on defence, making 13 tackles. Assured in the scrums and didn’t take a backwards step. Can’t ask for much more from a prop, except maybe a bit of dynamism. Lasted 63 minutes.
2. Codie Taylor – 6.5
Spent plenty of time camped out on the wing. Hit the English carriers hard early and made a nuisance of himself in the breakdown. Lineouts functioned reasonably well. Off in 50th minute.
3. Nepo Laulala – 4
Loose carry early coughed up possession. Penalised once in the scrum. Would Owen Franks have been a better bet? Off in 55th minute.
4. Brodie Retallick – 6
Big workload on the attack early on. Good break down the middle in the 27th minute but then tossed the ball away. Unfortunately, still well away from his best but didn’t shy away from contact.
5. Sam Whitelock – 5
Hit a few rucks but wasn’t called upon on attack and didn’t make his presence known on defence. The All Blacks needed their leaders to stand up and Whitelock didn’t. Off in 65th minute.
6. Scott Barrett – 6
Didn’t have the impact that Steve Hansen might have hoped for. Lineout didn’t benefit from his presence but slogged away on both attack and defence. The highlight was his impeccable effort to chase down Jonny May with great commitment and great pace. Off at half-time.
7. Ardie Savea – 9
Excellent work over the ruck in the danger zone in the 54th minute earned his side an attacking lineout – minutes later he dotted down for a try on the back of an England error. The All Blacks’ busiest defender, he helped his side to gain ascendancy at times in the collisions. Did everything he could in a losing effort.
8. Kieran Read – 7
Some deft hands down the sideline late in the second half. Bullied by the English tacklers but put in a hard day’s work at the office, making 14 tackles.
9. Aaron Smith – 6
Excellent defensive box kicks got his side out of trouble. Made one superb steal on defence in the 22. Put under pressure by England’s forwards and was eventually subbed for the more combative TJ Perenara in the 55th minute.
10. Richie Mo’unga – 5
Looked hesitant at times – England’s outside-in rush threw him off his game. Bad miss on Elliot Daly supplied England with the territory they needed to score their first try. Mixed up the All Blacks attack nicely, putting in some delicate grubbers. Didn’t thrive in open-field play like some of his team-mates.
11. George Bridge – 5.5
Dud clearance kick gifted England an attacking lineout early on. Threw himself into the England line with intent but couldn’t make much of a dent. Safe under the high ball. Off in 50th minute.
12. Anton Lienert-Brown – 8
Huge workload in the first quarter, making tackle after tackle – including two on dangerman Manu Tuilagi. Maintained his work on defence throughout the match, notching up 15 tackles. Took Ben Youngs’ dummy early in the second half but was given a lifeline when it was revealed that the English pack had bobbled the ball. One of New Zealand’s most dangerous runners.
13. Jack Goodhue – 8
One of New Zealand’s best. Clutch defensive play in the first five minutes – dipping and diving around three tacklers inside his own five metres – gave the All Blacks some breathing space. Reliable on defence and busy on the attack too but threw one wobbly pass. Off in 55th minute.
14. Sevu Reece – 7
Dancing feet but needed to get move involved. Nabbed an important intercept then offloaded the ball straight into England’s hands. Great dart on the back of a Sonny Bill Williams offload forced a defensive England lineout which Ardie Savea scored from. Tested with up-and-unders and only came up short once.
15. Beauden Barrett – 6.5
Threw an intercept to Tuilagi which could have been disastrous if Jordie Barrett hadn’t stepped in. Showed his trademark speed to keep an early All Blacks breakaway alive. Tried to spark something from the All Blacks in the dying minutes of the game but ultimately couldn’t do anything to resurrect his side from the loss.
16. Dane Coles – 6.5
On in 50th minute. Busy around the fringes and stood out with ball in hand.
17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi – 4
On in 63rd minute. Made zero impact.
18. Angus Ta’avao – 5
On in 55th minute. Put his hand up for a few carries but was shut out by the swarming English defence.
19. Patrick Tuipulotu – 4
On in 65th minute. See Tu’ungafasi.
20. Sam Cane – 7
On at half-time. Nice loop with Williams created a great chance for the All Blacks. The defensive line stepped up with Cane on the field – he himself contributed a dozen tackles despite being on for just a half.
21. TJ Perenara – 6
On in 55th minute. Hustled and bustled and showed great hands on one break from Reece.
22. Sonny Bill Williams – 6.5
On in 55th minute. Threw a trademark offload as soon as entered the game – New Zealand scored from the gained territory moments later. Williams took plenty of motivation from that success and kept them coming throughout.
23. Jordie Barrett – 5
On in 50th minute. Silly offload attempt inside the All Blacks’ 22 cost his team three points and it could very well have been a try.
By Tom Vinicombe, Rugbypass