Player Ratings: The Great Escape
OPINION: The All Blacks have braved the conditions and escaped Twickenham with a one-point victory over hosts England.
Sam Warlow rates the New Zealand players:
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe – 7.5
Started strong with a big penalty win on the All Blacks five at scrum time. Accurate in defence and had a couple of strong carries.
Had a few struggles at lineout time and was uncharacteristically quiet with ball in hand. Put the ball to ground and was largely untested on defence.
3. Owen Franks – 6
Made his tackles and propped up the All Black scrum. No real chances to carry.
4. Sam Whitelock – 8
A tireless effort. Constantly steadied the All Black ship. Led the team in tackles with 12 and won a turnover.
5. Brodie Retallick – 8.5
After spilling the opening kickoff Retallick returned to his usual world-destroying self. Was all over the park, reliable as a ball carrier and made a few big hits. Will give England hookers Dylan Hartley and Jamie George nightmares after constantly disrupting the lineout.
6. Liam Squire – 4.5
Another quiet shift from Squire. Limited to one metre from his three carries. Made all five of his tackle attempts. Minimal impact on the match.
7. Ardie Savea – 8
One of the All Blacks’ best against England. Powerful leg drive to extend carries on several occasions. Plenty of work over the ball. Made nine tackles and won a turnover. Topped the forward pack in run metres.
8. Kieran Read – 8
Tough to bring down. Kept the ball alive several times and was handy as a lineout option. Backed his side by opting for a touch-finder with three points on offer.
9. Aaron Smith – 6.5
Generally solid delivery in trying conditions. Had a kick sail out on the full and got caught trying to do too much throwing a bad pass to bomb a certain try early in the second spell. Made a key tackle on his opposite close to the line.
10. Beauden Barrett – 7.5
Spent the first 30 minutes gifting possession to England. Overcooked his first few stabs in behind the defence, missed touch and got caught offside. Kept cool despite rush defence to find McKenzie inside for his side’s only try and was solid in defence. Accuracy off the tee and first international dropped goal proved to be the difference.
11. Rieko Ioane – 5.5
Caught off his wing for Chris Ashton’s opening try and turned the ball over a couple of times. Made solid metres when given the opportunity, but was otherwise limited in tough conditions and made a few errors.
13. Jack Goodhue – 7
Trucked it up the middle of the park well in his return after almost two months off.
14. Ben Smith – 7.5
Made a big break with his first real chance. Led the match with 79 run metres from just six carries. Broke the line on three of them.
15. Damian McKenzie – 8.5
Was the All Blacks’ best on the park. Cool head defensively, especially in the early goings. A constant threat to break the line. Beat a game-high 11 defenders and broke the line three times. Scored the All Blacks’ only try. Let down by a missed touchfinder and spilled ball just before being subbed.
Dane Coles was an instant upgrade over Taylor at lineout time. Very positive signs in his first real run after a long layoff.