Player Ratings: Jittery All Blacks
OPINION: A last-gasp try to replacement halfback Herschel Jantjies has earned the Springboks a deserved draw against the All Blacks.
It wasn’t an easy day at the office for the All Blacks – especially with a number of players making their first international appearance of the year.
How did the All Blacks rate? Find out below.
1 Joe Moody
First match for the All Blacks since October – and it showed. Scrum looked sturdy with him on the field but his hands let him down on more than one occasion. Not especially busy on defence, making just four tackles. Looked to be short of gas near the end of his spell.
2 Codie Taylor
Looked dynamic. Hit every tackle with aggression, which is especially impressive when you’re the All Blacks second top tackler with 12. Didn’t stand out as much as he normally does in the loose, but can’t fault his set piece work.
3 Owen Franks
Strong in the tight stuff but lacking in any other facets of the game. Franks did his core duties well – but that’s about it. Made 7 tackles, which isn’t bad for a prop.
4 Brodie Retallick
Put in one monster hit in the build-up to Jack Goodhue’s try. Also excellent in the line-outs. A very quiet game otherwise, making just two tackles (which is probably a record low for the big lock). Looks set to miss a significant amount of game time in the near future due to a dislocated shoulder and could be out for the season.
5 Sam Whitelock
Industrious in his core duties. It wasn’t really a game for the tight five, though.
6 Shannon Frizell
Tidy enough. Fairly busy on defence. Didn’t cement his spot in the squad, but looks the better option between him and Vaea Fifita right now.
7 Matt Todd
One of the All Blacks’ best. Always does his job and tonight was no exception. Made a game-high 18 tackles and dug his head into every breakdown he found.
8 Kieran Read
Looks to be missing the spark of old. Maybe regular game time will fix that, however. He’s a safe player, he’ll always make his tackles, but All Blacks need a dynamo at the back of the scrum.
9 TJ Perenara
Excellent over the ball – one of the best defensive halfbacks in the world. Still, the core job of a No.9 is passing and Perenara can’t match Aaron Smith in that regard. Intensity and pace of the game picked up considerably with Smith’s injection.
10 Richie Mo’unga
Early jitters with two kicks charged down, but late-game goal-kicking made up for it. Nervous first start against top level opposition, probably needs more time in the saddle. Is it too late to get him ready for the World Cup?
11 Rieko Ioane
Worst performance in an All Blacks jersey to date. Was well contained by opposite Cheslin Kolbe and on the few times he found space his hands let him down. Needs as many games under his belt before the World Cup to get him back to top form.
12 Sonny Bill Williams
Did what was asked of him. Made 8 tackles, the most of any All Blacks back. Was quiet on defence but threw a few nice passess – including the one that created Barrett’s linebreak which led to New Zealand’s try. Was a bit loose in the carry sometimes but a good performance given how much time he’s had away from the game.
13 Jack Goodhue
Very tidy game. Showed good pace for his try and even won a penalty at the breakdown. Looks much more experienced than he actually is.
14 Ben Smith
Covered well on defence and was smart with the ball hand – just not particularly dangerous. Has perhaps lost a little bit of pace – but could chalk that up to injury earlier in the year.
15 Beauden Barrett
Fullback is very much his natural position. Looks excellent with the extra space and slotted into first receiver when necessary to take some heat off Mo’unga. Goal kicking once again let him down, however.
16 Dane Coles
Looked sprightly in his time on the field. Added excellent impetus off the bench. Who knows who the selectors consider to be their best hooker right now?
17 Ofa Tu’ungafasi
Busy around the park but scrum certainly dropped in intensity upon his injection. Still doesn’t quite look comfortable at this level.
18 Angus Ta’avao
Nice impact, looked good in open play. Surely the fittest of the All Blacks’ props? Scrummaging may be a concern, however.
19 Vaea Fifita
Wasn’t able to make much of an impact on attack and didn’t really get stuck into defending. Covered lock but probably isn’t strong enough in the scrum to fit in there in a tight game.
20 Dalton Papalii
No time to make an impact. Doesn’t bode well for chances of avoiding the cull.
21 Aaron Smith
Game kicked up a notch when he was introduced. Perhaps a few of the snappier teams may trouble Smith around the fringes, but he’s so very good at unlocking the All Blacks’ attack.
22 Anton Lienert-Brown
Side-stepping always keeps the opposition guessing. Always looking to create. Could ALB be the key to unlocking some of the tighter defences in world rugby?
23 George Bridge
Didn’t have a lot of time – or space – to make an impact, but did well with the hand he was dealt. Will be looking for a start against Australia in the coming weeks.