Player Ratings: New Zealand
OPINION: The All Blacks have defied the odds with a well-deserved 28-24 win over Ireland in Paris to progress through to the World Cup semifinals.
Despite spending 20 minutes with 13 players on the field, New Zealand led the match from start to finish – but it still required over 30 phases of defending to shut out the game.
How did the All Blacks rate in the win?
1. Ethan de Groot – 7
Held up his side of the scrum. Penalised once at the breakdown for not releasing the tackled player. Hit double figures in the tackle count despite not being on the field for the All Blacks’ big defensive effort at the end of the match. Off in 64th minute.
2. Codie Taylor – 6
Wasn’t able to get his running game going but was industrious on defence. Yellow-carded for bringing down a maul – although it probably could have been given to any All Black forward. Hit his lineout targets without too much trouble.
3. Tyrel Lomax – 8
Had the better of Andrew Porter despite spending plenty of time on the sidelines in recent weeks. Made countless tackles. Off in 64th minute.
4. Brodie Retallick – 7
Disrupted Ireland’s first lineout but wasn’t able to complete the steal. Secured an important breakdown turnover when Ireland were looking likely. Off temporarily in 65th minute.
5. Scott Barrett – 7
Another to put in a big shift on defence – and hit plenty of rucks. Moved to the backrow for the final quarter, where he was simply asked to make more tackles and hit more rucks.
6. Shannon Frizell – 5
Penalised in front of the posts off a kick-off for shepherding. Johnny Sexton duly converted into three points. One of two players stepped by Bundee Aki as the Ireland No.12 scored his side’s first try. Shifted plenty of bodies in the first half. Off in 60th minute.
7. Sam Cane – 8
A huge captain’s knock. Delivered a big tackle on Caelan Doris, facilitating a good opportunity for his loose forward teammate to initiate a steal. Forced a turnover of his own in of Ireland’s next attacking forays. Made a couple of nice runs with the ball. Made some more big hits late in the game and finished with 23 tackles, the most of any player on the park. Off in 75th minute.
8. Ardie Savea – 8
Huge on the carry (hitting double figures) but a bit overzealous at times on defence and in the breakdown. Pinged early at the breakdown for an illegal steal attempt but won one back moments later. Dotted down for a nice try in the corner with a great dive. Penalised again near the end of the first half and was then caught out when Jamison Gibson-Park dived over for a try from the following lineout drive. Forced another key penalty in the second spell and NZ scored a great long-distance try from the following lineout.
9. Aaron Smith – 5
A nervous game for the experienced halfback. Fluffed his first two passes. Yellow-carded for a deliberate knock-on. Might have saved a try at the time, but Ireland scored anyway from the ensuing possession. Plucked a Jamison Gibson-Park wide ball out of the air.
10. Richie Mo’unga – 8
1/1 pen, 1/2 con. Sent his first Gary Owen directly up in the air but mostly came right after that. Popped one chip kick over the line which Savea collected. Deputised well at halfback with Smith in the sin-bin. Measured up to Peter O’Mahony under the high ball. Made a great break off a lineout to spark the All Blacks’ third score. Penalised once for a high tackle.
11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 6
Grabbed the opening try of the match after some nice back-and-forth with Rieko Ioane. Struggled at times to contain Mack Hansen and later Jimmy O’Brien. Stripped of the ball by Doris at one stage. Did some good work under the high ball. Off in 64th minute.
12. Jordie Barrett – 8
Threw himself into contact. Timed his pass to perfection in the build-up for the opening try. Made good use of his hefty boot. Kicked a nice penalty from near halfway. In what was perhaps the biggest play of the match, somehow prevented what looked like an almost certain try, holding Ronan Kelleher up over the line off a driving maul with fewer than 10 minutes to play.
13. Rieko Ioane – 7
Stepped by Bundee Aki. Delivered two try assists with two key passes in the wide channels. His speed in the outer channels helped shut down one Ireland counter-attack. Penalised once for not rolling away from the tackle.
14. Will Jordan – 7
Kicked a nice 50-22 – although NZ had the penalty advantage regardless. Missed Gibson-Park for the halfback’s try. Scored a try of his own after running a good support line off Mo’unga.
15. Beauden Barrett – 7
Sparked New Zealand’s opening try with a well-placed chip and chase in the middle of the park. Looked cool as a cucumber on defence and covered the backfield well.
16. Dane Coles – N/A
On in 65th minute.
17. Tamaiti Williams – 5
On in 64th minute. Maintained the scrum standards but was otherwise quiet.
18. Fletcher Newell – 7
On in 64th minute. Continued Lomax’s good work at the set-piece and earned a penalty at his first scrum.
19. Sam Whitelock – 7
On in 60th minute. Pinged for not rolling away at the breakdown. The hero in the 83rd minute, forcing a breakdown penalty to end the match.
20. Dalton Papali’i – N/A
On in 75th minute.
21. Finlay Christie – NA
22. Damian McKenzie – N/A
23. Anton Lienert-Brown – 6
On in 64th minute. Delivered one big tackle late and rallied well late.