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Player Ratings: The rise of the other Ioane

OPINION: What a sense of occasion an amazing venue and a big crowd can bring!


Optus Stadium looked a picture in perfect conditions and 60 000 fans were licking their lips in anticipation for the 2nd round match in the Rugby Championship between the Wallabies and All Blacks.

Sadly for diehard Australia fans, their team flattered to deceive, squandering their many chances again as they supplied the All Blacks with opportunities aplenty from errors and turnovers as the team in black raced to an 18-0 lead at halftime and finished 38-21 victors.

The All Blacks defence was staunch and well-organised and was certainly the foundation for their win.

Mike Rehu rates the All Blacks players

1. George Bower – 6/10
Was active around the field and his side of the scrum was solid. Great turnover at 38 minutes that led to David Havili’s try, where he was fuelling the maul with some power. Off at 56.

2. Codie Taylor – 7
The rake was looking good and sharp with a snappy turnover on Darcy Swain in the 21st minute. His lineout throwing, especially the combination with Brodie Retallick, was awesome. Hopefully, he’ll be back soon with two inexperienced backups in the squad. Off at 37.


3. Nepo Laulala – 5.5
Not sure if the situation is indicative of his short stature but for the second test in a row, Laulala had an issue with over-extending and pan-caking on a regular basis at scrum time. The first penalty went his way with James Slipper’s elbow to blame but he then gave away a couple of his own. On the positive side, looked energetic in the open. Off at 56.

4. Brodie Retallick – 7
Was flying in the line out early on with some beautiful soaring work, then really got physical as his team went down to 14 and he took over the captaincy. He’s trending upwards and his showdown with the Springboks’ tall timber in three weeks is something everyone should be looking forward to.

5. Scott Barrett – 7.5
Assigned to do all the donkey work that Whitelock usually does and it didn’t start too well as he missed Samu Kerevi by going too high in the 3rd minute. That really was the only blemish though as he threw himself at ball runners and made a nuisance of himself on Aussie box kicks. Brilliant work to shut down Tate McDermott in the 51st minute. Top tackler for his team, top game.

6. Akira Ioane – 9
As one sportswriter pointed out during the week, the proof that Akira Ioane has upped his status to top drawer is backing up with quality performances week after week. He did that again today, it was all action on both sides of the ball. Some standout moments included his nice team up with Brad Weber on Lachlan Swinton in the 11th minute, then he turned Folau Fainga’a inside out in the 26th minute. His body position on both sides of the ball is harmful to the opposition’s health. As the game wore on he really made his mark on the right flank in concert with Will Jordan. Made lineout takes, and took wise options – All Blacks fans have got to love it!


7. Dalton Papalii – 6.5
A selfless player who tries to complement his loose trio mates. Earned a quality 42nd-minute turnover and is always on the spot when required on defence but hasn’t featured with ball in hand as much as his Super Rugby work. Off at 62.

8. Ardie Savea – 7
Leading from the front as expected. Took a quick tap in the 14th minute that made the men in black’s second penalty an easier target. He got back well in the 37th minute to slow down a Wallabies attack but then went off with an HIA.

9. Brad Weber – 6.5
Threw himself into the defensive line early on and showed quick hands to Jordie Barrett for his try. Starkly missed a tackle on McDermott in the 50th minute that led to Fainga’a’s try. Will be interesting to see which way the selectors go next week. Off at 56.

10. Beauden Barrett – 6.5
We talk about the magic of Richie Mo’unga but some of his kicks behind the rush defence line were superb. Was gainful in defence, getting in the face of Samu Kerevi more than once. The big downside was his kicking boots fell off at the end of the first half. Not only does that not do him any favours, but it probably hurts his brother’s chances as well if the All Blacks need Damian McKenzie’s place-kicking.

11. Rieko Ioane – 8
Top metre-eater for the All Blacks in a match where he had to make his own chances to stretch the legs. His 23rd minute run was breathtaking, beating defenders with pace and a deathly swerve that ultimately brought him to ground. In the 48th minute, he lapped up Tom Banks, cutting him down easily on the outside.

12. David Havili – 8.5
An all-around day for the fullback turned inside back. Is there anything he can’t do? Great work over the ball in the 8th minute that led to the All Blacks’ first points. Second highest tackler for his team, a lot of which were high-impact hits in midfield. Scored from a pushover maul try and then managed an intercept too. Has become an important asset in a short time.

13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 7.5
He’s like an extra loose forward around the paddock. A tackling machine, and is working very well in concert with Havili, becoming a tackle/turnover threat. Got a five-pointer in the 68th minute, a well-deserved reward for his 100 per cent efforts.

14. Will Jordan – 8
Fast hands, fast feet. Was the hands on the attack leading to Jordie Barrett’s try and then featured twice in the 69th minute with flick on passes to Akira Ioane to work his brutal rumbling on the right flank. His pace is a threat and his kick receipts will keep him in the team as they build up to the Springboks. Off at 69.

15. Jordie Barrett – 6
Was the top of the roost with the first try in the 18th minute and plunged to the feather duster in the 28th minute with a red card. A tough one for him as players are coached to raise their knee/foot to give themselves protection and in this case, it seemed like a genuine reaction to keep his balance.


16. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 5
On at 37. Time to give Asafo Aumua a go. Has the power in spades but while lineout throwing has improved, he is not fully reliable.

17. Karl Tu’inukuafe – 6
On at 56. Looking svelte, someone might be stealing his bubble meals. A starter in a lot of people’s minds.

18. Angus Ta’avao – 5.5
On at 56. Pillar defence was an issue a couple of times but he did make a load of tackles.

19. Tupou Vaa’i – 6
On at 62. You have to admire his energy and skills.

20. – Ethan Blackadder – 7
On at 38. Ended up with a slew of tackles and made himself busy – as usual.

21. TJ Perenara – 7.5
On at 56 . What vision in the 73rd minute with the cross kick. Ended up with over 50 metres, a sterling effort in a quarter of rugby. Might be a good choice for starting halfback against the physical Pumas.

22. Damian McKenzie – 6.5
On at 48 to replace the red-carded player. The disallowed try was a shame, the open style game at that stage suited him.

23. George Bridge – 6
On at 69 and nabbed a try three minutes later. Good to see him back.

By Mike Rehu, Rugbypass


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