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Player Ratings: New Zealand

OPINION: The All Blacks finished with a tight 16-15 win over England in Scott Robertson’s first Test as All Blacks head coach.

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The home side constructed two tries in the first half to Sevu Reece and Ardie Savea but England stayed with them to head to the sheds 10-all at the half.

An England try took the lead 15-10, before two Damian McKenzie penalty goals got New Zealand over the line.

Here’s how the All Blacks players rated:

1. Ethan de Groot – 5

The scrum conceded a penalty on the first push, giving England a shot at goal which Smith missed. Second scrum demolished England’s pack for a penalty. Conceded a free kick for an early shove on the next one. Oddly conceded early in the second half after a dominant shove. Overall the scrum was dominant, but just didn’t get enough reward. The loosehead added five tackles before being subbed off at 49.

2. Codie Taylor – 6.5

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The Crusaders hooker was a force in defence. Aggressive tackles early as the tail defender at the lineout and in the midfield on short packages. Had a brilliant sideline tackle on England’s wing, before helping Jordie Barrett secured a turnover. Throwing was accurate as the lineout functioned well until the first couple in the second half. Had a silly penalty counter-rucking from the side just as England were about to kick out of their half. Off at 64 after a disappointing second 40.

3. Tyrel Lomax – 5

Despite the All Blacks holding scrum dominance, Lomax ended up getting pinged twice. The tighthead finished with six tackles in defence.

4. Scott Barrett – 7

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Had a big line break in the first half as the All Blacks started to take over. Came into the game as it wore on, offering pressure on Alex Mitchell’s kicks from the ruck, counter-rucking hard frequently and getting into it on defence. Came up with a big maul turnover in the final quarter to snuff out an England attack in good field position.

5. Patrick Tuipulotu – 7

Anchored the lineout as the main jumping option. Workhorse around the park, leading the way in the carry game. Added seven tackles on defence. Off at 62.

6. Samipeni Finau – 7

Nice steal on England’s first lineout attempt, disrupting Cunnginham-South to spoil the ball. Didn’t bring the pressure on Marcus Smith that he could’ve, but played a steady game nonetheless. Got through eight tackles. Finished with a clean sheet with no penalties conceded.

7. Dalton Papali’i – 6

Got into his work on defence topping the charts for the All Blacks with 14. A disciplined performance from the All Blacks as a unit, but the defence had trouble controlling the gain line, giving up huge metres to England.

8. Ardie Savea – 7

Costly knock-on early inside England’s five on the All Blacks’ first deep raid after a stray boot knocked the ball loose. Competed hard at the breakdown as the first half wore on but for no reward. Latched onto the end of Perofeta’s break to finish the second try. Came up with a crucial turnover on defence inside own 22.

9. TJ Perenara – 7

Delivered a sound performance with the side relying on his box kick frequently for exits. Kept the tempo high as the All Blacks showed a willingness to attack for long phases. After a nasty fall just before half, succumbed to the injury and was substituted at half time.

10. Damian McKenzie – 7

Claimed his first two high balls to calm the jitters. Came under pressure from England out the back frequently, but stayed calm and executed well. Found the space for the first try with a cross-field kick to Sevu Reece after waves of All Black attack. Pulling the strings had the ball on a dime and picked the cutout ball well. Kicked well out-of-hand.

Game management faltered before the half as the England defence remained strong and the All Blacks kept playing, despite going backwards. They were pinged for holding on and gave England three points to head into the sheds 10-all. Got timed out of a key penalty attempt which could have been costly. Overall, a pleasing performance.

11. Mark Tele’a – 7.5

Proved to be a handful once again and dynamic carry option to spark the first line break with an offload from Tuipulotu. That momentum led to the first try. Didn’t see much ball in the second half but had a reliable game. Finished with 10 defenders beaten.

12. Jordie Barrett – 7.5

The lynchpin of the All Blacks set-piece attack, Barrett was the primary option maker. As always, ran straight and played the short passes nicely. Had a great nudge of the left boot in the second half. A tough showing from the midfielder

13. Rieko Ioane – 5

A nice early touch in space as England’s rush defence missed the mark. Had a couple of errors slip into his game, an intercept and a drop ball. Missed a two-on-one with Tele’a down the flank.

14. Sevu Reece – 9

Was one of the All Blacks’ best on the night. Early chance to counter down the right flank after a dropped England pass. Looked dangerous with ball in hand and bagged the first try from a McKenzie cross-field kick. Kicked an incredible 50-22 after picking up another loose England ball. Had a breakdown steal after a Christie box kick. Smashed George Furbank a couple of times on the kick chase.

15. Stephen Perofeta – 8

Some good early touches on attack showing poise and control. Burst through the line after a one-on-one with Ben Earl and set up Ardie Savea for in the corner. Proved to be a difference maker and performed exceptionally well.

Replacements: 

16. Asafo Aumua – 6 – Missed his first throw but brought some power after that, carrying strong to give some front foot ball finally.

17. Ofa Tu’ungafasi – 5 – On at 49 min. Came in with vigour and laid on a dominant hit early. Scrum dominance held with the reserves on.

18. Fletcher Newell – 5 – On at 52 min. Carried in the tight channels but struggled to get gain line against a tough England rush.

19. Tupou Vaa’i – 7 – On at 57 min. Came up with the game-winning play, winning a ruck penalty with the clock in the red.

20. Luke Jacobson – N/A – On at 61 min. Finished with three tackles in a quick cameo.

21. Finlay Christie – 5 – On at half time. First kick was not good. Had the ball pinched at the break down a short while later. Attack faltered a bit with Christie running it, but his kicking game proved pivotal in the end and he was unlucky not to be awarded a game-winning steal.

22. Anton Lienert-Brown – N/A – On at 68 min. Made a couple of critical tackles on D. One on England’s final launch.

23. Beauden Barrett – 6.5 – On at 52 min. Showed his experience and turned the screws on England with the kicking game. Valuable contribution.

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