Player Ratings: Back to No.2
OPINION: With the All Blacks already wrapping up the Rugby Championship and Freedom Cup trophies in a nail-biting match a week prior, the major talking point for this Round Six match-up with the Springboks was whether the men from South Africa go one step further and beat the All Blacks.
Well, the Springboks very much achieved that and showed a few more dimensions, giving the ball some air and adding to an incredibly entertaining clash.
The turning point of the match came at 38 minutes when the Boks replaced all three of their front-rowers. All of a sudden, there was no way forward for NZ and the green machine went on a 14-point run, it was a horror third quarter for the men in black. A few traded penalties and a dropped goal later, and the Springboks snatched a narrow 31-29 victory.
Mike Rehu rates the All Blacks player!
1. Joe Moody – 5.5/10
Didn’t get the rub of the ref’s decisions last week but did well at scrum time in this clash, especially before Vincent Koch came on after 38 minutes. Strong tackle count, but made a bad knock-on in the 25th minute. Off at 57.
2. Codie Taylor – 5.5
Complete blooper dropping the ball that led to the Damian de Allende try in the sixth minute. Tackled his heart out, top tackler with Ardie even though he went off at 57 minutes.
3. Nepo Laulala – 5.5
Solid performance but big Ofa is starting to get into his stride. Off at 57.
4. Brodie Retallick – 5
Conceded three penalties, which has been an issue with him throughout this competition. Good defence but not a presence at the lineout and inert with ball in hand. He made zero metres with six carries and it was illustrated in the 45th minute where he was very static in midfield for unconvincing runs and then smashed at the 55th minute in ruck. Questions now will have to be asked about whether he’s the best bet for the World Cup in 2023 with Tupou Vaa’i taking leaps and bounds.
5. Scott Barrett – 5
Also a penalty-conceder, for with blocking at the 11th minute and poor tackle technique in the 40th. On the positive side, nabbed a turnover at the lineout, giving Brad Weber a try at the 33rd minute. Off at halftime with his shoulder issue. Sam Whitelock Whitelock was missed in the last two games and Foster will be welcoming him back with open arms.
6. Akira Ioane – 5.5
Not at the last-chance saloon but more a second opportunity shop chance for the loosie; there was a mix of good and bad. Seems to have gone back to more of a high body position both on attack and defence. Early on he got his hands on the ball and distributed well, made a strong tackle taking on three Boks that led to an Ardie Savea turnover and then stripped Duane Vermuelen at 15 minutes. Missed a crucial tackle on Bongi Mbonambi and was strayed offside at the 24th minute to concede a penalty.
7. Ardie Savea – 8.5
Prominent and dominant and a shining light for his team. A selection of great turnovers, awesome work at the back of a folding scrum. Carried the ball very strongly, finally showing some real leg drive again and received a good reward with the try.
8. Luke Jacobson – 7
Came off a belly bug but still had the stomach for a fight. Alongside Savea, he was one forward who matched the South Africans for physicality and intensity. Taking him off at 50 minutes was an interesting move; his team missed his expertise at the front of the lineout and good defensive reads.
9. Brad Weber – 7.5
Proved his selection was a smart one with some good speed and snappiness. Great energy and brave on defence, gave Beauden Barrett far more time to dictate things in the first half-hour. Made a good charge down in the 17th minute getting by quickly off the line. Quicksilver reactions off the turnover at the lineout to score a try at 33 minutes, off at 57.
10. Beauden Barrett – 6.5
An improved performance – which he needed with Richie Mo’unga lurking. A very good kick to Seve Reece for his try, showed nice footwork that led to Savea’s try and a put in a lovely quick punt in the 31st minute after penalty. On defence, held up Mbonambi to deny him a try but there was some erratic passing and kicking as well. Off at 65.
11. Rieko Ioane – 7
Had the 11 jersey on his back but did his best work in the midfield. Made a great break from the centre position at the 25th minute, sucking in two defenders and setting Anton Lienert-Brown free, and also displayed sublime support play and power that led to the 28th minute try from Savea. 56 metres from six carries shows his value.
12. David Havili – 5
Still has a lot to work on with getting over the advantage line, which is bread and butter for a second five-eighth. Also was part of a poor read that led to Mapimpi’s try but did manage nine tackles. Off at 67.
13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 7
Had a strange role where we saw him pop up on the left wing a lot, he ran for 56 metres from six carries. He was penalised for a high tackle in the 3rd minute but it’s good to have him back, he brings a load of combativeness and leadership talent.
14. Sevu Reece – 7
The feisty Fijian showed you don’t have to be tall to be effective in the air. Plucked the chip from Beauden Barrett to score the AB’s first try and made some more brave takes from high balls, including a catch that earned him a rib-shaker from Siya Kolisi.
15. Jordie Barrett – 9
The tower of power at the back for the second week in a row but also showed his capabilities on attack. His pressure led to the two Willie le Roux whoopsies, and nabbed a slew of takes from his team’s kick-offs. A highlight with the ball in hand in the 32nd minute where he sizzled through a gap, running hard and then made a searing pass to Lienert-Brown on the wing. Topped the metres for his team and is in a great vein of form with the boot as well, and did his utmost to keep the All Blacks in the game.
16. Asafo Aumua – 3
On at 57, some reasonable go forward but important lineout losses at 65 and 68 minutes.
17. George Bower – 6
On at 57, looked full of energy and helped turn the team effort around after a poor third quarter.
18. Ofa Tu’ungafasi – 6
On at 57 and took a stride forward in his work at the tackle and secure ball carrying.
19. Patrick Tuipulotu – 5.5
On at halftime. Doesn’t offer a genuinely strong lineout option against experts like the Boks but didn’t take a backward step in the collision zone.
20. – Ethan Blackadder – 6.5
On at 50. Wasn’t as outstanding as last week but managed 9 tackles in 23 minutes.
21. TJ Perenara – 3
On at 57. Awful pass that ironically led to the NZ penalty that got them ahead in the last minutes. The slowing in clearance speed from the base was palpable.
22. Richie Mo’unga – 4.5
On at 65. Tried to get up to speed and chanced his arm with ball in hand. Ran into a wall with his first carry and then was turned over in the second.
23. Damian McKenzie – 5.5
On at 67 and got the dancing feet going.
By Mike Rehu, @RugbyPass