Player Ratings: Flawless All Blacks
OPINION: The All Blacks were missing a slew of senior players and that could have made the round 3 match of the Rugby Championship against Argentina challenging.
However you could sense the energy and commitment from the men in black, but despite an early try and 70 percent possession, it took the Kiwis right up until the cusp of halftime before they got a decent points margin on the brave Pumas.
The table-toppers kept the momentum going in the 2nd half and the South Americans didn’t trouble the scoreboard; 39-0 nil the final score.
Here’re the All Blacks’ ratings.
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe – 7.5/10
Interesting to see Big Karl was wearing a scrumcap; then ironically got a nasty head cut from the granite chin of Retallick that saw him off at 3 minutes for a patch up. An early line out take and some good work around the park. Always makes the scrum put ins look as safe as Fort Knox. Off at 49.
2. Asafo Aumua – 7.5
Bit of a see saw outing but the positives certainly outweighed the minuses. Coughed up his first carry and couldn’t connect to the back of the line out with Petti reading his throws well. However, the ferociousness of his clean outs and carries was just scary. You could see some nervous Pumas looking out for him and Laulala. Off at 43.
3. Nepo Laulala – 7
Made his presence felt right from the get go when he mashed Matera. Really animated around the pitch, shooting out in defence close to breakdowns to repel Argentina one off runners. Conceded 4 penalties which brought his score down a point but the extra energy and collisions were welcome. Off at 51 .
4. Brodie Retallick (captain) – 8
Good outing from the man who has gone from the Guzzler to the Guv’nor. Set the example with top tackles and turnovers for his team and he didn’t relent in the last ten minutes. Also good decisions when awarded penalties and also changed up the line out calls after a few too many steals at the back.
5. Scott Barrett – 7
Was very busy working well with some good carries and distribution in tight spaces. With no Whitelock-cavalry coming for the South African games you’d imagine one of the locks may get a spell next weekend. Off at 58.
6. Akira Ioane – 6.5
Simmered down from his white-hot form in the last couple of games but did his part matching up against the very physical Pumas loosies. Showed a little of the old Akira in the 45th minute throwing the ball at Kremer’s face after a maul turnover. Got some go forward with a couple of good rumbles in the 54th and 57th minutes as the defence tired and off at 64.
7. Dalton Papalii – 7.5
Got himself a meatpie at the back of a driving maul in the 42nd minute after going close in the 38th. Could be time for a rest with Blackadder or Savea at 7 for the next outing?
8. Luke Jacobson – 8.5
Player of the Day for me. Two major features where he added to the All Blacks performance was his running in midfield and his work at the front of the line out with seven takes. Sumptuous pass to Rieko in the 17th minute and a good finish for the first try in the 2nd half, almost had another 10 minutes later and then got the double at 69 off the back of the scrum.
9. TJ Perenara – 7.5
Was the perfect choice at halfback in an inexperienced lineup and made some wise decisions. We saw some quick taps to exploit space on the upside, the decision to go fast in the 46th minute that led to Jacobson’s first try was the standout, a smart attacking kick in 13th and got his terrier on for constant continuity and quick ball. Off at 60.
10. Beauden Barrett – 7.5
Ran the attack flat which you could see the merits of but timing was an issue for runners in the first half. Freakish play in the 46th minute with a run that beat half a dozen Argentinians then a backhand whip pass to Jacobson…. wow! Off at 49.
11. George Bridge – 7.5
A come comeback start, ran for over 100 metres from kick returns and some good streaks down the left flank in the second 40. Also some relentless kick chases in 41st and 48th minutes to pressure. With his skill under the high ball he’s in a good position for more game time in the next three weeks.
12. David Havili – 6
A bit like Akira, came down from his hot form but wasn’t bad. Got smashed in the 12th and 39th minutes and was guilty of running laterally more than once. Not credited with a tackle. Off at 49.
13. Rieko Ioane – 8
Came in at the last minute for ALB and made the most of another start at 13. Got involved regularly on attack and snaffled the first try. Top metres for the All Blacks and always set off alarm bells when in possession.
14. Sevu Reece – 7
Good dancing feet and looked for work. Ploughed the turf with his nose just before halftime to burrow in for a try.
15. Jordie Barrett – 7.5
In my opinion, he has sealed the 15 jersey for big games in the future. Unselfishly left the first try to Rieko, 2 plucky attempts in the dead ball zone for tries off kicks from his brother and showed his bro how to place kick after taking over. A totem at the back under the high ball, fabulous play around the 56th minute with an awesome break and pass to Reece.
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 6.5
On at 43. He’s a rock and kept the pressure on at the tackle annoying the Pumas being a pest.
17. Joe Moody – 5.5
On at 3 minutes after Tu’inukuafe’s blood bin for a brief cameo. On again at 49 and was patchy at scrum time, penalised twice.
18. Tyrel Lomax – 6
On at 51. Solid shift.
19. Tupou Vaa’i – 6.5
On at 58 and another active run around the paddock. I’m picking he’ll get a start next week.
20. – Ethan Blackadder – 6
On at 64 and seconds later found himself over the try line but denied 5 points for crawling.
21. Brad Weber – 5.5
On at 60. Nice break at 78 and tried to keep the tempo going.
22. Damian McKenzie – 6
On at 49, there’s always excitement in store when he’s running the cutter but Foster suggested post-match that the team did not convert some of their chances in the second half.
23. Quinn Tupaea – 6.5
On at 49, supplied some brave, straight running and midfield targets for his forwards that was missing in the first half, just denied a try at 67.
By Mike Rehu, Rugbypass