Player Ratings: New Zealand
OPINION: The All Blacks have cantered to a 71-3 win over Namibia in Toulouse to get their World Cup campaign back on track following last weekend’s loss to France.
Cam Roigard and Leicester Fainga’anuku – both making their first starts of the year – were the stars of the match for New Zealand, with Roigard notching two tries and two assists, while Damian McKenzie contributed 26 points through two tries and 16 off the tee.
How the All Blacks rated in the 68-point win
1. Ofa Tu’ungafasi – 6/10
Part of a dominant scrum – although the All Blacks rarely took advantage. An outrageous behind-the-back pass delivered en route to one of the All Blacks’ many tries might well be the best most skilful thing a prop has ever done on a rugby field. Incorrectly forming a lineout drive saw the All Blacks’ third try of the match scrubbed while chatting back to the ref saw his side marched 10 metres. Made a few frustrating errors at the start of the second half, conceding a breakdown penalty and tossing the ball forward in the open field. Off in 48th minute but returned to the fray for the final 10 after Ethan de Groot’s card.
2. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 7
Nailed all his lineout throws and made the second-most carries of the NZ forwards, with four. Looked to have grabbed a regulation try from a lineout drive only for it to be scratched out due to obstruction. Off in 52nd minute.
3. Nepo Laulala – 5
Made a stinging tackle early doors but was guilty of falling off a few others throughout the match. Threw plenty of backdoor passes. Dropped the ball cold when he eventually decided to carry then conceded a penalty for holding on. Off in 48th minute.
4. Brodie Retallick – 7
The key jumper at the lineout for the All Blacks, taking five balls and stealing one off the top. Useful at the offensive breakdown, securing plenty of ball for his teammates. Off in 57th minute.
5. Sam Whitelock – 5
Penalised once for not rolling away at the breakdown and a second time for infringing in the air at a lineout. Also at fault for the Taukei’aho no-try. Grabbed one lineout steal and made eight tackles, but otherwise not the best night for the elder statesman.
6. Luke Jacobson – 6
Missed a couple of tackles in the opening quarter but found his mark for the remaining 60 minutes, finishing with 10 to his name – the most of any All Black. Made some nice ground out on the wing but didn’t quite have the wheels to go all the way. Worked well as a link-man in the centre of the park. Off in 74th minute.
7. Dalton Papali’i – 6
Built to play a defensive game – and the All Blacks really didn’t have to do much defending throughout. Made one thumping tackle inside the first-receiver channel. Ran through a couple of Namibian defenders for a well-taken try.
8. Ardie Savea – 7
Had a quiet first spell but burst to life in the second, getting his side some excellent front-foot ball with some strong carries, particularly off the back of the scrum. Penalised once for interference at the ruck. Subbed for what feels like the first time in forever. Off in 64th minute.
9. Cam Roigard – 9
Couldn’t ask for much more in his starting debut. Grabbed the first two tries of the night – the first from running a good support line off Leicester Fainga’anuku, and the second with a jink and a jive off a five-metre scrum. Transitioned to creator towards the end of the half, making a nice break off a midfield scrum before giving the ball to McKenzie. Assisted for a second when he spun away from a defender close to the line then delivered the ball to a charging David Havili. Got some great distance with his one (one!) box kick of the night in the 51st minute. Off in 66th minute.
10. Damian McKenzie – 7
Kicking radar wasn’t always on the money (though still finished with eight conversions from 11 attempts) but led his team around the park well. Darted around plenty of defenders but scrambled sideways at times and may well have been punished against a more astute defense. Showed exceptional toe to outrun four Namibian defenders and pounce on the ball for what looked like an NZ try – only for replays to show the ball never made it over the line. Eventually skipped his way over from close range to grab the All Blacks’ third. Sparked a brilliant counter-attack from inside the New Zealand 22, hitting a gap then throwing the offload to Havili. Moved to fullback for the final quarter.
11. Leicester Fainga’anuku – 8
Impossible to stop in the opening exchanges, breaking tackles at will and eventually offloading for Cam Roigard to score the All Blacks’ first try. Grabbed a second in the 25th minute, following on from a lineout drive – beating four or five defenders in the process. Always looked threatening but wasn’t given as much room to move as the game wore on. Dropped a regulation pass when NZ were looking to counter.
12. David Havili – 6
Fluffed an attacking clearing kick, sending the ball directly into touch. Made a very poor decision to head towards the sideline from a kick-off and was unsurprisingly ushered into touch. Would have proved costly against more dangerous opposition. Clocked up some good metres in the midfield, showing off his sleight of foot, finishing one try. Made a couple of nice kick-passes in the second spell.
13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 6
Tried to pop a clever pass over the top to Fainga’anuku but tossed the ball forward when a simple pass through the hands likely would have sufficed. Scored an audacious individual try after receiving the ball on his own 10-metre line before showing off his football skills to grubber then fly-kick the ball all the way to the goal line for the touch down. Off in 69th minute.
14. Caleb Clarke – 6
Had countless opportunities to stretch his legs but didn’t always make the most of them. Was given the ball with plenty of space on the right-hand flank but instead of pinning his ears back and heading for the corner, he ducked inside and the opportunity went begging. Finally grabbed a try in the final quarter. Credited with six line breaks – but all a product of his teammates creating a numeric mismatch in the backline.
15. Beauden Barrett – 7
Ran well and stepped into first receiver regularly. A nice kick-pass gave Fainga’anuku the ball on a platter in the lead-up to the first try of the match. Made good headway down the right edge off an NZ counter attack then kicked the ball in behind the defence to create the opportunity for the All Blacks’ second. Off in 60th minute.
16. Dane Coles – 6
On in 52nd minute. Made a nice defensive read off a lineout as soon as he entered the fray. 2/2 lineout.
17. Ethan de Groot – 4
On in 48th minute. Scored a try with his first touch, and camped out on the right wing. Red-carded with nine minutes to play for a dangerous tackle, not that it impacted the result at all.
18. Fletcher Newell – 5
On in 48th minute. Went about his business without much fanfare.
19. Scott Barrett – 7
On in 57th minute. Pinged for obstructing a tackler but worked well on both sides of the ball and took over as the key lineout man with Retallick off the park.
20. Tupou Vaa’i – 7
On in 64th minute. Got over the ball and won a penalty when Namibia were searching for a try inside the 22.
21. Aaron Smith – N/A
On in 66th minute.
22. Richie Mo’unga – 7
On in 60th minute. A well-weighted kick created a try for Clarke.
23. Rieko Ioane – N/A
On in 69th minute. Used his trademark pace to beat a couple of defenders and grab a late try.