Player Ratings: The Slippery slope
OPINION: The Wallabies have fallen to a sizeable loss at Eden Park, suffering a 14-40 defeat at the hands of their arch-rivals, the All Blacks.
Although it took some time for the home side to get their engines running, the Wallabies weren’t able to prevent NZ from banking two first-half tries – and things only got worse from there.
Australia were able to strike twice late in the game through replacements Folau Fainga’a and Jordan Petaia but never threatened to grab victory from the jaws of defeat.
While the backs did most of the damage for the All Blacks, the Wallabies’ forward pack in general also got taken apart at the set-piece. Pack went for a bold attempt to spin the All Blacks maul but ended up costing a penalty try, two maul tries conceded in the second and issues all night with conceding penalties at the scrum.
Ben Smith rates the Australian players.
1. James Slipper – 4/10
Condeded penalty advantages at the first two scrums and was under pressure from the All Blacks front row often. Made a good read and rush tackle in the first half. Penalised for a low chop tackle which led to a penalty try from the ensuing maul. Off at halftime.
2. David Porecki – 4
First big throw of the game was tipped and nearly stolen. Took the yellow card for the penalty try from the collapsed maul. Off in 57th.
3. Allan Alaalatoa – 6
First scrum under pressure wheeling on tighthead side and overall shaky set piece at scrum time. Although he put in a solid defensive load, toiled hard all night with 11 tackles and zero missed.
4. Jed Holloway – 5
Made an early line break in the first minute but a dangerous clean-out moments later on Dalton Papali’i resulted in a yellow card. Pinched a key lineout midway through first half. Showed some nice hands to set up Marika Koroibete on a would-be try. Had some deft backdoor passes in Wallabies attack at times. Had 8 carries, the most of any Australian forward. A mixed bag.
5. Cadeyrn Neville – 3
Solid lineout target and industrious work around the tough stuff. Some sloppy moments though, not rolling away in 46th minute gifted the All Blacks a penalty right in front. Had two turnovers conceded.
6. Rob Valetini – 5
Strong defence up the middle. Carried hard but not as effective as usual. Plenty of effort but not his night.
7. Pete Samu – 7
A loose ball turnover from an erratic Richie Mo’unga pass gave Wallabies a chance for their first try. Penalised a few times at the breakdown but brought plenty of intensity, although some calls went against him. Nearly scored off a trick lineout play after filling in as the thrower. Had a critical steal late in first half after a Will Jordan break. Moved to No 8 in second half, had an opportunist try assist for the Wallabies’ first touch down. The Wallabies’ best in a losing side.
8. Harry Wilson – 5
Solid defence in close channels and good work rate. Had a few execution errors, spilled a key flat pass from Len Ikitau with attack threatening in the first half. Absolutely ripped in off a goal-line drop out like an Origin prop charging into the defence. Off at 48th.
9. Jake Gordon – 5
Huge defensive effort on the night. Made a key cover tackle on Jordie Barrett in the first half and had a good one-on-one strip on Caleb Clarke defending from five out. Defensively caused some problems, but penalised for not rolling away once. Attack was a little off the pace with Gordon’s slight pause before every pass. Box kicks were well placed, just no contest. Off for Nic White in 48th.
10. Bernard Foley – 3
Heckled early by the Eden Park faithful on all his touch finders. Quiet first half until he pulled an intercept but didn’t have the legs, needed more time to beat the All Blacks rush defence. Big heart on defence, didn’t shy away from contact. Got popped on a set-piece play late in the half around halfway and coughed up the ball. Overall just a lack of ball to attack with. Off in 75th.
11. Marika Koroibete – 5
Had his typical brilliant moments on defence. Saved the day early covering a Beauden Barrett chip kick that Caleb Clarke otherwise might have nabbed for a try. Recovered his own chip on a nice piece of counterattack. Unfortunately bombed a walk-over try with a foot in touch. Made a key tackle on Jordan early in the second half and covered a spilled Andrew Kellaway high ball to save another potential try.
12. Lalakai Foketi – N/A
Left the field after 20 minutes with an injury and was replaced by Jordan Petaia.
13. Len Ikitau – 4
Missed an early tackle with over-pursuing on Beauden Barrett leading to a break. Forced into 12 after Foketi injury in the reshuffle. A big cover tackle in the backfield on Ioane saved a potential try, but overall not many chances to get involved in attack.
14. Tom Wright – 3
Some good moments in defence. Took a big risk with a quick tap from a midfield penalty and grubbered through, All Blacks countered quickly with a huge Rieko Ioane break that could have been more. Put under pressure by White on his goal line and dropped it cold trying to evade the defence.
15. Andrew Kellaway – 4
Some good clean-up moments at the back covering kicks in the first half, including a nice mark to spoil a set-piece kick play. Dropped a contestable with the All Blacks coming out of their own end in the second half, and another later in the half that had to be cleaned up by Koroibete after a counterattack and kick ahead by Rieko Ioane. Subbed directly after that spill in the 68th, but back on for Foley with five mins to go.
16. Folau Fainga’a – 5
On in 57th. Scored with his first two touches with a burst following a charged-down exit kick. Had a nice pass and took the return ball backing up.
17. Angus Bell
On at halftime for Slipper, was pushed back on Whitelock’s barge over try. Couldn’t help the scrum issues with another pen conceded early. One strong carry and a turnover penalty won at the ruck.
18. Pone Fa’amausili
On in 66th. Some strong carries and plenty of energy.
19. Nick Frost
A charge-down effort led to Wallabies’ first try.
20. Fraser McReight
On in 48th. Got a holding-on penalty to relieve some pressure late.
21. Nic White
On in 48th. Got involved in the niggle and chirp, but not much else. Put his winger under pressure with a pass on the goal line from a backpedalling scrum.
22. Reece Hodge – N/A
On in 68th.
23. Jordan Petaia
On in the 20th minute. Had a rough introduction to the midfield when Will Jordan beat him for pace for the game’s opening try. Was ripped of possession on his first carry and was hit hard by Jordie Barrett on a set-piece carry running it straight. Spilled a ball cold when Wallabies tries to run it out of their 22 after the first try which summed up his night. Scored on the last play of the game but overall a tough night and will bounce back.
By Ben Smith, Rugbypass