Player Ratings: Blown away in Cardiff
OPINION: Wales’ autumn campaign began with Wayne Pivac’s side playing a mildly off-colour All Blacks side – but an All Blacks side nonetheless. No matter the form of New Zealand, for Wales to put a score past them is always an uphill climb.
Unfortunately for Wales, it ended once more with New Zealand hitting 50 points. It didn’t come without high points for Pivac’s side, but not the result they wanted.
Will Owen rates the Wales players:
15. Gareth Anscombe – 5
Moved to fullback an hour before kickoff, Anscombe took his first high ball well but was targeted shortly afterwards. Made a great charge-down on Barrett, but was largely quiet.
14. Louis Rees-Zammit – 5
Didn’t see much space, courtesy of New Zealand’s aggressive blitz defence. No issues in defence opposite Caleb Clarke.
13. George North – 6.5
North thrives off early touches, and had a few good ones at the start of the game. Ran a brilliant line for Dyer’s try.
12. Nick Tompkins – 6.5
Solid in midfield – made a great break to set up a break and supplied a lovely lift ball for Dyer’s try. Often did well as an extra distributor.
11. Rio Dyer – 7
The Dragons flyer settled the nerves with an early shot on Sevu Reece. Took his try brilliantly for a dream start to his Wales career. A strong debut against the All Blacks.
10. Rhys Priestland – 6
Wales’ late replacement looked fantastic kicking penalties to touch, but arguably he and partner Tomos Williams could have kicked more. Unfortunately, Mo’unga managed the game that bit better than he did.
9. Tomos Williams – 7.5
Looked comfortable playing to a high tempo. Made a great intervention early in the second half with his line speed and his left boot, as well as creating Tipuric’s try.
1. Gareth Thomas – 3
So-so at scrum time and gave away a couple of preventable penalties.
2. Ken Owens – 7.5
After being plummeted back into the starting XV, Owens made a characteristic hatful of thunderous carries.
3. Tom Francis – 3
Once again, alright on his own ball but hardly impactful on opposition put-in.
4. Will Rowlands – 4
Provided some decent competition at the line-out. Didn’t have a huge impact throughout, which isn’t enough against the All Blacks.
5. Adam Beard – 5
Beard began with a trademark octopus-swim (an elite coaching term) through the middle of a maul. Was fairly quiet for the rest of his half, but by no means bad.
6. Justin Tipuric – 5.5
Started poorly with a woeful tackle on Dalton Papali’i and a weak contact on Ardie Savea. Took his try well in the second half, albeit with a bit of fortune on his side. A couple of costly errors with a sprinkling of brilliant moments.
7. Tommy Reffell – 5
On his home debut, Reffell made a couple of great chop tackles but didn’t nail down that textbook turnover early doors. Alright performance, but didn’t live up to his standards in South Africa.
8. Taulupe Faletau – 8
Faletau’s uncharacteristically high penalty count was at odds with his characteristically high number of positive contributions – always makes a lot of tackles and a couple of crucial turnovers – most notably putting Beauden Barrett into touch. Probably Wales’ best player, despite his early penalties.
16. Ryan Elias – N/A
No significant impact.
17. Nicky Smith – 3
Somehow bought Ardie Savea’s audacious dummy. Bizarre.
18. Dillon Lewis – 3
Not massively noticeable around the park, slightly backwards at scrum time.
19. Alun-Wyn Jones – 6
Made an impact in the contact area, but unfortunately not the day he may have dreamed of.
20. Christ Tshiunza – 8
Brilliant line-out option and made a definite impact. One of Wales’ smartest and most physical players as soon as he came on. Made a great case for starting next week.
21. Kieran Hardy – 5
No significant impact but managed to play to Wales’ tempo when the game was already gone.
22. Sam Costelow – 6
He’s a small Welsh fly-half who technically got a lineout take on his second touch of international rugby. That’s an automatic plus point.
23. Owen Watkin – 5
No significant impact other than one big carry into the All Blacks 22.
By Will Owen, @RugbyPass