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All Blacks player ratings vs Italy | Autumn Nations Series

By Tom Vinicombe

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While the All Blacks boasted too much firepower throughout their line-up for Italy to hold off the inevitable tide of tries, it took a second-string New Zealand side almost 30 minutes to score their first.

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The game was characterised by endless handing errors and mistakes from the men in black – some the product of sensible tactics from the Azzurri and some impressive line speed, but the majority unforced.

Come the 80th minute, the All Blacks had built a 47-9 scoreline but the side didn’t exactly cover themselves in glory.

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Will Genia talks to Jim Hamilton.
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Will Genia talks to Jim Hamilton.

Here’s how the players rated:

1. George Bower – 6/10
Off in 52nd minute. Helped the All Blacks build ascendancy in the set-piece early, which carried on throughout the match. A fair showing in his first start since mid-August.

2. Dane Coles – 7
A reliable display in his starting return from injury. Scored two tries, one at the back of a dominant NZ maul, one a sneaky breakaway from a similar set-up. Industrious throughout and managed to get a few off-the-ball shoves in throughout the match. Off in 52nd minute.

3. Tyrel Lomax – 6.5
A dominant showing at scrumtime and a willing carrier early on in the piece. Off in 52nd minute.

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4. Tupou Vaa’i – 4.5
2/2 lineouts. Tried very hard to get involved on attack and made the most carries of any player on the field (as well has a handful of passes) but didn’t treasure possession and either dropped the ball or threw it away on a handful of occasions.

5. Josh Lord – 5
Managed to get some good minutes under his belt and will be better for it. Copped a few penalties for holding on at the breakdown but that’s as much the fault of the men around him. One lineout steal at the end of the third quarter. Off in 61st minute.

6. Luke Jacobson – 4.5
Penalised for offside but then promptly stole the ensuing Italian lineout. A relatively quiet game from the utility loose forward who would have been hoping to force his way into the top side. Off in 52nd minute.

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7. Sam Cane – 6.5
Quickly found his groove, earning the All Blacks a penalty at the breakdown just a few minutes into the match. Did the same (twice) with just a couple of minutes remaining in the game. Was unsurprisingly the All Blacks’ top tackler.

8. Hoskins Sotutu – 6
Made a good lineout steal early and caused a few issues at the breakdown for the Azzurri. Came to life in the final half hour when Italy tired.

9. Brad Weber – N/A
Left the field after just nine minutes.

10. Richie Mo’unga – 7
Didn’t set the world alight at any stages but also didn’t fall into the same traps as his teammates. Comfortably the most composed and calm All Black on the field. Was the architect of a number of late tries, even if he didn’t throw the final pass.

11. George Bridge – 4
Another quiet game from Bridge, who was again employed more as a creator of line breaks than an incisive runner. Probably bottom of the ladder in the All Blacks’ wing pecking order.

12. Quinn Tupaea – 5.5
Overplayed his hand at times and didn’t seem to sync up too well with midfield partner Braydon Ennor. Looked good when he tucked the ball and ran at the Italian defence.

13. Braydon Ennor – 3
Made a couple of errors early on in quick succession, a forward pass and two knock-ons. Italy’s rush defence made it difficult for Ennor to find anywhere near as much space as he had against the Eagles. Off in 58th minute.

14. Sevu Reece – 5.5
Some dicey play under pressure inside the All Blacks 22 handed Italy a feed to the scrum in the first quarter. Dipped and dived throughout the game but it wasn’t until late in the piece that he was able to cut loose and score a try, injuring himself in the process. Off in 67th minute.

15. Damian McKenzie – 3
Couldn’t catch a ball to save himself early on. Was well contained by Minozzi from a high ball and conceded the penalty for holding on. A performance to forget, and one that won’t have upset the fullback pecking order.

Reserves:

16. Asafo Aumua – 6
On in 52nd minute. Replicated his senior teammate’s tries from earlier in the match, breaking away from the maul in the 70th minute to nab an easy score and then burrowed over from a lineout drive.

17. Ethan de Groot – 5.5
On in 52nd minute. Maintained the standards at the scrum and nabbed a turnover.

18. Ofa Tuungafasi – 6
On in 52nd minute. Solid all round. Made a nice carry and offload around the ruck in the 63rd minute to set Christie and Reece free for the latter’s try.

19. Sam Whitelock – 5
On in 61st minute. Didn’t get too involved – not that he needed to, after all the work had already been done.

20. Shannon Frizell – 4.5
On in 52nd minute. Nabbed a turnover but didn’t feature much elsewhere.

21. Finlay Christie – 8
On in 9th minute. Snaffled a sneaky try to get the All Blacks on the scoreboard, then managed to leap over Matteo Minozzi to claim a well-taken high ball. Ran a great line off Tuungafasi and threw the final pass for Reece’s try. Curiously, the best All Blacks under the high ball.

22. David Havili – 7.5
On in 58th minute. The backline looked much more functional upon his arrival and linked up nicely at various stages with Crusaders teammate Mo’unga.

23. Jordie Barrett – N/A
On in 67th minute.

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