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All Blacks players ratings vs Wallabies | The Rugby Championship

By Mike Rehu

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In the first fixture of the Rugby Championship 2021, it was the familiar black and gold jerseys that matched up at a sparsely populated Eden Park. After last week’s victory, the All Blacks looked to retain the Bledisloe Cup with improved discipline and an 80-minute, intense performance.

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From the whistle, the Aussies came to compete and play hard. The men in black had a 6-point advantage at the break and even though the Wallabies started well after the oranges, they couldn’t convert pressure into points and the home team surged away with 29 unanswered points in 20 minutes and recorded a record score of 57-22.

Here’s how the All Blacks rated:

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Ian Foster saw plenty of positives in his side’s historic win over the Wallabies.

1. George Bower – 5/10
Was passive at scrum time and couldn’t lay a hand on Wallabies halfback Tate McDermott, with more tackles missed than made around the pillar defence. No metres with ball in hand. Hard to understand why he’s starting right now. Off at 52.

2. Codie Taylor – 7.5
We are starting to see the rake’s incredible form from earlier this year, with Taylor scoring two tries and having an overall dynamic outing. As well as the dot downs, he gave the ball plenty of air in the lineout and was on the spot with the jumpers, secured a great turnover at 25 and helped Ardie Savea over the line in the 34th. Off at 61.

3. Nepo Laulala – 6
Seemed to be having difficulty keeping his feet at scrum time. Gave away two penalties and the scrum was never set. Looked like he was off the blocks at the Olympics to get Brandon Paenga-Amosa at 51 and set up the Damian McKenzie penalty. Off at 61.

4. Brodie Retallick – 7
There are not many better sights in the rugby world than seeing Retallick on the hoof in the open, loping away for a 5-pointer in the 24th minute. Didn’t see him leaping in the line out but slowly getting back to world-class form, the All Blacks will be hoping he is there by the time they get to the Springboks. Off at 61.

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5. Sam Whitelock – 8
The All Blacks captain is made for test rugby and is a vital cog for the men in black. The leadership he provides at the moment with the captain’s role is a bonus. Top equal lineout taker in the match and second highest in the tackle count, a good turnover in the 51st.

6. Akira Ioane – 7.5
An 80-minute effort and has shown he’s grown in the consistency stakes. Four good lineout takes and it’s always good to see him with space on the outside and he made all the right moves when he received his brother’s pass in the 24th minute to ultimately set up Retallick. Good to see him running at full tilt off another pass from his brother in the 76th, a sign that he’s got the fitness sorted.

7. Dalton Papalii – 6.5
An all-action athletic outing for the flanker, easily topping the tackle count for the game. Good work before Ardie Savea’s try but there will be areas he won’t be happy with. Missed Marika Koroibete in the lead up to Andrew Kellaway’s try and McDermott just before halftime. Was very lucky to escape a yellow card in killing the ball on the Wallabies attack after the Michael Hooper gallop in the 37th.

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8. Ardie Savea – 7
Seemed to come into his own late in the halves. Strong hit on Rob Valetini in the 29th and good power and leg drive for his try in the 34th. Let McDermott slip from his clutches early in the second half and then was yellow-carded for an indiscretion at a subsequent ruck. Excellent run at 64 minutes and perfectly timed option to link with the scorching Jordan. Off at 70.

9. Aaron Smith – 8.5
A good Aaron Smith game is when he shows extra dimensions beyond his almost perfect passing game. Against the Wallabies, he was multi-faceted. The quick line out in the 12th was one example, obviously having had enough of seeing the back of McDermott’s jersey so set off on a run himself in the 46th to set up Codie Taylor for the first score of the second spell. Really started to exploit the blind later in the match and put up a cool box kick to compromise Tom Banks in the 55th minute that led to him scooting away from the next lineout. Off at 66.

10. Richie Mo’unga – 7
Relished the space when he got it but underplayed his hand and made all of his teammates look like gold. While the Wallabies playmakers were throwing dirty balls for intercepts, Mo’unga was error-free.

11. Sevu Reece – 6.5
Was a little invisible in the first half but came out after halftime with a good hit on Lachlan Swinton in the 42nd minute. Plucked the low-hanging fruit in the 54th for an intercept try.

12. David Havili – 7
Didn’t get credit a couple of times from the commentators who got New Zealand’s mulleted five-eighths mixed up a couple of times. Not afraid to pick up the donkey work in midfield and secured a brave take in the 50th minute that led to a penalty. Good party trick at 70, running for metres with the ball jammed on his backside and finished with a balletic pivot and good acceleration for a touchdown.

13. Rieko Ioane – 7.5
It was Rieko the sneako in the 4th minute as he crept up in the Aussie line for the intercept and embarked on an 80-metre sprint for a try off an over-ambitious Noah Lolesio floater. Had a split second to assess whether he could hit his brother in the 24th with Valetini lurking and adjusted his pass perfectly to set him free for the Retallick try. Heart in his mouth stuff when he lost the ball on his line in the 74th minute but came back for the scrum, no advantage. Made a statement to the selectors that he is still an option at 13.

14. Will Jordan – 7
Felt the wrath of his opposite’s shoulder at 20. Made a good covering tackle in 46th minute on Hunter Paisami and got to show his pace in the 66th with a slick finish.

15. Damian McKenzie – 6.5
Had his constitution tested with three big smacks on him in the first five minutes and then missed Kellaway for the first Wallabies try. Not too many yards on the returns but good catch and pass under pressure to get the ball to Retallick for his try. Just before Jordie came on he showed the coaching team he’s got a booming boot too with a 55-metre penalty. Off at 56.

Reserves:

16. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 5.5
On at 61. He’s got the power!

17. Karl Tu’inukuafe – 7
On at 52, enjoyed marching Taniela Tupou back in the 75th. Surely there’s an argument to send big Karl out to start and soften the opposition up. He’s obviously a game-changer at set-piece time.

18. Angus Ta’avao – 5.5
On at 61, gave up a penalty in the 73rd.

19. Scott Barrett – 6
On at 61, hit his opposite in a boneshaker at 72.

20. – Luke Jacobson – N/A
On at 70.

21. TJ Perenara – N/A
On at 66.

22. Beauden Barrett – 6
On at 64. Lovely conversions from the sideline and a couple of dashes.

23. Jordie Barrett – 6
On at 56. Nice break at 62.

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All Blacks players ratings vs Wallabies | The Rugby Championship

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