New Zealand were looking to seal the deal on this year’s Bledisloe Cup but the Australia team were relishing their first home test match of the year at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
The wet conditions looked difficult after a rainy day and it played into the All Blacks‘ hands. On a day where you rely on generals to run the cutter, the two Wallaby debutantes at 10 and 12, Lolesio and Simone, were no match for the wise heads dressed in black. Conversely, the All Blacks kept the errors low and looked cohesive, powerful and dominant with the final score falling 43-5 in the Kiwis’ favour.
How did the All Blacks players rate on the night?
1. Karl Tu’inukuafe – 6.5/10
“I’ve got this,” said Big Karl in the 8th minute with three players outside him. Lucky it was wet and slippery and he grabbed the try. Dropped a ball cold minutes later. Renowned for his scrummaging but couldn’t shift the Aussie scrum. Off at 44.
2. Dane Coles – 7
Set-piece was not perfect but around the field he was typically Coles-like. Hit Nic White with a big tackle in the 9th minute then moments later Coles lapped the still stunned White for a disallowed try. Got a try in the trunk though. Off at 44.
3. Ofa Tu’ungafasi – 6.5
James Slipper seemed to get the better of him for a second week in a row. He has lost a little of his scintillating form from earlier this season but still our best at 3. The ABs scrum got their first scrum penalties at 53 and 57 minutes after numbers 1 and 2 were replaced. Big Ofa was off himself in the 58th minute, maybe a rest next week before NZ take on Argentina?
4. Patrick Tuipulotu – 6.5
Wasn’t a big carrying day for Paddy, he couldn’t get the ball out of Sam Whitelock’s mitts! Solid in the trenches, off at 55.
5. Sam Whitelock – 9
Great to have the old warrior back, he played out of his skin. One of his best matches for the All Blacks. Carried like a donkey on steroids, amazing turnover with long arms at 48 minutes. To show how tireless he was, he got back and caught a loose ball from Hunter Paisami that led to Jordie Barrett’s try.
6. Shannon Frizell – 8
Carried well and top tackler for the All Blacks. Seems to be reading the game really well defensively; important for a 6 and making the spot his own. Weird he wasn’t used as a lineout option after being the All Black’s best in the first two tests of the year.
7. Sam Cane – 7
Didn’t get to the heights of the first two tests this year and wandered off at 67 after a nasty hit. Seemed to relish the lifting of the trophy and has led well.
8. Hoskins Sotutu – 7.5
Got his chance to start and again looked right at home. Good starchy tackle first up, very active in the lineout and had some good assists, pushing big Karl over and a lovely pass to Rieko for his try.
9. Aaron Smith – 6.5
Went back to metronomic distribution, didn’t dabble around the ruck or maul. Turned over at start of the 2nd half that led to Lolesio try. Off at 55.
10. Richie Mo’unga – 9
The conductor became soloist in the 22nd minute with a wonderful weaving run and try. Then nabbed a second and narrowly missed out on the third. Showed what he can do behind a dominant pack, a la Crusaders. Great kicking from the tee as well.
11. Caleb Clarke – 7
With the comparisons with Lomu from last week, it seemed as though the Wallabies wanted to see if he had the goods under the high ball. He coped ok. Denied a try by a Marika Koroibete defensive missile after getting on to the right wing.
12. Jack Goodhue – 6
Used his left kicking foot to good effect in lead up to Coles’ try. Blew his chance for a try after a difficult pass. Missed the first tackle on Jordan Petaia, turned over by Filipo Daugunu as well. Must be under pressure from Laumape and Ioane for a start next week.
13. Anton Lienert-Brown – 7.5
Was classy throughout the game. Some big, assertive tackles, nice snipes down the left and right wings and did the right thing at the right time. Would love to see the ALB/Rieko combo next week.
14. Jordie Barrett – 7
Who said 13 was unlucky? It was 14 in this test, with both Daugunu and Jordie getting early yellows. Pretty anonymous until his try in the 75th minute where he hit the line at full speed and showed some velocity after a full wind up.
15. Beauden Barrett – 8
Oozed class from his first touch. Perfect illustration of two playmakers working well in 27th min, with Beaudy at first receiver chipping over the Australian line for Richie Mo’unga’s 2nd try. Off at 65.
16. Codie Taylor – 7
On in 44th and put in a long shift. Scrum improved when he came on and was busy on defence.
17. Alex Hodgman – 6.5
On in 44th minute, first carry got turned over but he really is an ox at the scrum and contact area. Also threw a sloppy pass at one stage that reflected the ABs going off the boil in the third quarter.
18. Tyrel Lomax – 7
On in 58th minute and really tried hard and accumulated 8 tackles in a quarter of rugby. Scrum continued to tick on well after his introduction. Well done.
19. Scott Barrett – 6
On in 55th minute. Is he ready for a start next week?
20. Dalton Papalii – N/A
On in 67th minute.
21. TJ Perenara – N/A
On in 55th minute. Scrappy game probably suited the halfback.
22. Ngani Laumape – 6.5
On at 60, did what he does well. Arrow straight runs, a small error with no arms tackle.
23. Rieko Ioane – 7.5
On at 65. Just great to see him with ball in hand. Ignored his outside runner on first run but reset well. Good combination with Sotutu for his try.
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