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Wallabies player ratings vs All Blacks | Bledisloe Cup

By Nick Turnbull

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The All Blacks have kicked off their campaign to retain the Bledisloe Cup with a physical 33-25 victory at their favoured killing ground Eden Park. The Wallabies had their moments yet were guilty of making poor decisions whilst in possession that too often resulted in relieving pressure on their opponents, not adding to it.

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It was a credible Wallabies performance, but one lacking in judgment and execution when the game was in the balance. The encouraging signs for Dave Rennie’s men were their grit to stay in the match and a bench that was hungry for opportunity.

How did the Wallabies rate in the loss?

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The first and final 20 minutes of the opening Bledisloe Cup test of 2021 weren’t pretty viewing for All Blacks fans.

1. James Slipper – 7/10
An exhaustive performance by the veteran who added some starch in the set-piece and and fronted up be quickly getting off the line. He isn’t showing any sign of ageing and is leading the way for this young Wallabies pack.

2. Brandon Paenga-Amosa – 6.5
Will come under criticism for some of the early lineout frailties but not all of that can be attributed to him. Was strong in the scrum and had some quality involvements around the breakdown.

3. Allan Alaalatoa – 6
Was strong at the set-piece, securing the Wallabies a penalty from the scrum that should quieten some pundits who were calling for Taniela Tupou to start.

4. Darcy Swain – 6.5
A mature performance for a younger member of the squad, save a silly hands-in-the-ruck penalty in the latter stages of the game. He will only get better for the experience gained from playing against opponents such as Sam Whitelock and Brodie Retallick.

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5. Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – 6
Worked himself hard and showed some physicality but at this stage of his career, he is the player Australia needs to be the ‘Big Dog’ out there but we only saw glimpses of it tonight. Would really like him to up the physicality to the next level, next week.

6. Rob Valetini – 6.5
A solid performance and has done enough to earn selection next week. Consistently got his side over the gain line in possession and was strong on defence, often holding up the All Blacks in attack and slowing down their ability to play with quick ruck speed.

7. Michael Hooper – 7
Another quality skipper’s performance despite giving away a penalty that led to an All Blacks try before halftime, just after the Andrew Kellaway try. He rallied the troops when it appeared the match might blow out and ensured the Wallabies will go into next week with some confidence.

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8. Harry Wilson – 6
Was well marked but still managed to have his moments in attack. If anything, he needs to find a way to influence the match when the ball isn’t coming to him as much as he may like.

9. Tate McDermott – 6
A fair effort tonight and kept the All Blacks honest around the breakdown. Showed his game management is progressing with some good variety in how he used the ball and identifying space to exploit.

10. Noah Lolesio – 5.5
Sadly left 15 points out there off the boot but despite that let-down, he managed the Wallabies game reasonably well, but looked far more comfortable with Matt To’omua at 12.

11. Andrew Kellaway – 6.5
Scored a memorable try that gave the Wallabies a real boost after absorbing some early pressure. Showed he has a future at this level.

12. Hunter Paisami – 6
A real ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ performance as he was a real thorn in the All Blacks side in defence, but was guilty of poor ball control in attack and also taking the lesser option in attack by kicking when he should have passed, and vice versa. Needs to be better in his decision-making next week.

13. Len Ikitau – 6.5
Very impressive performance with little opportunity in attack. The Wallabies have found a 13 they can stick with.

14. Jordan Petaia – 5
A bit quiet tonight but will be all the better for it as he has played very little rugby in the previous months.

15. Tom Banks – 5.5
May have scored two tries at the end of the match, but was guilty of mistakes that are yet to convince he has secured his starting position.

Reserves:

16. Jordan Uelese – 6
Scored a late try and really brought some energy when the Wallabies required it.

17. Angus Bell – 6.5
Part of a bench that really brought some gusto. Showed his set-piece prowess and worked hard off the ball to give his side quick, clean possession.

18. Taniela Tupou – 6.5
Had a tough battle in the scrums but showed some late ascendency there. Would like him to really take the All Blacks on up front as the Wallabies were beaten in the physicality stakes tonight.

19. Matt Philip – 6
Solid in the set-piece and around the park. Part of the bench who really impressed.

20. Fraser McReight – 6
Not sure of his selection – not that he isn’t a player of the future, but what’s the balance of the team like when he and Hooper are on the park? Had his moments with a turnover in the wider channels but not sure if the Wallabies should persist with the dual openside selections next week, which is no sleight on McReight’s efforts tonight.

21. Jake Gordon – 6
A busy performance and gave the Wallabies some quality service.

22. Matt To’omua – 6.5
The Wallabies looked like they were squarer in attack and To’omua’s addition gave the Wallabies an experienced head and really helped in securing a flurry of late points for his side.

23. Reece Hodge – 6
Brought all of his experience when he came on and plays the percentages well. Possible starting 15 for next week.

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Wallabies player ratings vs All Blacks | Bledisloe Cup

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