Player ratings: AB masterclass

Sun, 30 Sep 2012 01:41
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The All Blacks produced some scintillating rugby on their way to a convincing 54-15 victory over Argentina on Saturday.

The All Blacks produced some scintillating rugby on their way to a convincing 54-15 victory over Argentina on Saturday.

The world champions ran in seven tries in a clinical display that showed just how devastating they can be as an attacking force.

The victory clinched the Rugby Championship in fine style on a night when everything seemed to click, and maintains their unbeaten record this year.

We rate the New Zealand players:

15 Israel Dagg
A fairly quiet game by his standards with those around him grabbing the limelight but still turned in a solid performance. His positional play was superb and his booming boot kept the Pumas in their own half.

14 Cory Jane
A fantastic all-round display, he was great under the high ball and showed his impressive finishing skills to grab a hat-trick but saved the best for the last minute when he showed great hands to make his late intercept and then broke out the trademark fend to cap a great performance.

13 Conrad Smith
Provided a creative spark and took the ball up well, using all his tricks to get his side over the gainline. Did not get too many opportunities in space but marshalled the defence expertly.

12 Ma'a Nonu
Showed good awareness to make the crucial break from the ruck that made the first try and provided a destructive presence in midfield with some determined running and neat stepping. A few sloppy moments, but fully deserved his try.

11 Julian Savea
The young wing showed that he has a long Test career ahead of him by jumping on every opportunity that he got. His pace and power make him a potent threat out wide and showed some good distribution skills on top of his finishing ability.

10 Daniel Carter
An assured return to the Test arena. He controlled proceedings by varying his kicking game and made the players outside him look good.

9 Aaron Smith
His service was quick and accurate, but also showed kicking ability and made the Pumas pay with his pace and hard-running.

8 Kieran Read
Just about the complete performance at the back of the scrum, he showed plenty of hunger and intensity, popping up everywhere. His break and pass to set up Jane's try was a touch of class and he linked well throughout the game in a stand-out display.

7 Richie McCaw
Turned in another hard-working game as he led from the front. Chased the restarts and won a few back and put in an incredible amount of tackles.

6 Liam Messam
Got stuck into the Pumas and managed to get his team on the front foot by clattering into the opposition with and without the ball.

5 Samuel Whitelock
Mr reliable in the line-outs and restarts, he got around the park well in an accurate all-round game.

4 Luke Romano
Was on and off in the first half with a bloody nose, but in his time on the pitch he took the game to the opposition and showed some decent handling skills.

3 Owen Franks
Stood his ground at scrum-time and got involved in the loose by carrying the ball up and working hard defensively.

2 Andrew Hore
Anchored the set-pieces well as the All Blacks secured a steady flow of good quality ball and also posed a threat at the breakdown in his time on the park.

1 Tony Woodcock
Powerful in both the tight and the loose, the veteran remains a consistent performer and provided a good platform by taking the Pumas on up front.


16 Keven Mealamu (on for Hore, 50 mins)
Added some grunt up front but also missed a line-out.

17 Charlie Faumuina (on for Franks, 58 mins)
Got pinned for a high tackle, but showed up well in the scrums and also showed good hands under pressure.

18 Brodie Retallick (on for Romano, 37 mins)
Got through plenty of work and made an impact with his physicality despite being taken on and off for Romano.

19 Sam Cane (on for McCaw, 58 mins)
Injected some late urgency and put his body on the line in an impressive cameo.

20 Piri Weepu (on for A. Smith, 58 mins)
Stuck to the basics and cleared the ball well but his international career looks as if it is winding down.

21 Aaron Cruden (on for Carter, 58 mins)
Made a break that set up a try with his first touch of the ball and kept the pressure on the Pumas right until the final whistle.

22 Ben Smith (on for C. Smith, 54 mins)
Made a few important defensive contributions but did not get many opportunities with the ball in hand.

By Michael de Vries

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Team P W D L Pts
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New Zealand 3 2 0 1 9
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South Africa 3 0 0 3 2