Player ratings: Black out

Sat, 01 Dec 2012 19:02
Large richiemccawgutted Large dancartergutted Large allblacksgutted Large coryjaneengland Large kieranreadengland Large conradsmithengland

The All Blacks suffered an anticlimactic end to an otherwise stellar season as they slumped to a 31-18 defeat to England at Twickenham on Saturday.

The All Blacks suffered an anticlimactic end to an otherwise stellar season as they slumped to a shock 31-18 defeat to England at Twickenham on Saturday.

While their supporters will be tempted to point to a stomach virus to rationalise their heroes’ lacklustre performance, the classy All Blacks will offer no excuses.

Entertaining suggestions of a ‘Suzie’ conspiracy would be a cruel injustice to the superhuman effort of a written off English side, which entered the encounter off back-to-back home defeats to the Wallabies and Springboks.

Richie McCaw on Friday assured that his team, who were laid low with a virus during the week, would be fighting fit for the season finale.

Their shock upset was not as a result of any debilitating virus but rather due to the indomitable spirit of the underdogs. 

Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the All Black players.

15 Israel Dagg
Comfortably cleaned up at the back and a threat with ball in hand.  

14 Cory Jane

After three early errors in quick succession, Jane came into his own and ran circles around an organised English defence, making three clean breaks and beating five defenders. Easily the best All Black back on the night.

13 Conrad Smith

For a player of Smith’s reputation to make hampering errors in midfield highlighted the immense pressure England put the visitors under.

12 Ma'a Nonu

Undid his attacking endeavour by slipping key tackles that cost the All Blacks dearly.

11 Julian Savea

His power and explosiveness made him a headache as he used the little space he was given to bag a brace.

10 Dan Carter

So he’s human after all … As average a performance as you will ever see from the world’s best flyhalf. His two missed penalties saw the All Blacks head into half-time without troubling the scorers and he missed three costly tackles.  

9 Aaron Smith

His inexperience at Test level reared its head as he struggled through an error-ridden 64 minutes. The All Blacks would have anticipated that England would look to target Smith yet they were unable to nullify this tactic. The omen rests with Smith, though, and unforced wayward passes on attack was the final straw.  

8 Kieran Read

Had the highest workrate of the All Black forwards and scored a try but also fell off a couple of tackles and were blown up twice.

7 Richie McCaw

Even the masterful McCaw slipped tackles and failed to halt the English barrage on the night.

6 Liam Messam

Aggressive and accurate on defence and prominent in the rucks and mauls.

5 Sam Whitelock

A solid all-round effort; winning one against the throw in addition to leading his team’s line-out and defending well.

4 Brodie Retallick

A lacklustre effort which left him in his opposite number’s shadow and saw him plucked after 59 minutes.

3 Owen Franks

The best defender in black and an anchor at scrum time, he can be pleased with his performance.

2 Keven Mealamu

His mediocre line-out throwing put the All Blacks on the back foot.

1 Tony Woodcock

Conceded three scrum penalties and missed a few hits.


16 Dane Coles (on for Mealamu, 62nd minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

17 Wyatt Crockett (on for Woodcock, 66th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

18 Charlie Faumuina (on for Franks, 52nd minute)
A mobile and energetic cameo which saw him make several tackles.  

19 Luke Romano
(on for Retallick, 59th minute)
Made a positive contribution with ball in hand and on defence.  

20 Victor Vito
(on for Messam, 63rd minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

21 Piri Weepu (on for Smith, 64th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

22 Aaron Cruden (on for Carter, 64th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

23 Ben Smith (on for Dagg, 71st minute)
Not enough time to be rated.