Player ratings: Home comforts
Sat, 14 Sep 2013 11:46
They suffered some big injuries in a brutally physical match
The All Blacks maintained their unbeaten form in the Rugby Championship with a 29-15 victory over the Springboks in their last home game.
The bonus-point win against a Springbok team that was reduced to 14 men early in the second half, saw New Zealand move to the top of the standings and maintain their top spot in the world ranking.
Although they were put under pressure in the set-pieces early on, the All Blacks took their opportunities well and managed to neutralise the physical threat of the Boks' before gaining the upper hand as their opponents tired.
Although they suffered some big injuries in a brutally physical match, the All Blacks will be encouraged by the way some of the inexperienced players stood up and delivered big performances.
The hosts were even reduced to 13 men themselves in the final stages, but by then they were too far clear and closed the game out well.
We rate the New Zealand players:
15 Israel Dagg
Had a solid game with some good kicking and decent work under the high ball until he ran into Bryan Habana. Looked quite shaky after that and was pulled off at half-time.
14 Ben Smith
Made the most of the few chances that he got by running good angles and getting over the gainline consistently. Competed well for the ball and looked for work.
13 Conrad Smith
A composed display as he broke the line regularly and put other players through gaps, whilst his defensive organisation was key once more.
12 Ma’a Nonu
Spoiled by his late shoulder charge on Jean de Villiers which was the latest in a lengthy list of similar offences. Otherwise got in the Boks' faces and showed that he has developed a pretty good kicking game by finding the corners.
11 Julian Savea
Kept fairly quiet in the first half but linked well with Barrett, ran some good angles to break the line and mixed his game up a bit and put in a great grubber as well.
10 Dan Carter
His time on the pitch did not last very long as a big tackle around his shoulders from Bismarck du Plessis ended his match. Some solid kicking and committed defence before that.
9 Aaron Smith
Did not have things all his own way, but he varied his game well in the second half when his pack was marching forward and managed some sniping runs as the game opened up.
8 Kieran Read
A great performance spoiled by his yellow card for taking out a line-out jumper in the air, he stamped his authority on the game with two tries, and made the Boks pay with both his physicality and skill.
7 Sam Cane
Worked hard at the breakdown and showed great commitment, especially coming back on the field with seven stitches in his face after smashing into Owen Franks, but got rewarded with a good try.
6 Liam Messam
A hard-working display, he made ground with the ball in hand and provided a good line-out option before he was taken off.
5 Samuel Whitelock
An up and down night in the line-outs, but he showed his value when he came through a Bok maul to turn it over and got around the park and made some good tackles as well.
4 Brodie Retallick
A big game from the young lock who presented an all-round threat, with a his physical presence matched by some neat skills and a good running game. Made an impact in the tight and the loose and was instrumental in getting his side on the front foot.
3 Owen Franks
Got dominated in the first scrum, but bounced back well as the game went on and worked hard in open play as well, coming close to scoring his first try.
2 Dane Coles
Missed plenty of line-outs in his time on the pitch and was put under pressure in the scrums as well. Did not make much of an impact in a tough, physical battle.
1 Tony Woodcock
A few scrum infringements but settled down and added a valuable physical presence in the tight phases along with strong work on defence.
16 Keven Mealamu (On for Dane Coles, 51 mins)
His experience counted as he made a noticeable impact at the line-outs and brought some important physicality.
17 Wyatt Crockett (On for Tony Woodcock, 70 mins)
Made a good turnover and was solid in the scrums as well.
18 Charlie Faumuina (On for Charlie Faumuina, 65 mins)
Got around the park well and did his job at scrum-time.
19 Steven Luatua (On for Liam Messam, 62 mins)
Ran hard and made good ground against a tiring Bok defence, but was blown up twice on defence.
20 Matt Todd (On for Sam Cane, 71 mins)
Put the Boks under pressure at the breakdown, and was forced to work hard as his team was reduced to 13 men in the final stages.
21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (On for Julian Savea, 76 mins)
Not enough time to be rated.
22 Beauden Barrett (On for Dan Carter, 16 mins)
Started off shakily as he missed touch, but showed his value with a great hand-off and break and then settled down to control the game well.
23 Charles Piutau (On for Israel Dagg, 41 mins)
Had a positive influence in may areas as he broke tackles and took the Bok defence on, and made some big hits of his own.
By Michael de Vries
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