Player ratings: Mission accomplished

Sat, 28 Sep 2013 22:29
Bensmithpumastry Arg-v-nz Arg-v-nz2 Kieranreadpumastrophy Allblackspumastrophy
Cane pure class at No.7

The All Blacks left it late but ultimately bagged the full five points in their 33-15 win over the spirited Pumas in La Plata on Saturday.

The visitors were made to work for every point and were dominated at scrum time.

However, the power and flair of their backline saw them pull away in the second half and earned them a crucial five-point advantage over the Springboks ahead of next weekend’s decider in Johannesburg.   

Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the All Black players.

15 Israel Dagg
Varied his game by making use of attacking grubbers to good effect, beat defenders with good footwork and offloaded in the tackle to keep the continuity going.

14 Ben Smith

Not only elusive but strong as well as he steamrolled his way to scoring his second try and more importantly, the All Blacks’ all-important bonus point try in the last minute of the game.

13 Conrad Smith

Pure class once again as he exploited the tiniest of space he was given to gain ground in midfield.

12 Ma'a Nonu

Acted as a play-making distributor rather than a battering ram runner and executed the role with aplomb. The no-look dummy pop pass to set up Ben Smith’s try was simply majestic.

11 Julian Savea

Made his intentions clear with a barnstorming run in the opening minute and showed his pace to outsprint three defenders to score the first try. Butchered a second try and although he was committed under the high ball, fielding up-and-unders remains a weakness of his game.

10 Aaron Cruden

Good variation to his game and his offloading ability caused problems for the Pumas. Shaky off the tee.

9 Aaron Smith

Had a tough time clearing from the base and subsequently threw a couple of shocking wayward passes.

8 Kieran Read (captain)

Showed no signs of carrying an injury. Very strong with ball in hand - the visitors’ most proficient ball-carrying forward on the day. Good in the line-out and solid on defence.  

7 Sam Cane

Carried exceptionally well, breaking some tackles and scoring a well-deserved try, and his workrate was outstanding.

6 Liam Messam

Softened up the defence with some strong runs.

5 Samuel Whitelock

Solid in all departments with six takes, six tackles and eight carries.

4 Brodie Retallick

Held his own physically but his workrate was disappointing.

3 Owen Franks

Was dominated in no uncertain terms at scrum time and missed two tackles during his 40 minutes on the park.

2 Andrew Hore

Conceded a penalty and his line-out throwing was erratic.  

1 Tony Woodcock

Endured a torrid time at scrum time and ultimately conceded four penalties.


16 Keven Mealamu
(on for Hore, 53rd minute)
Looked hungry and brought energy and intensity off the bench. Carried with real purpose.

17 Wyatt Crockett
(on for Woodcock, 69th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

18 Charlie Faumuina (on for Franks, 40th minute)
Was blown up in the scrum but unlike Franks, he made his tackles and gained some hard yards.

19 Jeremy Thrush
(on for Retallick, 74th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

20 Steven Luatua (on for Messam, 65th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (on for A Smith, 67th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

22 Beauden Barrett (on for Cruden, 71st minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

23 Charles Piutau (on for Nonu, 69th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.