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Player ratings: Simply the best

Sat, 05 Oct 2013 19:46
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Read produces career-defining performance
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The All Blacks proved they are without equal as they claimed an outstanding 38-27 win over the Springboks at Ellis Park on Saturday.

After the rugby world was robbed of a competitive clash in Auckland last month, the All Blacks left no doubt as to which of these two teams are the best in the world with their five tries to four triumph on the Highveld.

Richie McCaw and his charges were not expected to win at the iconic venue where the All Blacks had last tasted victory 16 years ago.

They came up against a very good Springbok side and needed just one log point to defend their title. However, like the champion team they are, they played a positive brand of rugby - total rugby, as only they can - to overcome two yellow cards and a passionate Bok outfit at the headquarters of South African rugby.

It was a massive achievement and will go down in history as one of their sweetest ever victories over their great rivals.  

Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the All Black players.

15 Israel Dagg
The total package - dangerous on attack, rock solid on defence and got great distance with his line kicking out of hand.  
7.5/10

14 Ben Smith

Showed his pace, power and unrivalled finishing ability to score a sublime try. Surely an IRB Player of the Year candidate.
8/10

13 Conrad Smith

Mr. Dependable did the job once again with a solid all-round performance.
7.5/10

12 Ma'a Nonu

Made some telling runs but battled to contain Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers and conceded a penalty.
7/10

11 Julian Savea

Solid under the high ball - usually a weakness of his game - made a crucial tackle on Willie le Roux and some trademark power runs.
7.5/10

10 Aaron Cruden

Brave on defence but nonetheless fell off three tackles and made just one run at the gainline.
6.5/10

9 Aaron Smith

Unlucky to be held up over the line by some spirited defence and kicked a great touch finder in the attacking 22. However, he was outfoxed on occasions by wily opposite number Fourie du Preez.
7/10

8 Kieran Read

Cometh the hour, cometh the man! When the heat is on, no-one delivers more than Read and he delivered in a big way on one of the grandest stages of them all. Excellent offload to Ben Smith for his try, made 71 metres, scored a well-deserved try, made 14 tackles and missed none and ruled the line-out, not only securing three balls but winning one on the Boks’ throw. A faultless, career-defining performance.
10/10

7 Richie McCaw (captain)
A special showing by a special player straight back from injury. He put his body on the line and tackled like a Trojan, making an unrivalled 16 hits, and won two turnovers.
8.5/10

6 Liam Messam

A powerhouse with ball in hand and in the tight loose and was rewarded with two tries. His yellow card cost him a higher rating.  
8/10

5 Samuel Whitelock

Outstanding outing; won three line-outs, beat three defenders, made nine tackles and even kicked an impressive grubber.
8/10

4 Brodie Retallick

Particularly good at the restarts as he showed from the kick-off, solid on defence and won a crucial turnover inside his 22.
7.5/10

3 Charlie Faumuina

Impressive workrate on defence and made a few powerful carries.
6.5/10

2 Andrew Hore

Fortunate to escape a yellow card after two penalty infringements in quick succession in the red zone.
5/10

1 Tony Woodcock

Energetic effort by the veteran and strong in the set-piece.
6.5/10

Replacements:

16 Dane Coles
(on for Hore, 42nd minute)
Satisfactory in the set pieces, busy on defence and disciplined.
6/10

17 Wyatt Crockett
(on for Woodcock, 53rd minute)
Good work on defence but blown up at scrum time.
5.5/10

18 Ben Franks
(on for Faumuina, 49th minute)
Cynical stiff arm strike on Coenie Oosthuizen that earned him a yellow card.
5/10

19 Steven Luatua
(on for Messam, 63rd minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

20 Sam Cane (on for Retallick, 73rd minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (on for A Smith, 69th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.

22 Beauden Barrett (on for Cruden, 47th minute)
Talk about an impact player! Perhaps more striking than his scintillating try that secured the title and brilliant try-saving tackle on Willie le Roux was his mental capacity to deliver such a spectacular cameo after being bulldozed by De Villiers on his way to the try-line.
8.5/10

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

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