Player Ratings: Ruthless black wave

Sat, 24 Jun 2017 10:09
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OPINION: New Zealand struck the first blow in the year's most anticipated contest - beating the British and Irish Lions 30-15 in Auckland on Saturday.

The All Blacks were ruthless with the ball in hand and were just too clinical in the final quarter.

For the first hour it was a contest. The the All Blacks shifted into overdrive and the fat lady sung.

All Black captain Kieran Read said it was "a hell of a Test" and they got properly tested in that first half.

"Our defence in the second half was probably the difference," he added.

Jan de Koning rates the New Zealand players!

15 Ben Smith:
Not perfect, with the odd knock-on from those multiple high bombs. However, with ball in hand he asked questions, before leaving the field in the 27th minute with concussion.

14 Israel Dagg:
Excellent try-saving tackle early on, but also struggled with the plethora of high balls and a couple of missed tackles. Overall a satisfactory day at the office.

13 Ryan Crotty:
His support play and crucial running lines were good value, till he left the field in the 33rd minute with a hamstring strain. His bad run of poor luck with injuries is robbing the game of the talent of such a quality player.

12 Sonny Bill Williams:
Saw plenty of the ball and drew plenty of attention, but was well-marked by Ben Te'o.

11 Rieko Ioane:
Saw very little action in the first half and perhaps hung out on his wing too much. Could have looked for more work, but showed his finishing ability - especially with the chase that resulted in his second try.

10 Beauden Barrett:
His sublime ability to recover when things don't go his way and his reading of the game shoed just how valuable he is to this team.

9 Aaron Smith:
His reading of the game and quick thinking - which resulted in the first try - shoed he is back to his best.

8 Kieran Read (captain):
Pure class and again showed why he is rated the best No.8 in the world. His all-round skill and reading of the game is what sets him apart.

7 Sam Cane:
Strong and energetic - winning turnovers and making a mountain of tackles. However, he conceded a couple of unnecessary penalties.

6 Jerome Kaino:
Brutal on defence and strong with ball in hand. However, drifted out of the game at times and was replaced early in the second half with hat appeared to be an injury.

5 Samuel Whitelock:
Not his usual self - steady rather than spectacular. Made a number if tackles, but also missed a couple and turned over a ball.

4 Brodie Retallick:
His workrate and ability to win crucial turnovers through that made him the All Blacks' standout forward. Add the metres he made with ball in hand.

3 Owen Franks:
Other than defence, did very little outside the scrums.

2 Codie Taylor:
His high workrate and great skills made him a valuable asset. His basics were also outstanding.

1 Joe Moody:
Very busy game, especially on defence - missed only one tackle. Was solid in the scrums.


16 Nathan Harris (on for Taylor, 68th min):
Not enough time to be rated.

17 Wyatt Crockett (on for Moody, 54th min):
A spoiler and a penalty magnet. Maybe it is part of team tactics and he is a value-add to the team, but not good from a outsider's view.

18 Charlie Faumuina (on for Franks, 54th min):
His scrumming power was his best asset and contributed to the powerful scrum and try that sealed the win. Was not required to do much outside the scrums, as the game was gone.

19 Scott Barrett (on for Read, 77th min):
Not enough time to be rated.

20 Ardie Savea (on for Kaino, 47th min):
Not as much as an import as his brother, with a tackle success rate of just 80 percent and not many metres made with ball in hand.

21 Thomas Perenara (on for A Smith, 56th min):
Did the basics well.

22 Aaron Cruden (on for B Smith, 27th min):
His ability to interchange with Beauden Barrett at flyhalf and fullback gave the All Blacks the variety that few other teams have. Did miss a few tackles.

23 Anton Lienert-Brown (on for Crotty, 34th min):
Asked questions with ball in hand, made a couple of neat breaks  and made his tackles - missing only one.

By Jan de Koning