Player ratings: Rookie rules

Sat, 09 Sep 2017 10:26

OPINION: New Zealand again showed their ability to put teams away in the final quarter of matches, but there is a new star - already shining brightly.

Loose forward Vaea Fifita - who can also play lock - produced a blinder in the All Blacks' 39-22 win over Argentina's Los Pumas in New Plymouth on Saturday.

His debut try in the 51st minute turned the game on its head.

Jan de Koning rates the New Zealand players!

15 Damian McKenzie:
His ability to make linebreaks and set up other players for tries. He is also solid under the high ball and scored a great try.

14 Israel Dagg:
Still dangerous with ball in hand, but had a couple of soft moments.

13 Anton Lienert-Brown:
ALB is back with a bang. His defence still requires some work and three turnovers conceded are too many.

12 Sonny Bill Williams:
Works like a lightning conductor, attracting lots of attention from defenders.

11 Nehe Milner-Skudder:
Showed he has not lost his finishing ability and attacking threats. Could work a bit harder on defence though.

10 Beauden Barrett:
His creative skills still light years ahead of his peers. However, it is pity his goal-kicking is not matching the rest of his game and his discipline has become a major problem.

9 Thomas Perenara:
His service was from the top shelve, his decision making spot on and he had two try-assists.

8 Kieran Read (captain):
His work on defence and quality of play off the back of set pieces are massive attributes, to go with world class captaincy.

7 Ardie Savea:
Some good work in the close-in exchanges and on defence. Ball in hand was one of his quieter games.

6 Vaea Fifita:
Got into the game early with a couple of strong carries. His pace to score a try when the All Blacks were a man down proved vital. Is there a rookie of the year award on the horizon?

5 Brodie Retallick:
Still one of the most productive locks in the world, despite the odd missed tackle.

4 Luke Romano:
His hands let him down on occasion and his workrate leaves question marks over his ability at international level.

3 Nepo Laulala:
He was strong in the scrums and his basics are good, but his workrate must improve.

2 Dane Coles:
His workrate is from the top shelve and despite the odd missed tackle, he remains one of the premium hookers in the world.

1 Joe Moody:
Massive influence in the scrums - winning crucial penalties. His support play and pace with ball in hand are also great attributes. One wonders how serious his shoulder injury is?


16 Codie Taylor (on for Coles, 69th min):
Not enough time to be rated.

17 Wyatt Crockett (on for Moody, 65th min):
The first time he was noticed is when he complained to the referee. He did make one carry, without making any progress.

18 Ofa Tu'ungafasi (in for Laulala, 69th min):
Not enough time to be rated.

19 Scott Barrett (in for Romano, 53rd min):
Did some hard yards in the dark spaces where cameras don't always pick up flash players.

20 Sam Cane (on for Savea, 44th min):
His work on defence was immense. Few chances with ball in hand.

21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (on for Perenara, 67th min):
Not enough time to be rated.

22 Lima Sopoaga (on for Dagg, 50th min):
He ran the game brilliantly and gave a masterclass in flyhalf play when the All Blacks desperately need somebody to take control.

23 Ngani Laumape (on for Williams, 76th min):
Not enough time to be rated.

By Jan de Koning