Player Ratings: Shaken but not stirred

Sat, 07 Oct 2017 19:28
Large damien mckenzie .800

OPINION: New Zealand escaped with a narrow 25-24 win over a resilient South Africa side in Cape Town on Saturday.

The All Blacks took a narrow 8-3 at the break and were forced to dig deep to keep their unbeaten Rugby Championship record intact.

The side, who already bagged the title, found themselves having to chase the lead twice. Nonetheless, their class just proved too good for the Springboks in the end.

Rugby writer Jamie Wall rates the New Zealand players!

15 Damian McKenzie
Best game in a black jersey by far. Scored the winner and had an almost faultless performance under the high ball.
8/10

14 Nehe Milner-Skudder
Easily the All Blacks’ best in the first half, with a linebreak every time he touched the ball. Such a shame he busted his shoulder.
8/10

13 Ryan Crotty
Slotted back into the All Black lineup easily, marshalling the defence and scoring a crucial try in the first half.
7/10

12 Sonny Bill Williams
Not his best game in the All Black jersey, with a couple of key turnovers conceded in the first half.
5/10

11 Rieko Ioane
Botched a try early, but made up for it with his intercept.
7/10

10 Beauden Barrett
Left the field with a head knock just before halftime, but looked pretty assured up until that point.
6/10

9 Aaron Smith
Another excellent display from Smith, who is bouncing back to career-best form.
7/10

8 Kieran Read
Wasn’t quite as prominent as his opposite skipper, but tackled hard and competed well at the breakdown.
6/10

7 Sam Cane
Blue-collar effort, hooked early in the second half for Todd.
5/10

6 Liam Squire
Had a few nice runs, but was well contained by his Bok opposites.
6/10

5 Scott Barrett
Did a fine job at lineout time, an area that proved to be crucial.
7/10

4 Sam Whitelock
One really nice turnover in the first half, otherwise got stuck in to the down and dirty stuff.
7/10

3 Nepo Laulala
Got shoved around early, but the front row gained parity after a while.
6/10

2 Dane Coles
Pretty quiet game, however, it’s the performance of his opposite that will be talked about anyway.
6/10

1 Kane Hames
Ditto Laulala, and showed some good awareness with ball in hand.
6/10

Replacements:  

16 Codie Taylor (on for Coles, 45th min)
Did his job when he came on.
6/10

17 Wyatt Crockett (on for  Hames, 45th min)
Did his job when he came on.
6/10

18 Ofa Tu’ungafasi (on for Laulala, 45th min)
Did his job when he came on.
6/10

19 Patrick Tuipulotu (on for S.Barrett, 65th min)
Won a good lineout steal that led to McKenzie’s try, good showing.
 7/10

20 Matt Todd (on for Cane, 46th min)
Did enough to keep him in consideration for the main squad going forward.
6/10

21 Tawera Kerr-Barlow (on for Smith, 59th min)
Very assured performance in his last test (for now, anyway). Had to come on in a pressure situation and delivered.
7/10

22 Lima Sopoaga (on for B Barrett, 32nd min)
Relieving Barrett is a big task, but once again Sopoaga showed he has ice in his veins when he converted McKenzie’s try. Controlled proceedings well at 10.
8/10

23 David Havili (on for Milner-Skudder, 40th min)
Another excellent showing from the new man, whose patience and skill led to the game-winning try.
8/10

By Jamie Wall, RugbyPass
@JamieWall2
@rugby365com