Player ratings: Come in No.1
Player ratings: Come in No.1SHARE
New Zealand are the best team in the world and on Saturday they showed why – by beating England 30-22 at Twickenham.
Against what was without doubt their best opposition of the year, the All Blacks produced a sublime final quarter to come from 20-22 down to score 10 points and seal their 14th consecutive win of the year.
As All Black captain Richie McCaw said, it was one hell-of-a Test match and the Kiwis will be happy just to come away with the win.
While England will take heart from their performance, the All Blacks are still well ahead of second best – which is now a toss–up between South Africa and England.
Jan de Koning rates the New Zealand players!
15 Israel Dagg:
He was very solid – steady without being spectacular – but did little wrong and did have a few really good kicks downfield to relieve the pressure on his team.
14 Charles Piutau:
Won a crucial penalty turnover and produced a number of promising and incisive runs. Also won a couple crucial of balls out of the air.
13 Ben Smith:
Still growing as an outside centre and was rock solid on defence. Not there yet, but will one day take over from Conrad Smith.
12 Ma'a Nonu:
Great early chip on the left wing and a sublime offload for Savea's second-half try – a crucial play. However, he conceded his customary tackle penalty and slipped a number of tackles.
11 Julian Savea:
He may have had a shocker on defence (made just one and slipped three tackles), but with ball in hand he was a monster and was good value for his two tries.
10 Daniel Carter:
Sublime chip for Ben Smith, which exposed England's rushing defence. Unfortunately lasted just 25 minutes before he limped off.
9 Aaron Smith:
First kick directly into touch and early in the second half another shocker. He did put some good pressure on Tom Youngs and was great on defence.
8 Kieran Read:
Simply a sublime pass inside, just before being put into touch, to put Julian Savea over for the first try – not to mention the pick-up on the half volley before the off-load. That set the tone and was by no means his only moment of brilliance. He was rewarded with a try and is without doubt the best player in the world – his yellow card (on the back of a team warning) his only blot.
7 Richie McCaw (captain):
Again penalised at the breakdown from early on in the game, but his workrate remains phenomenal. He may have been unhappy with some of those penalties, but he must know he is a marked man. His 18 tackles were the best bar one.
6 Liam Messam:
His best work was on defence, even though he slipped the odd tackle. One line-out win a few ineffective bal carries.
5 Sam Whitelock:
Penalised for illegal tactics at a maul five metres out – which is par for the course and part of New Zealand's well-documented tactics of conceding a penalty rather than a try. However, produced the biggest tackle count (20) and won his line-outs.
4 Brodie Retallick:
Conceded a silly penalty with a late tackle early in the game, made a handful of tackles and won a couple of line-outs.
3 Owen Franks:
Penalised at a scrum five metres out, whip-wheel – stopping the try–scoring chance again. And that wasn't his only silly transgression of the day.
2 Keven Mealamu:
Made plenty of first-half tackles, but also missed one. Was solid after the break and didn't slip another tackle.
1 Tony Woodcock:
Penalised for obstruction – left the field at half-time with a hamstring injury and that may have troubled him throughout the firs half.
16 Dane Coles (on for Mealamu, 60th min):
Made three tackles, but otherwise no contribution worth noting.
17 Wyatt Crockett (on for Woodcock, 41st min):
He again cost his team with some silly play, conceding a penalty when there was no danger – determined to remain the world's most penalised prop.
18 Charlie Faumuina (on for 42nd min):
Steady, rather than spectacular – made just four tackles in almost 40 minutes. Solid in the scrums.
19 Luke Romano (on for Retallick, 65th min):
Made no impact and missed a crucial tackle.
20 Steven Luatua (on for Retallick, 67th min):
Not enough time to be rated.
21 Tawera Kerr Barlow (on for AL Smith, 71st min):
Not enough time to be rated.
22 Aaron Cruden (on for Carter, 25th min):
Made all his tackles, attacked the advantage line (with limited success) and his distribution was sound.
23 Ryan Crotty (on for Piutau, 71st min):
Not enough time to be rated