Wednesday, October 03, 2012

How the All Blacks rated vs Argentina

Fairfax rugby writer Toby Robson runs his eye over how the All Blacks performed in their 54-15 victory over Argentina in La Plata.

Israel Dagg 7 Not many opportunities with ball in hand but his long punts were valuable from the back and his positional play was sound.
Cory Jane 9 Proved again he is the best all-round wing in world rugby. The final try displayed all of his strength, balance and skill.
Julian Savea 8.5 Added the skill to match his power. The pass after contact to put Jane in for his second try was a gem, and some nice football skills too.
Conrad Smith 7 Play didn't really go his way as Carter, Nonu and Read made the breaks inside him.
Ma'a Nonu 8.5 Hard, straight running, pace and skill. Can't ask for much more. Headed up play to create Aaron Smith's try and superb line to get his own.
Dan Carter 8 The key that unlocked the All Blacks attack. Picked Argentina's defence apart with his option taking and kicked with purpose.
Aaron Smith 7 His pace in support matches his pass. No surprise he was on hand to finish Nonu's first-half break.
Kieran Read 8.5 His angled runs were the key to putting the Pumas' defence on the back foot as he ran at gaps, not shoulders. Rolled the final pass to Jane and created Savea's first try with a jarring tackle.

Richie McCaw 7.5 Another quality display and wisely pulled with 22 minutes to play. Big tackle count, accurate at the breakdown and all over the restarts.

Liam Messam 8 One of his best tests. Defensively quick, physical and accurate. Soft hands to put Read clear for Jane's first try.
Sam Whitelock 7 Busy around the park, covering plenty of ground in defence and tidy at set-pieces.
Luke Romano 7 Seemed to struggle with injuries but still played his part and got stuck in. Some nice handling touches as well.
Owen Franks 7.5 Defensively, and at set-pieces, still the best in the business. Negated Argentina's famed scrummaging prowess.
Andrew Hore 7 The All Blacks' wide style meant fewer of the hooker's trademark burrowing runs in tight. Subbed shortly after halftime.
Tony Woodcock 7 Did his job in another solid day of cleaning rucks, tackling and packing down scrums.

Reserves (not rated):
Ben Smith: Made the most of his chance at centre. Busy in defence and mistake-free in attack.
Brodie Retallick: Solid with limited opportunity.
Piri Weepu: Accurate without any real highlights.
Aaron Cruden: Good impact putting Nonu away with his first touch. Well suited to the impact role.
Keven Mealamu: Typically busy and might be freshest to start against South Africa next weekend.
Charlie Faumuina: Looks comfortable at test level. Coming along nicely.
Sam Cane: Hard to gauge as he came on when the attack had lost some structure.

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