OPINION: The All Blacks 27-20 win over the Springboks at Ellis Park was a bruising encounter, here’s how the Kiwis shaped up in Johannesburg.


Israel Dagg 5

Some nice half moments, but his timing was off. Is not backing his pace to hit the back line, so arriving too early. Hospital pass to Kieran Read led to Willie Le Roux’s try. Not to the level of his effort against Argentina.

Ben Smith 7

Quiet by his standards, but did all that was asked including scoring a crucial try before halftime. Error free and defensively sound.

Conrad Smith 6

Defensively sound and busy around the field up to the final whistle, but no individual highlights, a knock on close to the Springboks line and overshasdowed by opposite Jesse Kriel.

Ma’a Nonu 6

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Didn’t really get into the game with ball in hand and didn’t see Jesse Kriel coming when he sliced through for his try. Nice inside pass to Sopoaga sucked in Schalk Burger and set up Ben Smith’s try.

Charles Piutau 9

Outstanding all round performance. Big defensive plays included ripping the ball from Jesse Kriel, a diving tackle on Willie Le Roux, and tidying up a dangerous chip kick. Constant danger in attack with a big work rate.

Lima Sopoaga 8

Accomplished debut. Showed confidence from the opening whistle. Kicked some pressure goals, was brave defensively, and directed play as well as an electric break to set up Ben Smith’s try.

Aaron Smith 6

A difficult day considering the pack didn’t recycle much ball through the first half, but not his usual polished self with a couple of ropey kicks. Courageously gathered Habana’s chip kick and got a bloodied face for his troubles.

Kieran Read 8

Big work rate. Efficient ball carrier all day and made some desperate and important tackles including a 58th minute try saver on Schalk Burger.

Liam Messam 6

Got through plenty of defensive work, but wasn’t a factor with ball in hand or at the breakdown where he was needed.

Richie McCaw 9

What can you say. Huge work rate in defence and attack, brilliantly taken try when he shot through from a lineout and inspired captaincy. His chase and tackle provided impetus for Ben Smith’s try.

James Broadhurst 5

Went backwards with his first carry and was held up late in the first half. Seemed to struggle aerobically with the altitude and pace of the test. Looked to be adjusting before halftime, but was subbed for Sam Whitelock.

Brodie Retallick 6.5

Quiet first half, but came into his own after halftime when the All Blacks had more momentum. Some big tackles and plenty of grunt down the stretch.

Owen Franks 6

Showed plenty of intent around the park in defence and scrummed solidly.

Dane Coles 8.5

Must have topped the tackle count and scored an incredible try after somehow emerging from a scrum then moments later running off a short pass from Malakai Fekitoa.

Tony Woodcock 5

Set piece work solid enough, but lacked impact around the park. Penalised for not rolling then turned over in contact within minutes late in the first half.


Sam Whitelock 6 (40′ for James Broadhurst)

At least half a mark off for being sinbinned. Had three carries within 30 seconds when he came on and added necessary niggle against the physical Boks pack

Malakai Fekitoa 7 (46′ for Ma’a Nonu)

A little inaccurate on defence, but full of energy, an electric 50 metre break from the ruck and a great pop pass with his first touch to put Coles in for his try.

Wyatt Crockett 6.5 (49′ for Tony Woodcock)

Added plenty of energy in defence and got around the park effectively.

Beauden Barrett 5 (51′ for Israel Dagg)

Didn’t do anything wrong, but also didn’t do much from fullback. Hardly spotted aside from one nice probe on the short side.

Victor Vito 6.5 (56′ for Liam Messam)

Strong in defence holding up the Boks runners, stole a vital lineout in the 63rd minute and a nice off load out wide late in the piece.

Ben Franks 5 (56′ for Owen Franks)

Got a working over from the Beast before scrums went to golden oldies.

Codie Taylor 6.5 (62′ for Dane Coles)

Good energy and a pinpoint throw for McCaw’s well rehearsed lineout try.

TJ Perenara 6.5 (64′ for Aaron Smith)

Good organisational skills, vocal and clear when the test was on the line. Bodes well for a player who might need to close out big tests at the World Cup.

– Stuff

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