The All Blacks beat the Springboks 14-10 in a gripping test. See the New Zealand players ratings below

The All Blacks beat the Springboks 14-10 in a gripping test on Saturday night.

Stuff’s rugby writers Liam Napier and Toby Robson run the rule over the New Zealand players and rate their performances.

Forwards:

Wyatt Crockett 5.5

Scrum work was solid and worked hard around the track but dropped one pass when the All Blacks were hot on attack. Not the only guilty culprit in doing so.

Dane Coles 6

Not as prominent as in recent weeks and overthrew two lineouts, but never took a backward step in the tight exchanges and was a central figure with the short passing tactics from the forwards.

Owen Franks 6

For the most part another sound scrummaging display. Was also involved in running off the shoulder of fellow forwards.

Brodie Retallick 8.5

Another storming effort from the workaholic lock. Made 10 tackles, including a huge hit where his impact knocked the ball free, and had a hand in three lineout steals. No mean feat against Victor Matfield. Also carried strongly throughout.

Jeremy Thrush 6.5

Solid effort in his starting debut. Thrush is no Sam Whitelock, but his core skills were sound and showed commitment by putting his body on a number of occasions.

Steven Luatua 5

Started with a couple of good tackles and one strong surge but thereafter carried too high into contact which made him vulnerable to the turnover. Also lacked urgency on the inside channel to be badly beaten by Cornal Hendricks in the Boks’ only try.

Richie McCaw 8

Led from the front. McCaw was crunched in a couple of bruising hits but, as usual, never stopped. Topped the tackle count with 12, expertly finished the All Blacks’ only try on the wing and contested a fierce battle at the breakdown.

Kieran Read 8.5

Close to the best player on the park. Made four telling offloads – one to set-up McCaw and another which Aaron Smith spilled over the line. Topped the All Blacks lineout takes with five and made 14 carries, the most from any forward. Seems to be nearing last year’s form.

Backs:

Israel Dagg 6

Missed a tough tackle on Cornal Hendricks when South Africa scored and drilled a couple of his kicks too long. Strong under the high ball though and ran the ball back with intent, making 98 metres with 16 carries.

Ben Smith 8

Very good at wing in the first half, but especially so when he moved in to second five-eighth in the second spell. Strong runs for 71 metres, elusive footwork, good hands and defensively sound. Quality player.

Conrad Smith 6.5

Carried strongly through heavy traffic and made his tackles with customary accuracy, but no big highlights in a tough test.

Ma’a Nonu 5.5

Quiet in his one half of action, but notably played the final 10 minutes of the first half with a broken arm. Classy gesture to leave jersey for Jean de Villiers before heading to the hospital for xrays.

Ma’a Nonu out for the season

Julian Savea 8.5

Ran for 120 metres, took high ball, skittled defenders, chased kicks and broke tackles. Huge work rate. In fine form.

Aaron Cruden 5.5

Mixed bag. Pinpoint kick provided the All Blacks try, but missed touch from a penalty, stood a tad too deep and didn’t execute his short kicking game. Also missed two shots at goal.

Aaron Smith 6.5

Plenty of energy, but not as accurate as he would have liked. Should have held the ball longer when he broke from deep in the first half and kicked ahead.

Replacements:

Beauden Barrett 6

Got the attack humming nicely when he replaced Cruden with 22 minutes to play. Looked sharp with ball in hand.

Cory Jane 5

Did a decent job stopping Bryan Habana getting to the outside on two occasions and tried to get involved at first receiver. Shelled a tough intercept chance.

Sam Cane 6.5

Made another significant impact after replacing Luatua for the final 30 minutes. Snaffled at least one turnover and worked tirelessly on defence. Some serious consideration must now be given to playing Cane in combination with McCaw and Read.

Ben Franks 6

Carried frequently and cleaned out plenty of rucks for 22 minutes.

Joe Moody 5

Looks like a player for the future with strong scrimmaging abilities but could probably lift his impact around the field.

Not rated: Keven Mealamu (10 minutes), Patrick Tuipolutu (2 mins)

– Stuff

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About Martin Myers
Music Supervisor / Artist and Talent Manager / Publicist / Music Exchange Founder / Owner Triple M Entertainment

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