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All Blacks player ratings from first Wales Test

When the heat came on, new skipper Kieran Read showed the cool hand to be his side's best. How did the rest of the 2016 intake go? David Agnew rates the All Blacks from the first Test of the new era.

Ben Smith 7.5/10

Was emblematic of the whole team in the early stages with a handful of errors but came good pretty quickly. Actually looked better when he went to the right wing with his ability to beat defenders and get the continuity play going.

Waisake Naholo 7/10

A different man in the second half. Could have been the one being subbed after half time but composed himself. Overawed in the first half and was a klutz but one of those players who will keep you standing every time he touches the pill. Julian Savea should be worried.

Malakai Fekitoa 7.5/10

Nice touches that give light to his potential to make it centre his own. Muscular defence was his trademark and the combination with Crotty was starting to bed in. Smart decision making and appears to have learned from Conrad about holding onto the ball when required.

Ryan Crotty 7/10

Slow start that gradually warmed into playing a valuable role in the last quarter. Some great dirty-work tackling that may go unnoticed in the transitional comparisons with Ma'a. Solid Test.

Julian Savea 3/10

One sidestep early on was encouraging then…..missed a routine tackle on Liam Williams and was treated like a waif by George North who threw him to the ground. It was an embarrassing moment and when you're straight-subbed after 43 minutes, it’s not because of fatigue. Could get a redemption chance or a very clear selection message.

Aaron Cruden 7.5/10

Goal kicking was promising while the rest was typical Cruden and he showed how coolly he makes a lot of great decisions both subtle and in try scoring movements. Some things didn’t come off, like the forward pass and many of his attacking kicks but he showed the ability to own the game in the last quarter after drifting slightly.

Aaron Smith 7/10

Under immense pressure at times at the back of a scrappy breakdown. Passing wasn't of usual standard and some option taking slightly off. It's all nit-picking when we're talking about the world's best but not his best game.

Kieran Read 9/10

Man of the match and clearly. Set the standard of the skill level this side demands and his command of the game grew immeasurably after the halftime spell. Owned the lineouts and rewarded himself with a try. Great captain's knock to set up his tenure and when he plays like that, no one in the world compares.

Sam Cane 6/10

Like McCaw, reads the play like a book and is always in the vicinity though unlike McCaw, cannot enforce his will on the breakdown and gets buried. Almost needs to wear fluoro headgear so it’s clear he's on the field.

Jerome Kaino 8/10

When the Test was in the balance, Kaino stood taller and made some telling individual plays. Was more conspicuous than Cane which was worrying. Heady match from the veteran when it was called for.

Brodie Retallick 7/10

Will not be happy with his visible missed tackle at the back end of the first half plus his lack of accuracy and clout at the breakdown. An immense workload overall though and bruising defensive combo with Romano early on.

Luke Romano 7/10

Met the Welsh fire head on and was a joy to watch winding up from ten metres back. Made an impregnable wall on the fringe of the ruck with Retallick but couldn't get the same output at the ruck. Whitelock a more thoughtful breakdown operator.

Owen Franks 6.5/10

Had the edge on his side of the scrum which proved invaluable in the latter stages of the first half. Battled at the breakdown with all of the Welsh pressure and getting pulled after 45 minutes is called being subbed early.

Dane Coles 7/10

Lineout almost perfect but oddly, this wasn't Coles at his best. Some handling errors made him stand out because for a good while he was standing out on the side line when on this night he was needed to sure up the ruck. Came good (better) in second forty.

Joe Moody 6/10

Lucky not to get a few calls against him on his side of the scrum. Along with Franks, was a little lost as Wales broke the All Blacks systems open. Cynically, Crockett was a well-timed substitution.

Substitutes

Nathan Harris n/a

One lineout, a couple of scrums and a welcome back gift to finish off his return to the Test scene. Needs more minutes.

Wyatt Crockett 7.5/10

Launched himself into the ruck and made a world of difference to blunt the haranguing Welsh pack. Cleaned up the area for the All Blacks and made quick ball clean and available.

Charlie Faumuina 7/10

All Blacks winger Julian Savea during the first 2016 Test match between All Blacks and Wales at Eden Park. Source: Photosport

At home in the backline for Harris' finishing try. Got the opportunity for a cameo sidestep, offload and try assist. Barrelled into the breakdown and was a big part of final surges.

Patrick Tuipulotu 7.5/10

Great offload for Read's try and a couple of moments that showcased his talents and points of difference. When Whitelock is back, will have the edge on Romano for the pine spot.

Ardie Savea 8/10

Welcome to the All Blacks and potentially for a very long time. Common knowledge but Julian's brother will put heat on the incumbent if he doesn't become the Beauden Barrett of the forwards. Great pick and go to get the momentum for the tide-turning try and some choice decisions thereafter.

TJ Perenara 6/10

Didn't quite click in what he did yet he was in the right places at the right time.

Beauden Barrett 8/10

And he wants to start a Test? Forget it. Made such a difference to the whole feel of the match with sheer presence. Some truly pro-touches and full of the confident - bordering on cocky – way he plays and stamps his mark in the last quarter.

Seta Tamanivalu n/a

Two touches in five minutes and showed with the second of those he could be a handful given some minutes. His incision made the space for the last-minute try.

 

Kieran Read scores a try against Wales at Eden Park in the first Test match of 2016. Source: Photosport


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