All Blacks player ratings: McCaw-like Sam Cane pulls off mammoth performance to topple Lions in opening Test

It was as if the players had swapped shirts with the All Blacks looking to control the game and the Lions lighting up Eden Park with their counter attack. In a close run thing for an hour, who was the All Blacks' best?

Sam Cane. New Zealand All Blacks v British and Irish Lions. Source: Photosport

Ben Smith 5/10
He was always going to be the aerial target and true to form he was overworked early and didn't have much joy. Most of his gains came on the ground though until he was ushered off with a head knock.

Israel Dagg 8.5/10
Showed his reliability and experience throughout with heady plays at both ends. Diffused bombs, assisted two tries and booted out of danger numerous times. Great night at the office and best back in black.

Ryan Crotty 5/10
The rotten luck continues. Subbed after half an hour of tackling with a hamstring injury. Couldn't quite get on the end of any SBW line dents.

Sonny Bill Williams 7.5/10
Luke warm to warmer. Positive intent saw the best but also the average and Ben Te'o had his number on more than one occasion. Made the advantage line fifty percent of the time but his support runners were well covered or too far behind. A go to

Rieko Ioane 8/10
Introduced himself with a huge hit but not much else went his way in the first half. Didn't put a foot wrong all night before he exploded onto the second spell with his Superman dive into the corner for his first then scorching Elliot Daly for his second try. Julian Savea should be very worried.

Beauden Barrett 7.5/10
Oddly looked more at home at fullback and scooping the ball up with one hand like a Fijian. Some bright moments but the Lions had him well looked after. The highlight? Perfect goal-kicking.

Aaron Smith 8/10
Kicking game on song and he had his conductor stick back. Some lovely jinks from the base of the ruck and looked to have his mojo back…..which might worry some people. Missed a few tackles on Lions counter attacks but fronted otherwise.

Kieran Read 8.5/10
Unleashed and got involved very early. In stark contrast to the tail end of last year, the captain was full of vigour and had a semblance of his running and offensive tackling game back. Hungry.

Sam Cane 9/10
McCaw-like. Won turnovers in a variety of ways, no regard for personal safety, dominated every tackle and got involved everywhere else on the park. An absolute soldier and Man of the Match.

Jerome Kaino 5/10
Not a typical Kaino night and was pulled at the 45 mark which is saying something.

Sam Whitelock 8/10
A night full of clutch lineout wins and steals. Made sure he and his team mates were the dominant pack on the field at the breakdown and crucially at the maul.

Brodie Retallick 9/10
Makes other locks worldwide look sluggish and decidedly boring. Ran like a dummy-half expert, offloaded when someone could keep up with him and couldn't be moved at the breakdown. Back to somewhere near his best form.

Owen Franks 7/10
Mixed the odd daft penalty with the usual masonry work around the fringes. Met Mako Vunipola head on early and wasn't confronted much thereafter except when he found himself in the wide channels.

Codie Taylor 7.5/10
Sean Fitzpatrick was in attendance and Taylor's bootlace catch and corner dive would have made him proud. A handful of powerful front foot runs but a brace of lineout wobbles as the game wore on. His most visible and effective Test to date.

Joe Moody 7.5/10
Scrum was a successful stalemate and the Lions couldn't make any ground around the ruck to build momentum. Wasn't bettered by Vunipola or Furlong.


Nathan Harris n/a
Last 15 minutes for Codie Taylor. Defended for the most part.

Wyatt Crockett 8/10
With Faumuina, absolutely demolished his Lions counterpart at first scrum which led to the Ioane try and changed the course of the match. Patrolled the fringes brilliantly and ensured the ball got to Perenara quickly.

Charlie Faumuina 8/10
Ditto Crockett. In a prop's world, impact is more subtle to the naked eye but with Crockett, Faumuina has changed the job description. Made sure the Lions couldn't get back into the game via the breakdown.

Scott Barrett n/a
Last three minutes for Kieran Read

Ardie Savea 8/10
Almost cruel that he comes on for the last half hour with that much energy. Trademark leg pumps that could see him as a future cyclor for Emirates Team New Zealand. Terrorised the Lions at the breakdown.

TJ Perenara 7/10
Brought on early by usual standards (55 mins) and got to work straight away with his infectious energy. Played the role.

Aaron Cruden 7/10
Hurried into the game after 20 odd minutes for Ben Smith and didn't impose himself until midway through the second half. Solid and safe, making most of his tackles.

Anton Lienert-Brown 7/10
Early substitute for Crotty and got tangled up in a Lions ambush for their first try and found himself chasing a lot of red shirts. Handful of nice touches in the latter stages and tidied up the backline defence.