The inability to adapt to the Lions clinical capability to frustrate culminated in a 15-15 draw but there was moments from the All Blacks that suggested they should have won. Two starting debutants shone but who else stood tall for the home side?
PLAYER RATINGS – ALL BLACKS V LIONS
Jordie Barrett – 9/10
Took his chance. Owned the air at the back and from attacking situations, didn't die with the ball and his try was a display of fullback beauty. Outstanding showing from the fastest of learners. Man of the Match.
Israel Dagg – 7/10
Some professional work from the oldest man in the backline. Safe in the air, some nice jinks in traffic and a high work rate in the first 40.
Anton Lienert-Brown – 6/10
Surfaced for moments then sunk back into obscurity. Nice combo with Laumape and wide assist for Barrett's try and that was about it. Didn't control his defensive space and his hands let him down in contact.
Ngani Laumape – 8/10
Involved in absolutely everything and the star showing in the opening quarter. Played his part for the remainder of his time and scored in the right hand corner. A keeper.
Julian Savea – 6.5/10
If he didn't have butter fingers, his return would have been super sweet. Looked sharp on his feet and bruised his way through some tackles but when it mattered, he spilled the pill.
Beauden Barrett – 7.5/10
Recovered well from another in-front goal kick shocker to give a teaser of his world class with boot from open play and impromptu running play. Controlled the match well at times but never dominated in entirety. If he kicked his goals….
Aaron Smith – 7.5/10
Out-kicked Murray and passed astutely. Didn't impose himself on the match but was a worthy conduit. Played 73 minutes which is both rare and an indication of his importance to the pursuit of victory.
Kieran Read – 7/10
Battled hard for eighty minutes ramrodding into contact and making his tackles. Couldn't quite lead his team past the threshold in the second half and three points attests to that. Not the best way to celebrate 100 Tests.
Sam Cane – 7/10
A defensive machine but couldn't make his mark with the ball in hand. Dropped the ball, got held up and struggled for the gain line but squared the ledger on Lions ball.
Jerome Kaino – 8/10
Back to his muscular best even if he spent ten in the naughty bin. Led the All Blacks maul defence, made those crucial inches and showed what was lacking in Wellington.
Sam Whitelock – 7/10
An odd sight to see him so involved in ball play and probably for good reason as he bombed a sitter and gifted a hospital pass to Cane. Back to his core role and make no mistake, Whitelock had parity. Robust defence minus a few fringe misses but set piece to the fore.
Brodie Retallick – 7.5/10
A collection of magnificent morsels but not the epic Test his team needed. Required to front in tight and did so but couldn't shine in the open as has been his calling card.
Owen Franks – 7/10
Not as influential in the first half as Moody but held his own on his side of the scrum. Matched in the loose by Vunipola.
Codie Taylor – 7/10
Benefited from the quicker line-out function but not enough to celebrate as a handful went astray. Tackled superbly around the fringes and got the points against George.
Joe Moody – 7.5/10
His side of the scrum made a meal of Furlong on more than occasion and as far as his tackling game went, he was on song.
Nathan Harris – n/a
Scrummed away in a series of collapsed messes. Practice days must be his highlight by now.
Wyatt Crockett – 6/10
Story of his career…..produce a moment of front row brilliance at the scrum then give it straight away with a penalty, albeit one of the most milked in recent history. His remarkable winning rate has been seriously sullied in the last fortnight.
Charlie Faumuina – 6/10
Couldn't stamp his mark on his milestone Test with the failed scrums dominating the final scenes. A couple of surges but not the ending he wanted as he headed offshore.
Scott Barrett – n/a
A huge night for the historians as three brothers played in the same Test for the All Blacks. Otherwise, two minutes for the history books.
Ardie Savea – n/a
By the time he got on the match had descended into messy Lions territory and there was no chance to shine.
TJ Perenara – n/a
Last five or so minutes for Smith and fed a few dysfunctional scrums.
Aaron Cruden – n/a
Token seven minutes to sign off from All Blacks rugby and hardly touched the ball or a Lion.
Malakai Fekitoa – n/a
Last dozen minutes for Laumape and banged himself about a few times.