Once again the All Blacks operated off scraps and did enough to eek out a win to end the season with a 13-1 record. Defence ruled the day so who was the best in black?
Israel Dagg 8/10
Still got the wheels! Burned off three defenders for his 10th try of his comeback season and reminded us all of the usefulness of that right hoof. Safe under the high ball and marshalled the sweeping defence well.
Waisake Naholo 7.5/10
With no real opportunities, made good use of himself around the park and managed a series of dicey overlaps in the first half well.
Anton Lienert-Brown 7.5/10
Flawless textbook tackling coupled with some heady plays in his own 22. No chance to get his twinkle toes going today. At 21 was the senior midfielder in the second half and didn’t disappoint.
Ryan Crotty 7/10
Defensively, made some pinpoint reads but never got his hands on the ball before he was subbed after halftime with a head knock. Kept quiet by the lack of attacking ball and the French strategy of fringe running.
Julian Savea 7/10
Some not so subtle reminders of Cardiff last year with some physical output but wasn’t always so accurate on defence or in contact. His leap to set up Dagg’s try was a stunner.
Beauden Barrett 9/10
Controlled the match like a boss. The central figure to everything the side did on attack and his array of attacking/positive kicks were executed brilliantly. Man of the Match for the man of the year.
TJ Perenara 7.5/10
Grew into the game and his influence followed. Swift distribution and some vital defensive interventions in the first half.
Kieran Read 7.5/10
Captaincy withstood another onslaught from a fresh team. His best Test on this tour as he got back to lineout stealing, tackling with more terror and looking for the ball to run.
Matt Todd 8/10
Confirms the need for an out-an-out fetcher in this All Blacks squad. Was outstanding early with two crucial defensive turnovers and did enough elsewhere to slow some of the French ball. There are not many more reliable than Todd.
Jerome Kaino 8/10
With Todd, restored balance to the loose trio and led from the front in terms of physicality and workrate. Energetic game that saw him at the head of the kick chase, kick-offs and pulled off his miracle tackle late in the second half. Loses a few marks for missed tackles but he attempted so many.
Sam Whitelock 7.5/10
Kept the French pack in check at ruck and maul and especially at lineout time. Missed a few flailing tackles in the frenzy of the first half but who didn’t in the centre of the park?
Brodie Retallick 8/10
Subbed curiously early after producing some of his world-beating form. A constant nuisance at the ruck and lineout. The most noticeable and influential forward in world rugby.
Owen Franks 7.5/10
One of his best in 2016. Hurt some French runners and made sure no one was getting through his side of the breakdown. Missed a few tackles but everyone in the pack did as they scrambled after each other.
Dane Coles 7.5/10
Tradesman performance, however he’s the best tradesman in the world at his craft. Lineout was perfect while around the park he was called to make his share of tackles. Deserved an early exit for once.
Joe Moody 7/10
Reason to celebrate - only one penalty conceded and he wasn’t exactly that guilty. Like Franks, struggled to make every tackle but got a fair swag of important ones.
Codie Taylor 7/10
Kept the lineout cranking in a longer than usual stint. Was more visible.
Wyatt Crockett 5/10
Not quite there from the outset. Fell off some tackles, gave away an unnecessary penalty and didn’t get every scrum right.
Charlie Faumuina 7/10
Enjoyed running two off the ruck and was rewarded with a prop’s try. His doppelganger Aiono matched him in the running department however.
Scott Barrett 8/10
Heavy workrate, efficient at the lineout including a steal and made his tackles and surges count. Looks at home in Test matches.
Ardie Savea 6/10
Spent his 20 minutes buried in among bodies and never got a chance to stretch the legs. Duly lambasted himself for his try line penalty gaffe after the easy kick was turned down.
Aaron Smith 7/10
A more comfortable looking Smith. Crisp passing created some of the smoother portions of play in the last quarter. Brought some control to the final stages along with Cruden and Barrett.
Aaron Cruden 7/10
With ball in hand, adds another dimension to the attack. With Barrett in such dominant form, took a back seat even in the No.10 slot. Sadly, because of Barrett’s form, is living in his shadow.
Rieko Ioane 7.5/10
Glimpses of his power game as he took multiple defenders over the gain line. No mistakes in his biggest match of his life so far.