Player Ratings: All Blacks impress in Rugby World Cup opener against Springboks

The All Blacks have beaten the Springboks to open their Rugby World Cup defence with a crucial win.

Ardie Savea makes a run in the All Blacks' Rugby World Cup match against the Springboks. Source: Getty

As All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said, the 23-13 victory wasn't perfect but there were some impressive performances nonetheless.

Here's how 1 NEWS Now Sport producer Brodyn Knuckey saw the players:

1. Joe Moody - 7

Strong outing first-up shutting down that big South African pack in the trenches. Attempted 11 tackles. Made 11 tackles. Came under a bit of pressure at scrum time. 

2. Dane Coles - 6

Quiet performance from Coles but perhaps focused on his other core roles instead of the usual, open-play running we like to see from him. Had an error at the lineout before getting dragged at halftime. No silly penalties though so that's a plus.

3. Nepo Laulala - 6

Couldn't quite get going in the game. Missed a pair of tackles and gave away a silly penalty with lack of knowledge of his surroundings at a ruck. Gets a couple of points for staying tough in the set piece.

4. Sam Whitelock - 7

Decent night's work from the veteran lock, ticking all the needed boxes on the way. Composed taking the ball off restarts and fought all night in the lineouts with Franco Mostert.

5. Scott Barrett - 8

Superb outing from Barrett. Dished out some big hits early on, earned a penalty with his work at the breakdown and looked comfortable playing as a loosie when Cane had to come off. Made 12 tackles - the most by an All Black - and even finished the game as the highest-scoring Barrett!

6. Ardie Savea - 9.5

Robbed of man of the match. Did just about everything last night. Made tackles, showed his undeniable speed, sidestepped a winger and caused havoc at the breakdown. Well and truly found his playstyle and it is something special to witness.

7. Sam Cane - 7

Solid performance before he was dragged for an HIA. Held his own at the defensive line and finished with 10 tackles - only three players did better.

8. Kieran Read - 7

Showed how much it meant to him in the haka. Came out with a big defensive effort and hung in their for the full 80.

9. Aaron Smith - 7

Was scrappy and scrambling early on with the Springboks defence suffocating him but kept his cool and found his rhythm with both his kicking and passing.

10. Richie Mo'unga - 9

Best performance yet in the black. Was inventive on attack and clutch in defence. Had the "game-winner" tackle against Boks winger Cheslin Kolbie and was denied of at least setting up an almost certain try by a controversial penalty. Regardless, huge injection of confidence for him.

11. George Bridge - 8

Performed well under the high ball and ran a great line to finish a classic All Blacks try. Rieko Ioane has his work cut out for him wrestling the fabled 11 jersey back.

12. Ryan Crotty - 7

A very Crotty-like performance. Solid defensively in the midfield. Setting others up to shine offensively. Made eight tackles for zero misses before he was subbed 50 minutes in. Positive signs at the start of the campaign.

13. Anton Lienert-Brown - 8

Continues to go from strength-to-strength. Set up Scott Barrett's try from nowhere with his break and managed to beat eight defenders on his way to running a team-high 63 metres.

14. Sevu Reece - 7

Got around the outside on multiple occasions and got to show his pace. Came right under the high balls.

15. Beauden Barrett - 9

Effortlessly transitions back to fullback in a pressure-filled Test. Somehow made a superb clear inside his own goal after taking a diving pass from Reece. Shook off a brutal boot to the face and the blood nose that came with it before playing final quarter at first-five with Ben Smith taking over at the back for Mo'unga. Slotted a crucial penalty late to seal All Blacks' win.


16. Codie Taylor - 6

Almost parallel with Coles. Got 40 minutes, was very quiet with it and had an error at the lineout.

17. Ofa Tu'ungafasi - 6

Made an impact at scrum time and even earned a penalty but couldn't keep it going as the All Blacks scrum faltered in the final 10 minutes. Four-for-four tackles-wise.

18. Angus Ta'avao - 5

Struggled to find his footing in the match and was under pressure at scrum time. Missed one of his four tackles.

19. Patrick Tuipulotu - 7

Said he was nervous but boy he didn't show it! Replaced Cane and was just as sound defensively. Promising signs for ABs with question marks still on Retallick.

20. Shannon Frizell - N/A

Got just five minutes at the end.

21. TJ Perenara - 6

Decent impact with some well-placed kicks and passing.

22. Sonny Bill Williams - 7

Came on for a 30-minute impact and almost set up a try in his first few minutes. Held strong in the defensive line.

23. Ben Smith - 6

Got 14 minutes at the end to keep everything calm at the back. He did just that.