By no means a vintage performance, the All Blacks blunted the Welsh by absorbing what they had to give then pounding them into submission. Once again Kieran Read looked in a different league and Beauden Barrett made yet another epic contribution. How did everyone else score in the 36-22 win?
Israel Dagg 7.5/10
It was always going to happen - a try on his hyped-up return and he took his opportunity. Prior to that, some nice touches including that booming right peg of his but didn't get much of a chance to shine in the second half.
Ben Smith 7/10
Not much went his way for the best part of an hour but when he got the opening, finished ruthlessly as always. Arguably the best at nailing the half-sniff. There will still be a chorus calling for a return to fullback but it was just one of those nights of limited chances and Wales scrambled sideways well.
Malakai Fekitoa 6/10
Two nice defensive moments and efficiently put Dagg in for the opening try. An unfortunate night though after banging skulls and knees with Jamie Roberts in the 2nd minute. Wasn’t quite right thereafter.
Ryan Crotty 6.5/10
Tackling metronome but you’d be hard pressed to remember anything remotely dynamic, inventive or highlight worthy. Keeping the seat warm for SBW’s return on the end of year tour?
Waisake Naholo 8/10
Looked like he fully belonged in the black jersey and was in absolutely everything. Made smart defensive choices, was immense over the tackled ball and had the Welsh scrambling every time he got near the ball.
Aaron Cruden 6/10
Was content to let the forwards destroy each other for half an hour and was decidedly redundant before his nasty neck scare. Points scored for a brace of very important tackles early on in what was an unconventional and confrontational Test.
Aaron Smith 6.5/10
A very average first half of inaccurate passing and kicking contrasted by a spell of crisp continuity after the break and a handful of trademark sidestepping darts. His most dangerous weapon was the ability to put runners on the outside of defenders with those gaping wide bait passes.
Kieran Read 9/10
Has the captain come out of his shell? The skills were always there and we've seen them all before but he’s pulling off big plays on the regular whether it be subtle, silky or downright destructive. His confidence is sky-high and he's playing with the freedom of 2013. Really is setting the standard for his team and he made Faletau look like a bullied club player. Lineout menace that would have done well in the old lift-free days.
Sam Cane 8/10
There is some venom in Cane’s shoulder when he chooses to use it. Bruising hits in a rugged, hard-working hour. His graft is allowing Read to express himself and be used more as a ball runner. One day we may not compare him to Richie.....
Jerome Kaino 8/10
Enforced from the first whistle and rarely let up. Is ‘re-establishing’ himself and is emptying the tank big time with energy and fire. Contributed heavily to the Welsh becoming gun-shy and physically spent.
Sam Whitelock 7.5/10
Allowed his more dynamic team mates to shine in a typical performance. Someone has to do the thankless tasks and not many do it better. His no frills tackling and output around the breakdown surely make him the first guy named after Read on the team sheet. Soldier.
Brodie Retallick 7.5/10
Quiet game by his standards but look closely enough at the countless rucks and the pasty white giraffe legs will be flailing about. A tradesman performance without any bonus plays you get with him.
Owen Franks 7.5/10
Angry Owen returned and he moved his share of bodies. Had a modicum of trouble on his side of the scrum but his breakdown work and offensive tackling was compelling.
Dane Coles 8/10
Mixed up his core breakdown work with classic Coles. Surely, hookers aren’t supposed to run that many metres in a game? A lot more dominant than last week and he earned the right to have a run out wide with some mongrel in tight.
Joe Moody 7/10
Rolled his sleeves up and was hardly noticeable in the middle of the park. Struggles to impose himself in the open but was the better side of the first half scrum. Think cricket and Moody and Franks are the opening bats taking the shine off the ball for the other to smack around.
Nathan Harris n/a
Five minutes for Coles, needs to get a meaningful chance in Dunedin to see where he's at.
Wyatt Crockett 7/10
Was destructive in the scrum that led to Naholo’s waltz-in try. Was prevalent in the smash and grab third quarter that helped Aaron Smith to control the tempo.
Charlie Faumuina 7.5/10
Crushed his opponent in two scrums that both led to tries. A strong 34 minutes.
Patrick Tuipulotu 7/10
One beautiful turnover-scoop-offload that showed his raw athleticism. Beginning to carve a little niche for himself like many of the ‘closers’.
Ardie Savea 8/10
While his streak away try on his home patch was a feel-good gift, Savea’s support play overall and rapacity at the breakdown is going to change a lot of games. A Cane-Savea one-two punch for the future?
TJ Perenara n/a
Has a nose for the breakout and offloaded beautifully for Savea’s runaway. Support play a strength.
Beauden Barrett 9/10
Apart from one bad tackle miss to start his shift, superb. Authoritative at 10, sharp and took on a mountain of defensive responsibility too, evident in his covering sweeper work. While it might be a stretch to say he single-handedly turned the game on its head, he did flick the All Blacks' switch. Much more than a cameo and as an added bonus was sure and straight off the tee.
Seta Tamanivalu 5.5/10
Forced to make a lot of decisions in his extended game time and was occasionally out of his depth. Thrown in the deep end, took a few gulps but came out okay. To his credit got himself repeatedly involved and backed his skills to have a crack. Will have nightmares about trying to tackle Davies around the shoulders.