Player Ratings: Greatness is the word for these All Blacks

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That was a fairytale finish for some of the greatest names All Blacks rugby will ever see. Great players do great things in the greatest of contests and Messrs Carter, McCaw, Kaino, Nonu and Retallick were the pick of a very good bunch. Here's the scores from the Final.

Ben Smith 7.5/10

This score could be much higher had Smith not put the shivers up a nation with his tip-tackle sin bin.

Fourteen points were scored while he was having a breather but it’s easy now to say it made for great theatre.

For 70 minutes, Smith was a threat with ball in hand and matched Israel Folau in the high-ball stakes. Heady play to punt it forward for the final try.

Best fullback in the tournament….read world.

Nehe Milner-Skudder 8.5/10

Has only played eight Tests but showed the poise of 80. Couldn’t quite break free but constantly threatened, created and was rewarded with an easy try in the Final.

Tackled safely and showed no signs of being exposed.  

Conrad Smith 7/10

Last Test in black wasn’t personally a happy one going off injured at halftime but some nice defensive plays either side of his intelligent manipulation of space for Milner-Skudder’s opening try.

One big collision required a double take. All Blacks legend.

Ma’a Nonu 9/10

Like Kaino, set the scene for the entire match with his electric break in the first minutes and made metres every time he touched the ball thereafter.

Scintillating try after the break showed how much speed he still has in his legs. 

Julian Savea 8/10

One of those games that gravitated towards the opposite side of the field but made his few touches count. When a Wallaby came close, they got smashed.

Dan Carter 9.75/10

Forget the Dan Carter highlight reel from 2005 against the Lions, there’s a new moment for the first-five to hang his hat on – a close-to flawless World Cup Final.

His kicking will hog the limelight but Carter’s tackling was timely, his expert game management in the last ten minutes, textbook…..and he may as well write it.

Besides one line miss and one close shave from the tee, Carter's kicking was on fire and no one will forget that droppie in a hurry.

A deserved exclamation mark on his storied All Blacks career. Almost the perfect ten for pulling this performance out at the World Cup Final.

Aaron Smith 7.5/10

Accurate night after a shaky first few minutes, working the space off the ruck perfectly thereafter.

One fantastic covering play with Kurtly Beale in acres of space and his deft double-round for the first try were his defining plays. A handful of dud kicking options but who's counting?

Kieran Read 8/10

More dropped balls from Read who made amends knuckling down at the breakdown for the entire evening instead, nullifying any advantage Australia wished to get there.

Hasn’t been able to leave his mark on this tournament but his work rate along with Retallick, Whitelock and Kaino at the ruck has been invaluable. Has not played badly, just not at his world class best.

Richie McCaw 9/10

Talk was David Pocock would have the old boy's measure but the old boy turned back the clock, winning athletic turnovers, making vital tackles and running geometric lines to breakdowns that physicists would be proud of.

The tracking down of Drew Mitchell and the ensuing turnover was McCaw-gold and makes the unconfirmed retirement of the G.O.A.T more of a mystery – he's still the best there is.

Jerome Kaino 9/10

The bruiser had some sting in his shoulder and the All Blacks dominance stemmed directly from his statement of early intent.

Running game was back to barnstorming, his work rate and intensity at the breakdown excessive and his tackling beastly. Silenced all doubters in last fortnight.

Sam Whitelock 8.5/10

Owned the air and made the ground his own too, completely outplaying his young rivals. Tireless night tackling and bashing into rucks. Allowed Retallick to go hunting.

Brodie Retallick 9.5/10

Like Whitelock seven days earlier, Retallick’s 68th minute line out steal stole the momentum and the All Blacks came home with a wet sail, his play setting the scene for Carter's droppie.

No lock can come close to dominating like Lurch can and does, his work rate and strength enough to bully any adversary; Matt Giteau thrown off like a biscuit crumb.

Turnovers, lineout steals and quality running metres…..the ultimate lock forward.

Owen Franks 8/10

Cleaned out expertly in the loose and for the most part had parity with Scott Sio at scrum time, losing the penalty battle however. Did his job in blunting the Wallabies.

Dane Coles 8/10

Tackled like a man possessed for over an hour and never shirked his job. Could easily fill in as a loose forward, such is his mobility, work rate, technique at the breakdown and tackling ability. Lineout smooth.

Joe Moody 7.5/10

Had a slightly better night at the scrums than his mate Owen did, the one demolition job near the hour mark an embarrassment for the Wallabies pack.

Showed his running skill too with some skilful interchanges with the higher numbers. The new 'Beaver' story.

Substitutes:

Keven Mealamu 7.5/10

One great little surge got the team rolling forward in the late stages.

Ben Franks 7/10

Head down and bum up for the last twenty.

Charlie Faumuina 7.5/10

Provided great energy in the final quarter.

Victor Vito 7.5/10

Some nice aggressive moments in his nine minute cameo. Close to some turnovers.

Sam Cane n/a

DNP

Tawera Kerr-Barlow 7/10

Safe final minutes, right decisions.

Beauden Barrett 8/10

Subdued impact-wise before Barrett shone in the footrace to the final try, his foot control of the loose ball perfect.

Sonny Bill Williams 8.5/10

Impact, impact, impact. Has done it all tournament and his second off two offloads created the opportunity for Nonu’s try. Some bootlace tackles to throw in as well.

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