This was a hard game to rate.
I’ve had a few days to think about it (but no-one to talk to, it appears they don’t even know the game exists in Kosovo… ARU dropping the ball again) and rewatch the match, which was not as painful as you might think.
On the one hand you get the feeling we probably should have won that game, and were let down by basic errors at key times. On the other hand you think the Kiwis should have been up 20-0 after the first 20 minutes and we were lucky to be in the game at all.
In the end I have come down on the side of the optimists, and think the Wallabies should be reasonably satisfied with their performance. Not happy, though, and there is still plenty to work on. But the conditions were horrible and this All Black side is very good.
Anyway, here are my ratings:
Has been class all season, and continued that form on Saturday. Made a big impact with the ball in hand, and held his side of the scrum up well against the crafty Franks. Who knows how good he can be. 8
If you told me in January he would play 80 minutes for us in a Bledisloe I would have laughed. Or cried. But he did pretty well for his first start. His workrate was good and he never let the side down. The lineout was a bit of a mess, though, but only one of those was his fault. 6
His grasp on the 3 jersey continues to tighten. Played the full 80 and played pretty well, too. Ran hard, tackled well, scrummed OK in challenging conditions. The no-nonsense tighthead performance we have been craving for about 10 years. 7
Certainly didn’t look out of place in the big show. Did plenty of work and had a few nice touches off a couple of restarts. Would have liked a little bit more impact from him with ball in hand, though. It sometimes looked like he was running in slow motion, and he was caught high a few times. He is a fair way from Brodie Retallick in that regard, but he’s only played 2 tests so that is nothing to be ashamed of. 6
Just OK, on a night where we needed a little bit more from him. He is verging on veteran status but you barely knew he was out there. His stats are decent enough, but he didn’t do anything to catch my eye at all. Lineout could have been a lot better, though. Outplayed by his AB opponents. 5
A pest for the All Blacks all night, which is exactly what we want from him. Took plenty of hit-ups and didn’t make any mistakes in defence. Getting back to the Fardy that we saw last season. 6
The standard Hooper performance: top of the tackle count, equal top of the run count, most rucks hit, multiple defenders beaten. The bloke is a tyro, and we now have a really nice balance in our back row. Captaincy was OK, can understand the logic of pressing for the try at the end of the first half- we score then and we may well have won the game, so I don’t mind rolling the dice. Just edges Slipper to get the G&GR Man of the Match. 8
The standard Palu performance: third in the tackle count and equal top of the run count despite being subbed with 10 to go. Has carried his Waratah form over well, and was our best bet to get the ball over the advantage line. 7
Probably his worst Wallaby performance, though the conditions didn’t make his life any easier. His passing was poor- he too often hit the runner on the hip or above his head, halting any momentum that may have been building. His running game was non-existent, and his kicking was off in both timing and execution. With Phipps breathing down his neck he needed to show more. 4
Coped pretty well under the circumstances. Had plenty of touches and ran the attack well. Made a few errors, but in those conditions that is to be expected. Kicked well from hand and tee, and his option taking was about right. Did far better than Cruden, and I don’t think Foley would have been any better. 6
There for his defence, and boy did he deliver in that department. Made multiple bone crunching hits (including a late shoulder on Cruden in the first half that was lucky to go unpunished), and his decision making and timing were superb. Did OK in attack with limited opportunities. 6
Played a similar game to Beale, except with the usual physical Toomua edge. Ran well, tackled well, linked up well enough with Beale and his outside men. Threw a few dodgy passes but like KB I am willing to chalk that up to a slippery ball. Not his best, but solid enough. 6
Very typical AAC outside centre game. Barely touched the ball, made all his tackles, and that’s about it. Can’t fault him, but can’t rave about him either. 6
Giving out 6s seems to be the order of the day in the backline, so it would be unfair to leave Pat out. He did pretty much everything asked of him, but I can’t help thinking he looked like a centre playing wing. Rob Horne has had a season to adjust, and I think it showed. 6
You think he had a quiet game, but then you look at his stats: most runs, most run metres, most defenders beaten, most offloads. Had a few shaky moments, but we’ve become so accustomed to his freakishness that we don’t think twice when he beats two defenders with ease. Outplayed Ben Smith, which is probably a first for anyone this year. 7
Tried hard in his twenty odd minutes. Had a few nice runs, didn’t let the side down. 6
The patented G&GR ratings guide:
10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all-round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke
So am I on the money?