Lions tour: Opinion - All Blacks player ratings - first Test vs the Lions

OPINION: The All Blacks escaped with a win in the first Test against the Lions, and a fairly comfortable one at that.

But how did the players rank?

Joe Moody: 7 - was good in close and around the fringes. Executed well at set-piece and never let his Lions counterpart get the better of him.

Codie Taylor: 8 - showed stunning hands in the first try, and he just goes from strength to strength in his work rate across the park and at the breakdown.

Owen Franks: 7 - was uncompromising in the scrum and defended well around the fringes.

Sam Whitelock: 6 - had a quieter night, but it's his work off the ball that's world-class. His leadership at the lineout as well as his little touches with ball in hand make him an invaluable player to this All Blacks pack.

Brodie Retallick: 8.5 - is there anything this man can't do? Retallick was incredible with ball in hand, getting over the advantage line almost every time. His physicality at the breakdown was world-class as he showed why he is the best lock in the world.

Jerome Kaino: 6.5 - a hard match to quantify his contribution because he just does so much off the ball. Was strong with ball in hand, but his cleaning out and his handling of the likes of Peter O'Mahony and Sean O'Brien was key. Not the biggest night, but expect him to get better in the next few matches.

Sam Cane: 9 - has made himself a constant presence during the match without any fuss. Cane is so strong at the breakdown and has climbed to one of, if not the best, sevens in the world. Registered a match that King Richie McCaw would have been proud of - fearless in defense and strong on attack.

Kieran Read: 9.5 - what a match to get from your skipper in his first run in two months. Read was immense off the back of the breakdown and didn't give an inch in defense. Following the match, coach Steve Hansen said "that's what All Black captains do", and too right as he was easily the man of the match.

Aaron Smith: 8.5 - cemented himself as the All Blacks' top halfback. Quick from the base, Smith was instinctive and well and truly showed his rugby IQ. Complements Beauden Barrett's attacking style with his wide pass.

Beauden Barrett: 5.5 - had a disappointing night by his own high standards. Moved to the back after Ben Smith was subbed with concussion, he was solid under the high ball, defusing several attacking opportunities for the Lions. Act of the night was his one-handed pick-up after returning a charged grubber in the first half.

Rieko Ioane: 7.5 - game didn't really fall his way in the first half, but took both opportunities with open arms in the second. Surely sealed a second Test berth after burning Elliot Daly for his second try, something I'm not sure Julian Savea would have done.

Sonny Bill Williams: 7 - was kept quiet with ball in hand but was extremely sound in defense and looked capable of making things happen. Absolutely certain starter in the second Test.

Ryan Crotty: 5 - is another player that does a lot off the screen, clearing out and making good, low, solid tackles. Is set to be ruled out of the rest of the Test series, which is a massive blow as he never looked like being caught out on defense.

Israel Dagg: 6.5 - a solid night without being spectacular. Dagg is arguably the All Blacks' best man in the air and demonstrated this, taking a few good box kicks from Murray. Passed the final ball to Taylor for the first try.

Ben Smith: 4 - a disappointing night for the team's accountant. Coughed up a few high balls from Murray before being taken off for a head injury assessment.

Nathan Harris: 5.5 - came on when the game was essentially out of sight for the Lions, but held well at the set-piece. No denying Harris' potency on defense which is why the All Blacks' selectors love him so.

Wyatt Crockett: 6 - showed why he is a brilliant impact player for the All Blacks. Very solid at scrum time and his defense around the fringes is commendable - also a player whose work maybe isn't entirely appreciated on-screen.

Charlie Faumuina: 6.5 - Mr Reliable at scrum time and is very handy in general play. His loss to the north following the 2017 season is a big one, but he'll have a huge role to play for the rest of the Lions series.

Scott Barrett: 5.5 - missed a tackle in the Lions final try but the game was done and dusted.

Ardie Savea: 7 - his strength in the tackle and his abrasive nature at the breakdown is forever a revelation. A player that breaks the defense after they're broken.

TJ Perenara: 6.5 - did all the things well when he came on. His left foot box kick is handy when the All Blacks are tucked down in the left hand corner. The leadership he offers on the park is irreplaceable.

Aaron Cruden: 6 - had a lot to do after coming on for Ben Smith. He failed to really give the team the direction you want from your bench 10, but was tidy with ball in hand and sound on defense. Failed to find touch in the first half, which led to the stunning Lions' first try.

Anton Lienert-Brown: 6 - another one of these players who didn't really assert themselves in the match. Outpaced a couple of times in the second half, it looked like he's still a yard short of where he needs to be.

Matt Tewhatu is a digital sports producer for Newshub.

Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Email
Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to Viber Share to WhatsApp Share to Email