Rugby World Cup 2019: New Zealand v South Africa player ratings

OPINION: The All Blacks have beaten South Africa in their first match of the Rugby World Cup, but the defending champions were far from perfect.

Apart from scoring 17 points in five minutes, they were average, but the men in black were able to produce enough to beat fellow title contenders.

Several players stood up in their first World Cup match - and others didn't.

Here's how Newshub rated the All Blacks in their win over the Springboks. 

1. Joe Moody - 8

Led the physical charge by stopping the massive Boks forwards in their tracks with 10 tackles and no misses. Rock-solid in the scrum too, great 50 minutes of work.

2. Dane Coles - 5

A strangely quiet game from the usually busy hooker. Made just two runs and three tackles, and missed one of his lineout throws, before being dragged at halftime.

3. Nepo Laulala - 6

Gave away a penalty for lazy running and missed three tackles. Kept the big Springboks forwards at bay in the set-piece for 50 minutes.

4. Sam Whitelock - 6

A workmanlike performance from the veteran lock. Made no mistakes with fielding kick-offs and took some tough runs.

5. Scott Barrett - 8

When the All Blacks were under the pump early, Barrett made some big tackles and turnovers, which could've easily led to tries. Rewarded with a try, although he may need to work on his diving technique.

6. Ardie Savea - 9

Where does he get all his energy? The turnovers, the tackles, the leg-drive, pace and power - there's no stopping Savea, who is world class in all three loose forward positions.


7. Sam Cane - 7

A worrying moment when he copped a blow to the head, but he played on and made a team-high 10 tackles in the first half, before being substituted.

8. Kieran Read - 7

Led one of the better haka you'll ever see and never backed down over the 80 minutes.

9. Aaron Smith - 7

Was suffocated early on, but built into the game nicely, mixing up his running, passing and kicking game to perfect. Great support line up the middle for the Bridge try.

10. Richie Mo'unga - 9

Found space with a brilliant kicking game and saved a certain try with an amazing tackle on Boks speedster Cheslin Kolbie. Kicked four out of five of his attempts.

11. George Bridge - 8

Electric pace, great support lines, solid in the air and superb hands to score his try. More than justified his selection ahead of Rieko Ioane.

12. Ryan Crotty - 7

A typical Crotty performance. Making the others around him look good, while holding the team together defensively with eight tackles and no misses, until he was subbed after 50 minutes.

13. Anton Lienert-Brown - 8

The form midfielder in the country put in another electric display. A superb break out of nowhere to set up Scott Barrett's try.

Beat eight defenders and ran for a game-high 63 metres.

14. Sevu Reece - 7

Produced a magic goosestep and incredible pace, which led to the first try. By no means a mistake-free performance, but he's just so electric and always makes something happen.

15. Beauden Barrett - 9

Man of the match. If there's space on the field, Barrett will find it.

Took control of the game, after the All Blacks were under the pump early and produced several big plays. Has ice in his veins.

16. Codie Taylor - 5

A bit like Coles. Largely anonymous and also missed a lineout.

Not a night for the hookers.

17. Ofa Tuungafasi - 7

Made some crucial tackles and earned a vital scrum penalty, when he popped his opposite up to give the All Blacks a seven-point advantage with the game in the balance.

18. Angus Ta'avao - 5

Didn't make an impact.

19. Patrick Tuipulotu - 7

The monster lock was again at his physical best, laying on some bellringers in another solid 40-minute effort.

20. Shannon Frizell - No rating

Came on for the last five minutes.

21. TJ Perenara – 6

A couple of nice offloads and accurate box-kicks.

22. Sonny Bill Williams - 7

A nice pass that should've resulted in a try, only for Bridge to miss the mark with a wide-open Barrett outside him. Some good defensive work in a 30-minute cameo.

23. Ben Smith - 6

Only 13 minutes of action, but looked good with the ball in hand.

Essential Guide to 2019 Rugby World Cup

Everything you need to know about rugby and the World Cup...

The ninth Rugby World Cup kicks off on September 20 in Japan - the first time it has been hosted in Asia.

John Day is a Newshub sports reporter, covering the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan.