Opinion: All Blacks player ratings against Namibia in Rugby World Cup poolplay at Toulouse

OPINION: OK, Namibia are not exactly South Africa or France, so the grading scale for the All Blacks starts somewhat higher.

Given more freedom to operate, New Zealand's second-string players enjoyed the opportunity to express themselves and pad their points differential in poolplay.

This wasn't really a statement performance against opposition that was never going to truly test them, but it will give certain individuals confidence moving forward - and potentially end the tournament for at least one, as discipline again comes under the spotlight.

Ethan de Groot yellow-carded against Namibia.
Ethan de Groot yellow-carded against Namibia. Photo credit: Photosport

Job done by the All Blacks, here's how the players stacked up:

1-Ofa Tu'ungafasi 6

Part of a dominant starting scrum that laid on Cam Roigard's second try and produced an outrageous no-look, behind-the-back pass that would make any front-rower proud. Probably tried to do too much, penalised in the lineout that cost Samisoni Taukei'aho a try, threw an outrageous forward pass, missed a key tackle in midfield, pushed early at an attacking scrum... and was brought back for a yellow-card cameo.

2-Samisoni Taukei'aho 6.5

Contributed to a dominant scrum and was unlucky to have a lineout try disallowed. Didn't lose a lineout throw, but didn't show out with ball in hand and wasn't required to tackle much either.

3-Nepo Laulala 6

Dominant at scrumtime, but can be counted on for at least one dropped ball each game. Missed a tackle in midfield that saw Namibia go close to scoring and complicit in the early push that probably cost another pushover try.

4-Brodie Retallick 7

Badly needed some gametime, after his injury layoff and cameo against France. Feasted at lineout time, including one off the opposition throw and another that should have resulted in a try for his hooker.

5-Samuel Whitelock 6.5

Equalled McCaw as most-capped All Black, but now one of his vintage performances. Penalised often early, including one that resulted in Namibia's only points and another that cost Taukei'aho his try. 

Helped secure his team's perfect lineout performance and stole one off the opposition for good measure. 

6-Luke Jacobson 6

Seems to have become the fall guy when any of his fellow forwards are carded. Charged about with intent, making two clean breaks in the first half, but missed three tackles and left early, when a prop was required for the shorthanded scrum.  

7-Dalton Papali'i 6.5

Scored a try and had a try assist, but wasn't sighted much beyond that. Strangely for an openside, was credited with absolutely no tackles in the first half. 

8-Ardie Savea (c) 8

The skipper was back near his productive best, with try assists for Roigard and de Groot, plus a strong rung off a scrum that led to Papali'i's five-pointer. Snaffled a key turnover on his own goal-line.

Ardie Savea in action against Namibia.
Ardie Savea in action against Namibia. Photo credit: Photosport

9-Cam Roigard 9.5

His international trajectory just keeps getting steeper with a clear player-of-the-match showing that included the opening two tries, two assists to Damian McKenzie and another to David Havili. Starting to ease some anxiety about what comes next, after Aaron Smith moves on.

10-Damian McKenzie 8

This style of game suits the freewheeling skillset of McKenzie, who ran elusively, kicked largely to good effect and scored two tries, almost three. Converted 8/11 from the kicking tee and switched to fullback late in a possible preview of games to come.

A successful start to a partnership that could become the All Blacks' first-choice inside-back combination next year. 

11-Leicester Fainga’anuku 7.5

Real rocks and diamonds from the powerful left winger. Handled three times in the opening try, including the assist to Roigard, then overpowered five tacklers to score himself, before finding Rieko Ioane to score late.

Beat eight defenders and provided four offloads. Also kicked out on the full, knocked on at kickoff and dropped the ball cold inside his own 22.

Leicester Fainga'anuku in action against Namibia.
Leicester Fainga'anuku in action against Namibia. Photo credit: Photosport

If you love his threat on attack, you just have to swallow his other lapses. 

12-David Havili 7

Another desperately needing gametime after injury layoffs and was given room to show his full repertoire of skills. Made four clean breaks, kicked to the corner for Caleb Clarke to chase, scored a try himself and made a big trysaving tackle that kept the defensive slate clean.

13-Anton Lienert-Brown 6.5

Another solid outing in the midfielder, highlighted by a try that saw him retreat to take a difficult pass in his own half, kick ahead and chase. Squandered another try with a final forward pass.

14-Caleb Clarke 7

Ran more metres (116) than anyone else, including six clean breaks, but seemed destined to go unrewarded, when he gathered Havili's kick and stumbled short of the tryline. Eventually found the line.  

15-Beauden Barrett 8

Constant threat with ball in hand or at toe. Ran 97 metres, made a break and kicked ahead for McKenzie's near try, crosskicked to Fainga'anuku in the opening try and assisted on Papali'i's try.

Beauden Barrett in action against Namibia.
Beauden Barrett in action against Namibia. Photo credit: Photosport

Probably needed this performance for confidence, after two tough outings. 


16-Dane Coles 6

Replaced Taukei'aho in the 52nd minute and immeidately forced a turnover with a big tackle.

17-Ethan de Groot 3

Replaced Tu'ungafasi in the 48th minute and scored a try with his first touch from a lineout. Completely undid the goodwill with a dumb high tackle that saw him red-carded, possibly out of the tournament.

18-Fletcher Newell 6

Replaced Laulala in the 48th minute and probably would have maintained the dominant scrum, until his front-row mate's brain explosion.

19-Scott Barrett 6

Replaced Retallick in the 57th minute and immediately won a lineout for Havili's try. 

20-Tupou Vaa'i 6

Replaced Savea in the 64th minute and won crucial ruck penalty on defence.

21-Aaron Smith 5 

Replaced Roigard in the 67th minute.

22-Richie Mo'unga 6

Replaced Barrett in the 60th minute and kicked cleverly for Clarke's try.

23-Rieko Ioane 6

Replaced Lienert-Brown in the 69th minute and threw a dusty pass inside his own 22, but used his speed well to score.

Grant Chapman is Newshub's online sports lead