Opinion: All Blacks player ratings for Rugby World Cup pool game against Uruguay

OPINION: As expected, the All Blacks have locked up their place in the knockout rounds in France with a straightforward 73-0 victory over Uruguay.

Contests against the minnows often make for a difficult measuring stick when it comes to player assessment, but as coach Ian Foster has preached all tournament – performance takes priority over result.

So, who sat up straight with their legs crossed and raised their hands for selection for the business end of the tournament?

1-Ofa Tu'ungafasi 5

Forced an ill-advised wrap around pass early as part of an overall disjointed start form the All Blacks. Otherwise largely unsighted and low on activity in an unremarkable outing. Ethan de Groot has daylight behind him as the first-choice loosehead.

2-Codie Taylor 7.5

Rambunctious performance from Taylor. On the money at lineout time and energetic with his running game, the Crusaders veteran's resurgence to consign flavour of 2022 Samisoni Taukai'aho to an afterthought has been remarkable. Back to his vintage best.

Leicester Fainga'anuku
Leicester Fainga'anuku Photo credit: Getty Images

3-Tyrel Lomax N/A

Left the field with injury in the opening 10 minutes in his first start of the tournament. Far from ideal for Foster, who would've been desperate to see his first-choice tighthead to get through a solid 60 minutes before the knockouts. All limbs in the NZ camp will be crossed his issue is minor, but initial indications weren't encouraging.

4-Samuel Whitelock 7

The Cantabrian marked a third straight week of milestones by being an utter nuisance at the breakdown and defending the edge of the ruck like his life depended on it. A fitting celebration of a staggering 150 tests for the workhorse lock.

5-Tupou Vaa'i 7

The most industrious of the All Blacks forwards with the ball, flawless defensively and a terror in the lineout. A bonafide luxury as a fourth best lock.

6-Shannon Frizell 6

Work rate decidedly lower than we've come to expect, particularly with ball in hand. A distinct step down from his last outing against Italy but still comfortably the All Blacks' best option in the No. 6.

Cam Roigard.
Cam Roigard. Photo credit: Getty Images

7-Sam Cane 7

Solid from the skipper in his first start of the tournament. Becoming more involved in the running game. Not a niggle in sight, Foster will be satisfied with his captain's shift - getting through 80 minutes is a massive moral victory.

8-Luke Jacobson 5

Scarcely sighted in open field play and lacking accuracy at the breakdown. Still yet to see him truly translate his impact from Super Rugby to test level.

9-Cam Roigard 8.5

Continues his trend of improvement every time he wears a black jersey. Crisp and urgent all day. Explosive bursts from the base of the ruck proved a handful and he was equally lethal in the open with his fleetfootedness, leaving a wake of broken ankles on the Groupama Stadium pitch. Kicking game demanded a bit more accuracy but, nevertheless, it will be a travesty if he doesn’t back-up Aaron Smith for the remainder of the All Blacks' campaign.

10-Richie Mo'unga 7.5

Slightly erratic start but settled into his role as conductor with aplomb. Wreaked havoc with his angles and running from depth and unlocked the defence with some deft touches off the boot, asking plenty of questions with his variety.

11-Leicester Fainga'anuku 9

The Tasman truck was operating at top gear in Lyon, bulldozing to a hat-trick of tries and  providing a midfield cameo for good measure, just to show off his versatility. Offers a priceless point of difference in his elite ability to contest at the breakdown – a valuable commodity for wings at test level when defences swarm on vulnerable wide ball. Squeezed the most out of every inch of space he was afforded and dished out more piggyback rides than a rainy-day dad.  

A Fainga'anuku /Jordan/Telea combination is an All Blacks back three we need to – but won't - see in the knockout round(s). 

Anton Lienert-Brown.
Anton Lienert-Brown. Photo credit: Getty Images

12-Jordie Barrett 7

Barrett's blockbusting midfield surges were conspicuous by their absence, but he was commanding defensively. Chose the best option in most attacking raids from the All Blacks backline.

13-Anton Lienert-Brown 8

Robust link play and a wall defensively, while doling out assists like a prime Chris Paul. Superb cover tackle to spare the All Blacks the ignominy of conceding the first try. Undervalued piece of the All Blacks' puzzle who's probably closer in the centre pecking order to regular starter Rieko Ioane than we realise.

14-Will Jordan 9

Omni present in space all match. Seems to be operating at his own pace at times with his breakneck speed that belies his upright posture. Rapid, reliable, and uber skillful – Jordan is the total package. The only injustice is that he doesn't have the ball in his hands more, which is why he seems far more potent at fullback. There aren’t many others who have the skill and execution to pull off the kind of long pass he threw to send Fainganuku over for a second-half try.

15-Damian McKenzie 9

Best on the park. The man is a menace. A two-try performance sprinkled with all of his trademark flourishes, highlighted by an outrageous one-touch pass to keep the ball infield that led to a try assist and a behind-the-back pass to spark a – albeit brief – counterattack early. Reece Walsh-esque in the way he manipulates space on the second man play. Times his injections impeccably. It will be hard for Foster to leave him off the bench from here.


16-Samisoni Taukei'aho 6

17-Tamaiti Williams 7  - Considerable presence. Bagged his first test try 

18-Fletcher Newell 8 - Called into the action early and was very impressive. Busy and highly effective running game, highlighted by his slick burst for his first test try. Fortunately for the All Blacks - as per Foster's post-mtch comments - his late injury departure was more on the precautionary side.

19-Scott Barrett 5

20-Ethan Blackadder 6.5 - Warmed to the task the longer he was on the field but still somewhat off the test pace.  

21-Finlay Christie 6

22-Beauden Barrett 6 - A couple of nice touches mixed some questionable decisionmaking

23-Caleb Clarke 7 - Stamped his mark late