Opinion: All Blacks player ratings for Rugby World Cup semi-final win over Argentina

OPINION: The All Blacks have stamped a first-class ticket to their fifth Rugby World Cup final with a semi-final win of utter dominance in the French capital.

Seven tries, a clean line of their own and just two penalties conceded – Ian Foster could scarcely have asked for more as a sequel to their masterclass against the Irish.

So, who stood out in Saturday's demolition at the Stade de France?

1-Ethan de Groot 8

Concrete wall around the edge of the rucks. Unrecognisable from the player who was once told by the All Blacks brass he needed to work on his conditioning to compete at test level – a message he clearly took to heart. The fulcrum of a dominant tight-five performance.

2-Codie Taylor 8

A tackling machine from the opening whistle. Piloted the mauls with aplomb. Was genuinely shocking to see him finally miscue a lineout throw, he's been that metronomically in sync with his targets all tournament. Ball in hand a ton. Has put some daylight behind him in the NZ hooker pecking order. 

Codie Taylor.
Codie Taylor. Photo credit: Getty Images

3-Tyrel Lomax 7

Looked like his dad laying down the hammer on the NRL field in the mid-90s, as he persistently dented the Argentina defense to lay the foundation for some straightforward finishes out wide. Part of an ABs front-row fast becoming billboard material.

4-Sam Whitelock 8

152 tests later and the engine is primed and grunting like it's 2011. Colossal at the lineout, where he pilfered plenty. Missile defensively. As talismanic as they come.  

5-Scott Barrett 6

Workhorse-like effort again in unison with a dominant day for the tight five, although somewhat tarnished by yet another yellow card. More detentions than an unruly year nine - his disciplinary issues concerningly trending towards his trademark.

6-Shannon Frizell 8

One of the All Blacks' busiest on both sides of the ball. Went looking for work and was rewarded with a brace of tries. Might catch some backlash from his bosses for the casual putdown on the first, but his second was a clinic in power pick and drive that broke open the floodgates. 

The All Blacks pack down a scrum.
The All Blacks pack down a scrum. Photo credit: Getty Images

7-Sam Cane 7

Less prominent than in last weekend's statement against the Irish but a nuisance for the Argentines, nonetheless. Unblemished in the tackle department with 15 to his name and exceedingly accurate in a team that – staggeringly - conceded just two penalties.   

8-Ardie Savea 8

A defender's worst nightmare. Wreaked havoc with by combining his trademark horsepower – particularly around the fringes - blended with some deft offloads at the line to create space the All Blacks fully capitalised on. Left a slew of Pumas behind their own advantage line in a breathless tackling display.

9-Aaron Smith 8

At his inimitable best. Broke the Pumas' back with his sniping early second-half try – perhaps the most memorable of his spectacular test career. Handy outlet in support all day, linked movements, conducted mauls, unleashed lasers from the ruck. Has clearly heard enough Dupont's alleged standing as the world's premier halfback.

10-Richie Mo'unga 8

Had the master key to the Pumas defensive line. Ever-present in support and prominent across the park. Boot was down on power involved in some dicey exits, but the man never runs out of turbo. Plays like the R1 button is stuck. Hitting the peak of his test powers at the opportune time. Blew an option late to deny Will Jordan a potentially record-setting try, but his wing may be the only one to hold it against him. Led the All Blacks for metres gained (103).

Richie Mo'unga.
Richie Mo'unga. Photo credit: Getty Images

11-Mark Tele'a 8

Left the naughty chair with a point to prove and prove it, he did – just ask the 14 Pumas defenders he left lying in his wake. Reminded those with short memories that he's one of the All Blacks' most potent weapons and a lock in the famous No. 11 jersey. Still (unofficially) yet to be taken down in a first-up tackle. More power in his hips than a prime Jennifer Lopez. Devastating dual-pronged attack with Jordan.

12-Jordie Barrett 8

Behemoth in the middle of the park. Always makes the gainline and is operating like another loose forward defensively, pinching plenty of Pumas pill.  Led the All Blacks for tackles made (19).  

13-Rieko Ioane 7

The Rieko midfield evolution continues. Showcased his deepening arsenal of offloads and ever-improving defensive nouse as part of a rock-solid tandem with his cohort Jordie. His decision-making and option-taking in the demanding and unforgiving centre avenues have been flawless.

14-Will Jordan 9

Another day, another hat trick for the best wing on planet earth. Scoring – and providing – dots for fun, bringing up his 31st in just 30 tests en route to becoming the third player ever to score three-plus tries in a World Cup semi-final. Needs just one more to surpass the legendary Jonah Lomu himself. Dougie Howlett's All Blacks record is doomed.

X, Y, and Z-factor.

15-Beauden Barrett 7

Busy on attack, kept the Pumas' defence guessing. Engineered some classic All Blacks counters. Not quite the 2015 version we saw last weekend but an effective day on the tools.


16-Samisoni Taukei'aho 7

17-Tamaiti Williams 7

18-Fletcher Newell 7

19-Brodie Retallick 7

20-Dalton Papali'I 6

21-Finlay Christie 7

22-Damian McKenzie 6

23-Anton Lienert-Brown 6