Opinion: Northern Tour - All Black player ratings v Italy at Rome's Stadio Olimpico

OPINION: All Blacks coach Ian Foster won't find much to smile about from his side's 47-9 victory over Italy at Rome.

Despite a scoreline that got away from them late, the 14th-ranked Azzurri put plenty of pressure on their top-ranked guests for much of the opening 60 minutes and possibly exposed some flaws for upcoming opponents to exploit.

When all else failed, New Zealand's set-piece provided some breathing room, before some experience off the bench and a tiring defence helped open the floodgates over the closing stages.

Foster had encouraged his fringe performers to stake their claims for spots in looming encounters against Ireland and France, but few did.

Veteran hooker Dane Coles may have done enough to supplant rookie Samisoni Taukei'aho for a bench role, while his back-up Asofa Aumua showed glimpses of his promise, after previous disappointing displays.

Here's how the All Blacks stacked up individually:

George Bower 7

Provided a strong foundation for a dominant scrum that collectively assisted on Finlay Christie's opening try. Ran strongly with ball in hand, before he was replaced in the 52nd minute.

Dane Coles 9

Contributed to his team's early struggles with a wonky lineout throw, but more than made up for it, as he scored his 19th and 20th tries in black - only McCaw and Read have scored more among forwards.

His leadership was instrumental in turning momentum back the All Blacks' way. Replaced by Aumua in the 52nd minute. 

Tyrel Lomax 7

Early knock-on, but got on top of the Italian front row. Replaced in 52nd minute.

Tupou Vaa'i 6

Suddenly the senior partner in a raw second-row tandem and became his team's No.1 lineout target. Obliged to commit to a few more rucks than usual and conceded four turnovers at the breakdown.

Josh Lord 7

Made his first start in the black jersey and managed 60 minutes, before replaced by Sam Whitelock. Victimised at the breakdown, but won the lineout for Coles' second try, stole another against the throw and even made a trysaving tackle on a flying Italian winger.

Was noticeably blowing hard by the time he was subbed off, but plenty to like.

Luke Jacobson 5

Stole a lineout, but not as prominent as he has been during this campaign. Replaced by Shannon Frizell in the 52nd minute. 

Sam Cane 7

Logged a full 80 minutes, which will do his fitness the world of good, after a long layoff. Lead his team in tackles (nine), forced the turnover that lead to Coles' second try and made another important steal in the second half.

Still faces an uphill battle to crack the top line-up, but may have earned a bench spot.

Hoskins Sotutu scores for the All Blacks
Hoskins Sotutu scores for the All Blacks. Photo credit: Getty

Hoskins Sotutu 8

Stole a lineout throw, won another for Coles' first try and made metres whenever he ran with the ball. Rewarded with a try and reminded everyone he's still of international class in a highly competitive loose forward scramble.

Brad Weber 5

Exited early with a head wound that turned into concussion. Missed opportunity in his battle with TJ Perenara for first choice halfback on this tour.

Richie Mo'unga 6

Lost another step to Beauden Barrett in the contest for the No.10 jersey. Couldn't crack the Italian defence tactically, although he missed only one shot at goal and provided a clever pass to George Bridge in the build-up to Sotutu's try.

George Bridge 6

Continues to struggle for confidence, but this outing may at least halt the slide. Ran for 75 metres, made two linebreaks and provided the final pass for Sotutu's try.

Still not enough to regain his spot in the top side.

Quinn Tupaea 6

Led the team with 98 metres run, but squandered a chance to supplant David Havili in the top line-up. Not a great day for the All Blacks midfield. 

Braydon Ennor 5

Nightmare opening 20 minutes, with a couple of knock-ons and a forward pass. Tackled enthusiastically, but seemed out of his depth, before he was replaced by Havili in the 58th minute.

Sevu Reece 6

Continued his tryscoring record for the All Blacks, but perhaps should have passed and hobbled off afterwards. Spilled a high ball, but not the only one. 

Damian McKenzie 5

Horror show for McKenzie, who was upended in his quest for the very first high ball and struggled to recover. Dropped one pass cold, which summed up his night.

Finlay Christie scores for the All Blacks
Finlay Christie scores for the All Blacks. Photo credit: Getty


Asafo Aumua 8

Struggling for form this campaign, but showed his ability, with accurate lineout throwing and two tries. Damaging runner, replaced Coles in the 52nd minute.

Ethan de Groot 6

Energetic cameo from the rookie, after entering the action in the 52nd minute.

Ofa Tuungafasi 7

Not sure the replacement props actually faced a scrum in the final half hour, but Tuungafasi showed out in the loose, busting the defence and offloading to spark Reece's try.

Sam Whitelock 6

Probably helped steady the ship late, but took a backseat, after replacing Lord in the 61st minute.

Shannon Frizell 6

Welcome return to the All Blacks and featured strongly, after replacing Jacobson in the 52nd minute.

Finlay Christie 8

Replaced Weber in the eighth minute and spent the first half wondering when his mate would return from his concussion test - he never did. Took full advantage of the extended run for the opening try, safe under a couple of high kicks and provided the assist on Reece's try.

David Havili 6

Midfield seemed to have more space to operate by the time he replaced Ennor in the 58th minute.

Jordie Barrett 6

Like Whitelock, wasn't required to show his class, after replacing Reece in the 67th minute.

Grant Chapman is Newshub's online sports lead. Join us at 4am Sunday for live updates of the All Blacks v Ireland test