Opinion: All Blacks v Ireland player ratings from Eden Park, Auckland

OPINION: New Zealand shrugged off a nervy first 20 minutes to run away with a dominant 42-19 win against Ireland in the series-opener at Auckland's Eden Park.

The All Blacks soaked up some inspired Irish pressure to down the visitors with a six-try performance, built on the back of a valiant defence.

Aaron Smith and Ardie Savea lead the way, as the hosts recorded an impressive first hitout for 2022 and will take much confidence heading into the second test.

Here's how the individual players rated against Ireland:

1-George Bower 7.5

Made some really strong carries and more than held his own in the scrum against one of the best in the world, Tadhg Furlong.

2-Codie Taylor 7

Solid game for the Crusaders hooker. Made most of his throws at the lineout, bar one mishap with Ardie Savea

Aaron Smith clears against Ireland
Aaron Smith clears against Ireland. Photo credit: Photosport

3-Ofa Tu'ungafasi 8

Dominated opposite Andrew Porter at the scrum and won a penalty for his efforts.

4-Brodie Retallick 7

Made 15 tackles in a courageous performance and was instrumental in a defiant All Blacks defence on their own try-line.

5-Sam Whitelock 7

An impressive performance on defence, much like his locking partner. Made an incredible 20 tackles and won an impressive turnover penalty at the breakdown.

6-Scott Barrett 7.5

Made 18 tackles in a titanic effort on defence, including a couple of huge hits on the All Blacks try-line to keep the Irish out.

7-Sam Cane 5.5

Made a number of tackles, including a huge hit on Furlong, but missed a costly tackle in the lead-up to Ireland’s second try and seemed to struggle with the pace of the game.

8-Ardie Savea 9

Made several strong carries and grabbed two tries, swatting off three Ireland defenders to grab his second. Showed great instinct to chase Aaron Smith's kick and dive on the loose ball for his first.

Covered plenty of ground on defence as well.

9-Aaron Smith 9

Tied for the All Blacks' best for the night with Savea. His passing was sublime and played a huge part in several of New Zealand's scores. Also set up Savea's try with a brilliant kick through and chase.

10-Beauden Barrett 7.5

Was instrumental in Quinn Tupaea’s try, with an outstanding grubber behind the Ireland defence. Always looked to attack and ran the game well.

11-Leicester Fainga'anuku 7

Made a strong carry down the left wing to set up the All Blacks' first try, sucking in four Irish tacklers to turn the game around for New Zealand.

12-Quinn Tupaea 7

Was powerful with ball in hand and took his try well, after Barrett's grubber through.

13-Rieko Ioane 8

Made two trysaving tackles in as many minutes - the first on Joey Carbery, when Ireland looked certain to score out wide, and the second on a diving Josh van der Flier to knock the ball out of his hands. Wasn’t as imposing on attack, but a good night for the All Blacks centre.

Pita Gus Sowakula scores for the All Blacks
Pita Gus Sowakula scores for the All Blacks. Photo credit: Photosport

14-Sevu Reece 8

Was his elusive best with ball in hand, and did superbly to pick up a loose Irish ball and run the full length of the field when Ireland were mounting pressure.

15-Jordie Barrett 8

Played an integral part in keeping New Zealand in the game, after a dominant opening 20 minutes from the tourists. Took his try well and made all his kicks at goal.


16-Samisoni Taukei'aho 7

17-Karl Tu'inukuafe 5

Carried on the All Blacks' dominance at the scrum, but was on the wrong side of a rather unlucky yellow card.

18-Angus Ta'avao 7

19-Pita Gus Sowakula 8

Overcame an early knock-on to pounce on a back-pedalling Ireland scrum and score a try on his debut, after another dominant All Blacks shove. Also recorded a lineout steal.

20-Dalton Papalii 6

21-Finlay Christie 6

22-Richie Mo'unga 6

23-Braydon Ennor 6

Reece Labuschagne is a Newshub online sports producer. Join us at 7pm Saturday for live updates of the second All Blacks v Ireland test.