Wallabies vs All Blacks: How the Players Rated

International
by Iain Payten

It was a familar script for the Wallabies in Japan, with patches of good play undone by too many mistakes. How did the players rate?

Scott Sio 6

Some strong runs into traffic, and space, a highlight after a year where the big Brumby hasn’t seen too much ball. Good muscle in defence, too.

Folau Faingaa 7

Possesses a natural aggression that sees him want to dominate the man in front, both in defence and attack. Wallabies pack needs many more like him.

Allan Alaalatoa 5

Back in the starting jersey but far more of a solid shift than his stand-out second half in Salta. Wallabies looked best when they built patiently using the big men in the middle. More please.

Izack Rodda 6

Pulled off a big hit on Kieran Read and did some solid grunt work in the tight play. But still has tendency to cough up a basic error or two, and his dropped kickoff in the dying stages led to a try.

Rob Simmons 6

Was challenged by Michael Cheika to lift his game and Simmons responded. He carried at pace at the line and came forward in defence with a dominant intent. Unlucky not to score.

Ned Hanigan 5

Was more successful in getting across the gainline with his carries but caught short defensively several times, including on Read’s try. Hanigan was dynamic in his early NSW days; perhaps a bench role can see him rediscover that, now Dempsey is back.

Michael Hooper 7

High-energy shift, carrying often and plugging gaps defensively. Leadership was done right, too, when he took points in the first half and kept up scoreboard pressure. You get the sense Hooper could be used more as an effective running asset if plays were set for him. 

David Pocock 6

Don’t underestimate how much time the All Blacks spend on figuring out how to limit David Pocock’s impact in a game. And they did it well in Japan; forcing him to make tackles or pinning him in rucks so he was unable to roam.

Will Genia 6

When the Wallabies were building patiently on attack, Genia was the man pulling the strings and offering far more in terms of finding forward runners. But his size can be exploited in defence - and the Kiwis did it well for Barrett’s try and coming off lineouts.

Bernard Foley 6

Was asked to do plenty in defence, and largely held his ground. After a panicky start, where the Wallabies fell into bad habits and chased space wide, Foley’s work steering the attack grew as the game went on. Attempt to find Israel Folau on Aaron Smith with a first-phase kick was clever, but not executed. Full marks for Foley’s effort to chase down a Barrett kick through.

Marika Koroibete 5

Worked hard in defence as usual and looked for involvements in attack. Didn’t manage to beat his man, though, and still has that tendency to throw a speccie offload when heading to the sideline.

Kurtley Beale 5

Solid shift without the usual spectacular moments we come to rely on for the Wallabies to score points. Missed tackle on Liam Squire for a try was a bad one, but was blatantly shepherded by Aaron Smith when Ben Smith scored. Play on, apparently.

Israel Folau 5

Scored a nice try late in the second half but gave one away soon after, with a miracle offload that went straight to the arms of Ben Smith.  Was more involved with the no.13 on his back, which is a positive, but in wide, congested channels. You’d love to see Folau working for gaps on the inside of Foley and Beale.

Sefa Navailu 5

Showed plenty of power to score a good try near halftime but handling was otherwise a bit sketchy. But it’s good to see Super Sefa back in the mix.

Dane Haylett-Petty 5

Another who was solid but not sensational; and he’s a victim of his own high standards here. Took the ball into the defence often but couldn’t manage to slip free.

REPLACEMENTS

Tolu Latu 3

Codie Taylor could put a fishing picture of he and Tolu Latu on the wall of his pool room, with the title of “Biggest Catch". He had no right to go push Latu but it was done on purpose, to get a overheated response. And he got one. Latu jumped on his hook. The NSW hooker is an incredibly gifted athlete but Latu is only ever one hot-headed snap away from leaving his team down a man, and in Test rugby, effectively losing the game. The Kiwis took the game away when he was off, and that was not long after Latu’s crooked throw gave them the possession for Barrett’s try.

Sekope Kepu 6

Shift no.100 was as reliably staunch from Sekope Kepu as any of the previous 99. Carried hard, make some strong tackles and helped keep a 7-man scrum perfectly still.

Taniela Tupou 5

Made more impact with his general running but you get the sense there is much more improvement to be gained from Tupou’s power and speed. He seems to always be running into bodies.

Rory Arnold 5

Punched through the line on a couple of occasions when he came on and got through his work.

Jack Dempsey 7

Welcome back Jack. There is something comforting seeing a guy who consistently makes trouble against the All Blacks. His sharp feet and pace off the mark made him one of the best Wallaby ball-runners, and this is a guy who barely played all year.

Nick Phipps n/a

Entered the game with the chance of victory largely over. As valuable as Will Genia is, Cheika would be wise to plug game time into either Phipps or Jake Gordon. If nothing else, it provides a different threat.

Samu Kerevi 8

Best player in Wallaby jersey and he only played 22 minutes. Time and again took on the line and beat at least one tackle, and set up Folau’s try too. Made six runs for two clean breaks, and four defenders beaten. All of that off 30 minutes of sevens in the last four months. Showed in a second half cameo what has been missing for Australia all year.

Tom Banks n/a

Limited game time.