White, Daugunu top list: Wallabies player ratings from incredible Bledisloe Cup draw

International
by Christy Doran

The Wallabies came within one right upright of snapping their 19-year hoodoo against the All Blacks in New Zealand, as they secured a famous 16-16 draw at Wellington’s Sky Stadium.

It was first time since 1962 that the trans-Tasman rivals finished level at full-time in New Zealand.

Here are our player ratings from an extraordinary afternoon in the New Zealand capital.

Tom Banks – 8

Solid as a rock.

On a wet and windy afternoon, the best way to sum up Banks’ game is to compare it with his opposite Damian McKenzie.

Where McKenzie was shaky and tested all afternoon under the high ball in the swirling windy Wellington breeze, Banks was dependable and assured.

His one fault came in the lead up to Jordie Barrett’s opening try, as Banks failed to find touch and the All Blacks countered.

Wallabies coach Dave Rennie has a tough decision on his hands now as to whether to recall Dane Haylett-Petty, who is expected to be fit for the second Test next Sunday at Eden Park.


Filipo Daugunu – 10

The selection of Daugunu was an attacking move from Rennie and it paid off in spades.

On debut, Daugunu was the best player on the field.

He continually beat the first man, powered through impact, was solid under the high ball, won his side an onball penalty and scored the Wallabies’ second try.

Hunter Paisami – 8.5

Considered a potential weak spot in the Wallabies’ team, Paisami not only held up, he exceeded expectations.

Thrown in the deep end at outside centre – a position considered the hardest to defend on the field – Paisami hit and hit hard.

His defence was outstanding and he forced a crucial error in the 57th minute on Richie Mo’unga to force and error and the Wallabies almost scored from it as they toed the ball ahead and ended up inside the All Blacks’ 22m line.

Meanwhile, in attack he carried the ball with the punch and physicality we’ve seen all year in Super Rugby.

He showed a deft touch in the 52nd minute turning the All Blacks around with a lovely grubber, which ended up with McKenzie rushing a clearing kick and only finding touch on his own 22m line.

It was that kick that lead to the Wallabies scoring first phase through Marika Koroibete.

Ten minutes later, it was Paisami’s carry over the gain line that got the Wallabies on the front foot, which Matt Philip followed up with another surging carry before the ball spat out the back and Daugunu finished off to score.

Matt To’omua – 6

Defensively To’omua was brilliant and he showed that with a massive shot on Mo’unga to force a turnover in the 13th minute.

It will have gone unnoticed for some, but To’omua jumped into first-receiver a number of times, interchanging seamlessly with James O’Connor, including in the lead up to Koroibete’s opener.

Once or twice, however, To’omua would have wanted his time over again as he kicked possession away, searching for space behind the All Blacks’ defence.

He also put Michael Hooper under pressure in the 69th minute with a poor pass that the skipper dropped.


Marika Koroibete – 7

The Wallabies winger showed his excellent finishing ability to score the Wallabies’ first try.

Koroibete carried with vigour and defensively was very good.

He did give away a penalty in the 57th minute for failing to roll away as Daugunu got on the ball.

James O’Connor – 8

Who’d have thought that was O’Connor’s first Test in the No.10 jersey since 2013?

Assured. That’s what O’Connor was.

He challenged the line, he distributed well, set-up Koroibete’s try and nailed a pressure-cooker penalty to give the Wallabies a late lead.

What would have been the icing on the cake is if he’d bene given the chance to slot a field goal at the death. It was something both he and Rennie lamented post-match.

Nic White – 9.5

Close to the Wallabies’ best.

In the lead up to the match a lot of Australian rugby fans questioned why running threat Tate McDermott wasn’t starting, let alone in the 23.

Well, we saw why on Sunday.

White was sensational.

He expertly mixed and matched his game up between probing the line and engaging defenders while also putting his boot to brilliant use.

White forced three errors (16th minute; 32; 41st) from his box kick and had McKenzie spilling another too in the 65th minute.

And who saw that epic out the back flick pass to Daugunu to score?

Pete Samu – 7

This was a different game from the one we usually see from Samu.

Where Samu often plays on the fringes in Super Rugby, he played tighter on Sunday.

He got on the ball defensively and was useful at the set-piece.

Once or twice however Samu was fractionally late on the attacking cleanout.

Michael Hooper – 8

Yet another captain’s knock.

Hooper topped the tackle count for the Wallabies (17) while also making 51 metres with ball-in-hand.

He also got on the ball to win a crucial penalty in the 40th minute.

Harry Wilson – 7

On debut, Wilson did what Wilson does.

He carried and took a lot of balls up the middle when the Wallabies needed someone to put their body in places few want to go.

Making Wilson’s carries all the more impressive was that he seldom was in a position to run onto the ball and often started from a standing start.

Early on in the match too Wilson helped the Wallabies get some width on their play as he unleashed Daugunu outside him by subtly holding up the ball.


Matt Philip – 7.5

A genuine unsung hero.

This bloke typifies the hard-working attitude that’s caught like wildfire throughout Australian rugby.

Following the departure of some big timber in the second-row, the Wallabies needed a huge shift from their lock and Philip delivered.

In his fourth Test, Philip regularly got over the gain line and made 55 metres and nine tackles.

The lineout does remain a massive work-on though.

Lukhan Salakaia-Loto – 8

Asked to play tighter, Salakaia-Loto was another who impressed and also made 55 metres in attack.

In the 37th minute, he sent James Slipper over the gain line with some beautiful quick hands.

Importantly, too, the lock’s discipline was very good.

Taniela Tupou – 8

The Wallabies tight-head prop was excellent in the opening half.

Pundit Rod Kafer regularly commented on Tupou’s much improved footwork.

He carried the ball eight times during his 50-minute stint out on the field and many of those were early on.

He also helped give the Wallabies some width in the opening minutes with a lovely left to right spiral pass that allowed Wilson to free up Daugunu out wide.

Tupou gave away a penalty early in the second half at the breakdown.

Folau Fainga’a – 5.5

When Fainga’a carried the ball into contact he was very good, but it was a tough night for hooker.

Three times he lost his throw in the first half.

He also made a terrible gaffe by fumbling the ball at the back of a set-piece play, which should have led to Rieko Ioane scoring on the stroke of half-time.

James Slipper – 6

The veteran in the Wallabies’ front-row, Slipper was strong early on and made 17 metres in attack.

Unfortunately the scrum didn’t quite have the dominance it was hoping to get, with a number of resets.

RESERVES

Jordan Uelese – 5.5

Came on midway through the second half and was good around the field.

Scott Sio – 5.5

Like Uelese, Sio came on midway through the second half and was solid.

Allan Alaalatoa – 7.5

Alaalatoa made a real impact when he came on, regularly carrying the ball forward.

Rob Simmons – 5.5

Penalised in the 78th minute as he “changed binds in the maul”.

But he also made a great carry in the 68th minute to get the Wallabies on the front foot, while he also managed to win the ball back from the kick restart with a minute to go.

Rob Valetini – N/A

Came on in the 76th minute for Salakaia-Loto, but was strong defensively.

Jake Gordon – N/A

Another to come on late in the match after replacing White in the 72nd minute.

Gordon will have wanted to control the tempo better at the end though as the Wallabies contemplated a late field goal.

Noah Lolesio – N/A

Didn’t get on the field.

Reece Hodge – N/A

Almost wrote himself into folklore with his penalty strike in the 73rd minute, which smacked the right-hand upright.