New Zealand secured a 44 – 6 victory over Argentina to secure their place in the 2023 Rugby World Cup final against either South Africa or England.
15. Beauden Barrett – 6
Solid without showing his usual flashes of brilliance. Continually targeted at kick-off time but handled them all with ease and cleared well with the boot.
14. Will Jordan – 10
Yes, Antoine Dupont and Cheslin Kolbe are magnificent, but Will Jordan is right up there with them. A silky smooth runner with an out-of-this-world try-scoring record which he added to on three more occasions again this evening. Must surely be the future of the fullback position for the All Blacks.
13. Reiko Ioane – 5
Offered very little in attack but made his tackles, not quite the attacking force he had been previously. Will need to cut down on the off-the-ball niggle as it appears to be eating into his focus on the important side of the game.
12. Jordie Barrett – 8
What a revelation the youngest Barrett has been since his move to 12. Yes, he was good at fullback, but right now, he is up there as the best inside centre in the game. His long-range kicking game is a major weapon for New Zealand heading into the final.
11. Mark Telea – 7
Returned to the starting line-up and showed his class, scoring yet another try. He has a unique ability to slip through contact without ever really being smashed. Defensively he mixes it with the best of them and smashed several of the Pumas’ powerful ball carriers.
10. Richie Mo’unga – 9
New Zealand Rugby are going to miss him dearly; at 29 years old he is in the pomp of his career as a flyhalf. Quite possibly the best number ten in the world in terms of mixing it all together from sniping runs to clever kicks. As close to perfect as you get.
9. Aaron Smith – 7
A pest all night in the best way possible. Hassling the Argentineans in ref Angus Gardner’s ear and was rewarded with a try. If it wasn’t already clear, he is the best All Blacks scrumhalf of the modern era by quite some distance.
8. Ardie Savea – 8
He is another of those players who will be greatly missed while he is playing in Japan. Alongside South Africa’s Eben Etzebeth, he must be a favourite for World Player of the Year. Yet another rock-solid performance with a regular sprinkling of brilliance when needed.
7. Sam Cane – 7
The skipper did what the skipper does, it wasn’t glamourous, but he was the key cog in the All Blacks quick ruck ball. Substituted with 15 minutes to go, and the result was beyond doubt. A signature tournament for the most doubted All Black captain in recent memory.
6. Shannon Frizell – 8
An absolute monster who utilised his power to great effect to drive over in the 49th minute. Since coming into the backrow he has added the necessary balance as a powerful unit, allowing Scott Barrett to utilise his dynamism in the backrow.
5. Scott Barrett – 6
Overall, he was solid but was one of the only All Blacks to get on the wrong side of referee Angus Gardener. A yellow card in the second half for a completely unnecessary knockdown with the Pumas camped deep in their own 22. He will need to shore this area up for the final, as it could prove costly.
4. Sam Whitelock – 6
Trucking along nicely, rock solid at the line-out. The very definition of work smart, not hard, tapping into all of that experience, he is rarely if ever, found wanting.
3. Tyrel Lomax – 6
Good again but faced little resistance, which is strange to say against Los Pumas. Certainly, he is New Zealand’s best tighthead and will be heavily tested next week against whichever pack he faces.
2. Codie Taylor – 6
Solid without having to do too much, his accuracy at line-out time is a major weapon to ensure a clean ball. Another All Black forward who had a field day at the breakdown against a sloppy Pumas team.
1. Ethan de Groot – 7
A proper loosehead who, at 25-years-old should have two more World Cups in him. Another one of the new breed front row forwards who just looks effortless on the ball and is a key contributor to the Kiwi’s up-tempo game.
16. Samisoni Taukei’aho – 7 – Dynamic and justified his position ahead of Coles.
17. Tamaiti Williams – 6 – Seamlessly fitted in.
18. Fletcher Newell – 6 – Came on with Williams and didn’t miss a beat.
19. Brodie Retallick – 6 – A nice 20-minute hit out in a match where the result was sealed.
20. Dalton Papali’i – 6 – Came on for the captain with the result beyond doubt.
21. Finlay Christie – 7 – Looked immensely dynamic during his 25 minutes on the pitch. Putting in some big hits and kept the All Blacks attack flowing.
22. Damian Mckenzie – 6 – Got a long run out but wasn’t quite his sparkling best.
23. Anton Lienart-Brown – 6 – a nice break but didn’t quite manage to regather for what would’ve been a sublime individual try.