Rugby Championship 2014: New Zealand v Australia head to head ratings


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No.New ZealandRatingAustraliaRating
1.Wyatt Crockett – Made barely any impact in the first test and was pinged a couple of times in the scrum. Not a vintage All Blacks prop.6James Slipper – Carried the ball an incredible 14 times last weekend, and did well in the scrums. Increasingly one of Australia’s key players.8
2.Dane Coles – Lineout wobbled slightly in horrible conditions, and he’ll want to get his hands on the ball more this week. Can be devastating when he does.7Nathan Charles – Got through a lot of work in the loose but like his opponent his lineout struggled. Still, looks a solid option for third choice hooker.6.5
3.Owen Franks – Like his front row colleagues, struggled in the first test. Needs to step it up at scrum time and around the park.6.5Sekope Kepu – Can be a useful carrier so will want to get his hands on the ball more often. Scrum held up ok with him as anchor.7
4.Brodie Retallick – Got through a mountain of work in defence in round one but will want to get involved more with ball in hand this week.8.5Sam Carter – An impressive second test from the Brumbies lock, whose no-nonsense approach and high work rate make him seem like an accomplished international already.7.5
5.Sam Whitelock – See Retallick, B. Will hope his team is on the front foot more.8Rob Simmons – As expected, plenty of graft but little else. More of the same this week probably.6.5
6.Liam Messam – Not a bad man to bring in with Kaino injured. Workhorse who is also a fine footballer. Can be a danger with ball in hand.8Scott Fardy – Was guilty of giving away a couple of needless penalties last week. Other than that a solid performance.7.5
7.Richie McCaw (c) – Immense defensive shift, making 20 tackles, but gave away a few breakdown penalties he won’t be happy with.8Michael Hooper (c) – Made more than double the metres of any other forward in round one’s game and was still his side’s top tackler. Better conditions would suit him even more.9
8.Kieran Read – A very quiet, somewhat disappointing outing in Sydney. Will be desperate to be more influential this time.8.5Wycliff Palu – Like Read, he was unable to get much momentum going forward. A key source of go forward ball when at his best.7.5
9.Aaron Smith – Made more metres than anyone else last week with a couple of sniping breaks. No real weakness to his game.8.5Nic White – Could argue he’s lucky to keep his shirt. A couple of loose box kicks allowed the All Blacks too much time to counterattack.7
10.Aaron Cruden – Kicked at goal well enough although missed a relative sitter that would have won the game. Coped manfully with horrible conditions for a fly-half.8Kurtley Beale – Handled the responsibilities of fly-half well enough, but would definitely be more of a weapon if he didn’t have those worries.8
11.Julien Savea – Not conditions the big man enjoyed last week. Better weather will see him get into the game more.8.5Rob Horne – Made a few half-breaks in round one, but nothing too much to write home about. Never going to worry defences as his opposite number does.7
12.Ryan Crotty – Gets his first start after a good season with the Crusaders. Won’t threaten the Aussies as Nonu can, but won’t fall apart in defence, either.7Matt Toomua – Some strong carries last week outlined his potential. Took the pressure of first receiver off Beale when necessary, and is a very handy second playmaker.8
13.Conrad Smith – Snake-hips returns to form a solid centre partnership with Crotty, but be wary of that outside break – the name’s there for a reason.8.5Adam Ashley-Cooper – Had a very quiet game last week compared with his heroics in the Super Rugby final. Will be hopeful of more ball and better conditions tomorrow.8
14.Cory Jane – Did almost literally nothing in round one. On the occasion of his 50th cap, there needs to be a lot more if Dagg is to be kept at bay.7Pat McCabe – Similar to Jane, McCabe was kept out of the game last week. A functional winger.6.5
15.Ben Smith – Will be itching to play in conditions that better suit his counterattacking. Last week showcased that he can be solid; this week it’s time for brilliance.9Israel Folau – There were glimpses of what he can do in round one, and like Smith better conditions will be more conducive to his attacking talents. We all want to see this head-to-head heat up.9


Will there be a better chance than last week for the Australians to beat New Zealand? Arguably not. They dominated territory and possession in Sydney, and yet that intangible All Blacks doggedness saw them grab a draw in a pretty dour affair that was ruined by the conditions.

This weekend, the forecast is for it to be dry which should mean we get to see some of these runners, who can be so dangerous, actually stretch their legs, rather than just trying to kick the leather off the ball. It will hopefully be up there with the best Bledisloe games from the past few years, and there have been some corkers.

The game being played at Eden Park shifts the pendulum towards New Zealand, for sure. They were far from their best last week but as England found out in June, they don’t usually back up one poor performance with another. Last week was Australia’s chance to win and they blew it – this week the All Blacks will be too good. New Zealand by 5.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

Photo by: Patrick Khachfe / Onside Images

2 thoughts on “Rugby Championship 2014: New Zealand v Australia head to head ratings

  1. As said before, retro wisdom is a wunnerful thing, but Jamie, by 5? C’mon, @ home & not expecting an AB backlash?

    Yr NZ ratings seem ok, altho you underrate Crotty & Jane. The former dun pretty good today, with not only his ‘D’, but offloading & e.g. switching the ball pronto from r to l hand when making a break & (unlike the slow witted Israel) thus also effecting a fend. Jane is a ‘footballer’. Why else do the selectors pick him, keeping Dagg out & pushing Ben Smith to fb? Besides he’s been out for a yr with injury. Also not so sure that Crockett is quite as bad as you state.

    Regds Oz; again ok, altho McCabe is hard to rate with so little ball & maybe Charles better than you say? Other reps are more positive. Same for Simmons bit harsh.

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