RWC 2011: New Zealand Player Ratings v France

New Zealand:

15. Israel Dagg 7
If points were awarded for mid-air splits, Israel Dagg would get a 10! The pace of the game did reach that where Dagg could really shine, but a good showing nonetheless.

14. Cory Jane 7
Not as impressive in the air this week, but this was not the game for it. Defensively he was sound, but was unable to break through the French line with the ingenuity we saw last week.

13. Conrad Smith 6
Like Dagg and Jane, this was not the kind of game where Conrad Smith could really shine. That said he kept his head down and got stuck in with his defensive play.

12. Ma’a Nonu 7
Definitely made the best start amongst the backs, committed to the tackles and relentless. Strong in defence but gained little by way of attack.

11. Richard Kahui 7
Tried to be threatening with the ball in hand, and he managed to make several good, if fruitless runs. Like the rest of his colleagues in the back, he was excellent in defence.

10. Aaron Cruden 6
The curse of the All Black fly half has struck again. Took some big hits in the time he was on the pitch, but a quietly confident performance until his 34th minute substitution.

9. Piri Weepu 6
Not the best kicking record this week from Piri Weepu, however the rest of his game was solid and he made a great tap tackle that arguably prevented Francois Trinh Duc from scoring a try.

1. Tony Woodcock 8
The hero of New Zealand scored a try from the lineout that I do not think he expected to be that easy, but he caught the French napping and took the chance.

2. Kevin Mealamu 7
In a game that was more about the forwards than the backs, Mealamu was solid and attacked with ferocity.

3. Owen Franks 7
A real force in the All Black front row, and no doubt has a great international career ahead of him. Dominant and physical, you could see that he was really enjoying these encounters.

4. Brad Thorn 8
Has ended his international career on a high; a strong performance from Brad Thorn both defensively against wave after wave of French attack. A key part of the lineout and committed at the breakdown and with the ball in hand.

5. Sam Whitelock 7
Another key player in the lineout, he managed to snaffle a few of the French ones too.

6. Jerome Kaino 7
Got hold of the ball and was surrounded by French players. Struggled to make the big impact he could have, on the game because of this. But was doggedly determined throughout, and another player who was sound in defence.

7. Richie McCaw 8
Once again led from the front, and the evidence of his commitment was surely displayed in how heavily he was limping at the end of the game. Relentless play from the captain across the 80minutes. It was, also, his knee that had Morgan Parra seeing stars.

8. Kieran Read 8
Became the force for driving forwards; made several impressive attacks on the French line with ball in hand. Made tackle after tackle, and was strong in the set piece.

Replacements:

Andrew Hore continued the dominance of the forwards, Ali Williams was penalised for collapsing a couple of mauls. That aside, he worked hard to help bring his team home. Andy Ellis seemed to revive a slightly flagging All Black side when he came on. He played, and kicked, well. Stephen Donald took over kicking duties from Weepu, and successfully landed the penalty to give New Zealand those all-important 3 points. Sonny Bill Williams lasted longer than last week, but still no time to impact upon the game.

by Christine Lester

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