15. Mils Muliaina 7
Received a standing ovation from the supporters at Eden Park as he ran out onto the pitch. Whilst not the most stand out performance from the full back, it was a brilliant effort; speed, skill and experience all combined. Replaced at half time, thanks to a shoulder injury.
14. Cory Jane 6
A game characterised by some excellent runs, unfortunately little came of them in terms of points.
13. Conrad Smith 7
Did superbly well to ground the ball after Colin Slade fumbled it early on, and this set the tone for the rest of his game: solid, unfussy but strong.
12. Ma’a Nonu 7
A veritable force on the field throughout the game, making huge strides forward with the ball in hand, and was brutal in defence.
11. Sonny Bill Williams 7
Looked to be a touch uncomfortable out on the wing, he failed to get a good grip on Julio Cabello, in the seconds preceding Argentina’s try. This was still a very strong performance from Williams, however I think he would have had the edge in his customary centre position.
10. Colin Slade 5
Came off injured just after the half hour mark, which is perhaps worrying for New Zealand given Dan Carter’s loss as well. Not the best impact on the game; sloppy hands early on was saved only by heroic running from Conrad Smith.
9. Piri Weepu 8.5
The new hero of the All Blacks, Piri Weepu landed 7 kicks from 7, and it was his kicking that kept New Zealand in front, as they struggled to score a try. Kicks aside, Weepu’s game was one that demonstrated his experience, and he worked hard from the word go, until the moment he left the pitch.
1. Tony Woodcock 7
Faced a tougher challenge up front than many expected, however Woodcock maintained his patience, and exerted his strength in the scrum, in contact and in the loose.
2. Keven Mealamu 7
A determined performance from Mealamu; he threw himself into absolutely everything.
3. Owen Franks 7
The final part of an excellent front 3. Dominated his Argentinian counterpart in the scrum.
4. Brad Thorn 7
Not wanting to let his forward colleague take all the glory, Thorn scored the 2nd All Blacks try of the game in the 77th minute. A well-earned reward, considering he put in a strong effort in both attack and defence.
5. Sam Whitelock 6
Was a key in the All Black’s line out; Whitelock managed to steal a few of the Argentinian’s as well.
6. Jerome Kaino 7
Will no doubt be nursing several bruises after taking some bit hits during the course of the match. A necessary, if unwanted, side effect of playing such a physical game as he did.
7. Richie McCaw 7
Inspired patience and determination in his team throughout the game. Showed no signs of any metatarsal problems as he worked hard in contact and was dangerous in the loose.
8. Kieran Reid 8
Scored the first try for the All Blacks in the 67th minute, justice perhaps for his earlier attempt that was just in touch. Demonstrated his skill which has only grown with experience, and age, (it is his 37th birthday in a few days time!)
16. Andrew Hore (Keven Mealamu 65mins) It was going to be difficult to match the calibre of Mealamu’s performance, but Hore gave it his best shot.
17. John Afoa (Owen Franks 75mins) Still strong at the front, but not really enough time to set the field alight.
18. Ali Williams (Sam Whitelock 62mins) Showed why the battle between himself and Whitelock for the number 5 jersey is so fierce.
19. Victor Vito (Richie McCaw 73mins) Seven minutes was not really enough time for Vito to make an impact upon the game.
20. Jimmy Cowan (Piri Weepu 73mins) Replacing the Man of the Match was always going to be tough. Cowan put in a strong performance, in the seven minutes he played.
21. Aaron Cruden (injured Colin Slade 33mins) Stepped comfortably up to the mark for the All Blacks, his solid performance was threatening and innovative.
22. Isaia Toeava (Mils Muliaina half time) Whilst not a player of the same calibre as Muliaina, he is still an excellent full back, and his second half performance demonstrated this.