Home Rugby New Zealand v Argentina: Player Ratings From An Intriguing Rugby Championship Clash

New Zealand v Argentina: Player Ratings From An Intriguing Rugby Championship Clash

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Ryan Crotty of New Zealand is mobbed by Malakai Fekitoa and teammates after scoring a try during the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Argentina matched and even bettered the All Blacks for about half of their Rugby Championship fixture in Hamilton.

Unfortunately, in the last 30 minutes, the Pumas were swamped by an All Black tidal wave and finished thirty five points behind by the full-time whistle, 57 – 22. The match was also notable for the sight of Julian ‘The Bus’ Savea going through his gears to full pace and confidence.

So how did the players rate? First up, New Zealand…

New Zealand

15. Ben Smith

Ben Smith was Ben Smith. Immaculate defence and timing under the high ball, seering insertions into the backline and has recaptured his white line fever, scoring two tries including a spectacular, weaving 40-metre effort during which Sky commentator Tony Johnson described his opposite, Joaquin Tuculet, as being ‘turned into a pretzel’. Seemed to want to send a message to Steve Hansen that there will be no more swapsies at full back with Israel Dagg. Rating: 9

14. Israel Dagg

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Israel Dagg and Kieran Read of New Zealand share a laugh after winning the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

The play didn’t really run his way and, for once, he seemed a little at sea out on the wing. Was given a couple of openings that he didn’t finish himself but was able to keep the play moving using various parts of his body. Rating: 6

13. Malakai Fekitoa

Still to deliver a completely convincing performance at centre but was solid in defence and made useful metres, if not breaks with the ball. Has a fight on his hands to keep his starting jersey next season for the Lions. Rating: 6

12. Ryan Crotty

A similar test match to Beauden Barrett: largely quiet but then an explosion of form in the second half as he ran two beautiful lines to score a brace of tries. Has the poise his midfield partner is lacking and has cemented his place as the premier second five-eighth this year. Rating: 7

11. Julian Savea

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Julian Savea of the All Blacks is tackled during the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Savea broke John Kirwan’s All Black record and equalled David Campese’s world record for tries against Argentina when he finished off an impressively executed set play in the first half. Menaced the Argentinian defence particularly in the first half and it seems the dark mental clouds in Savea’s life have cleared. Highest metres gained out of both sides (116). Watch out world – the Bus is back. Rating: 8.5

_____

10. Beauden Barrett

Does Barrett have a secret remote control to direct the bounce of the ball? Another suspiciously brilliant try off a Ben Smith grubber (a la World Cup final) in a fifteen minute period when the All Blacks, lead by Barrett’s in-the-zone play, blew the Pumas off the the park. A few penalty misses again. Rating: 8

9. Aaron Smith

Warren Gatland called him the best player in the world but this performance didn’t really reflect that compliment. Snappy passing as usual but got harried by the Argentinians around the rucks and was unable to steer the ship as smoothly as usual. Rating: 6

_____

8. Kieran Read

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Kieran Read of New Zealand looks to catch the ball with Beauden Barrett in support during the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

A couple of whoopsies on the ball and a largely defensive game looking after the not unsubstantial threat of his opposite Facundo Isa. A crucial defensive intercept saved a try in the second half. Rating: 6.5

7. Sam Cane

Hit the breakdowns hard in the first half securing two important penalties to halt the Pumas’ momentum. Subbed early in the second half with a serious looking leg injury. Rating: 6.5

6. Jerome Kaino

Should receive many more plaudits and was a huge presence in this game. Crunching tackles, metre-eating runs (44 metres, 10 carries) and some useful lineout catches. Rating: 8

_____

5. Sam Whitelock

Good involvement throughout the game. Is running with more purpose than previous seasons and, with Kaino, is a crucial part of the defensive wall. Rating: 7

4. Brodie Retallick

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Brodie Retallick of the All Blacks looks for a gap during the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

A strong game particularly in the first half when he was centimetres from a try on his home ground. His link play in the tight is exceptional, and does a passable impression of a 200cm half back. Rating: 7

_____

3. Owen Franks

No wandering fingers in this game and, like Savea, also tied a world record: the highest number of tests (83) without scoring a try. Will likely not be buying a congratulatory beer for his replacement Charlie Faumuina who flopped over for a try in the second half. Rating: 6

2. Dane Coles

A similar game to Aaron Smith in that he was unable to have his usual world class impact on the game. Missed a tackle in Argentina’s first try and had a couple of uncharacteristically wayward line out throws before being hooked by the coach early in the second half. Rating: 5

1. Joe Moody

Didn’t touch the ball for the forty minutes he was on. Solid in the scrum – not much else to say, really. Rating: 4

Argentina

15. Joaquin Tuculet

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Joaquin Tuculet of Argentina makes a run during the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Some very good link play in the first half but seemed a little overwhelmed defensively in the second half. Rating: 6

14. Matias Moroni

One very memorable never-say-tackled run and also managed to make a turnover in the second half. Looks to have promise as a smart and powerful player. Rating: 6.5

13. Matias Orlando

Tackled his heart out all game and featured strongly in the Pumas’ attacking around and through the fringes in the first half. Rating: 7

12. Juan Martin Hernandez

A classy, astute but very fragile player who was subbed after suffering another injury in the first half. Rating: N/A

11. Santiago Cordero

Scored a scintillating try in the first ten minutes and was a buzzing menace around the rucks and breakdowns all night. For all his talent, he still seems underused by the Pumas. Rating: 7

_____

10. Nicolas Sanchez

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Nicolas Sanchez of Argentina makes a pass against Sam Whitelock of New Zealand during the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Almost exemplary kicking in a 17-point haul and directed the Puma attacking forces well in the first half by keeping the ball in hand. Seemed to only feature with the kicking tee in the second half as his opposite (Barrett) began to control the game. Rating: 6.5

9. Martin Landajo

Had a great tussle with Aaron Smith and looked dangerous sniping around the breakdowns. Strong defensively but got outpaced when TJ Perenara entered the fray and switched on his running game. Rating: 6.5

_____

8. Facundo Isa

Had obviously been identified as the chief threat by the All Blacks but still managed to shine with 13 carries and a combative game, where he stood up to the physical dominance of Read and Kaino and came out an equal. Rating: 8

7. Javier Ortega Desio

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Javier Ortega Desio of Argentina is tackled by Kieran Read and Wyatt Crockett of New Zealand during the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Strong work at the breakdown securing a couple of turnovers and some hard running without the power of Isa. Rating: 6

6. Pablo Matera

Featured strongly in the first half, causing the All Blacks problems around the breakdown area. Good offloading throughout the game. Rating: 7

_____

5. Matias Alemanno

Part of a typically powerful Puma scrum, and was also secure in the Puma lineouts. Rating: 6

4. Guido Petti Pagadizaval

Skilful lock who showcased some nice offloads and line out work during the game. Rating: 6.5

_____

3. Ramiro Herrara

Didn’t take a backward step in the scrum and part of a strong defensive effort – until the 60-minute mark that is. Rating: 6

2. Agustin Creevy

HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND - SEPTEMBER 10: Agustin Creevy of Argentina reacts during the Rugby Championship match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Argentina at Waikato Stadium on September 10, 2016 in Hamilton, New Zealand. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Inspirational effort by the captain, making the most carries out of both teams during the game. Made excellent metres and actually outshone his counterpart Coles in the game. Rating: 8

1. Nahuel Tetaz  Chaparro

A very impressive game, strongly involved making 13 carries, strong tackles and solid scrummaging. Rating: 7

Kaal Kaczmarek, Pundit Arena

Recommended Read: Talent Playing Under The Radar: An Underrated XV Selection

About The PA Team

This article was written by a member of The PA Team. If you would like to join the team, drop us an email at write@punditarena.com.