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All Blacks player ratings from the 30-15 first Test win over the Lions

24 June 2017 11:20 AM
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All Blacks player ratings from the 30-15 first Test win over the Lions

THE black juggernaut rolls on and the Eden Park fortress is maintained.

The All Blacks vice-captain was starting to make amends before he left the field for a head injury assessment and didn’t return.

It is a real worry for Smith who has battled concussion issues throughout this season.

Israel Dagg is the most likely man to play fullback in Wellington if Smith is no good but Jordie Barrett is another option on his home track.

“We’ll go through all the protocols and we’ll see how he is,” All Blacks coach Steve Hansen said of Smith.

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He is so assured in everything he does and caused Elliot Daly problems when he chopped inside off his right foot.

The Crusaders stalwart had only just returned from a rib injury and Hansen said promising club teammate Jack Goodhue would stay with the All Blacks as cover.

“We will try to get Ryan ready maybe for the last Test if we’re lucky.”

The offloads were largely put on hold as Williams focused on battering the Lions into submission and getting his side on the front foot.

Fifteen runs for 116 metres and two tackle busts tell the story and his brutal match-up with old league chum Ben Te’o was compelling.

Ioane was scoring two tries against the Lions in his first Test start, rewarding Hansen and the selectors for their hunch in surprisingly picking him ahead of try-machine Julian Savea.

Also read: Record win not good enough, say All Blacks

He didn’t have a huge amount of involvement as he hugged the touchline but as Hansen noted not many players have the gas required to score Ioane’s second try.

The All Blacks didn’t miss a beat when Barrett switched to fullback in place of Smith and his one handed scoop pick up while running at full tilt was a thing of beauty.

Kicked his night off with a crucial ankle tap and delivered his usual snappy service.

He also showed Murray he’s not the only halfback capable of landing accurate box kicks.

A phenomenal captain’s knock considering he hadn’t played any rugby in six weeks.

Read leads the All Blacks’ lineout and has Richie McCaw’s knack of never playing a bad game — even with such limited preparation.

Also read: All Blacks pulverise Springboks

Despite losing Smith and Crotty to early injuries and the Lions playing well, the All Blacks never really looked rattled and that is a testament to Read’s calm and composed leadership.

Lovely touch from the ruins of the Lions scrum led to Ioane’s first try.

A tackling machine, Cane got through a mountain of work at Eden Park while also chalking up 62 metres from 14 runs.

Loves the tight exchanges and his hulking frame and aggression made his an influential figure before making way for Savea.

Rolled up his sleeves in the tight exchanges and is nearly always accurate with his clean-out work which helped pave the way for this win.

Does all the dirty work then sprinkles his pass-catching skills on top.

That was in contrast to George Kruis and Alun Wyn Jones who both made deflating handling errors.

The Lions fancied themselves at set-piece but they met stiff resistance from Franks and his mates.

Loves contact and being cleaned out by the tight-head would not be a pleasant experience.

Taylor’s skill in picking Dagg’s dodgy pass off his toes to score the first try was straight out of the Dane Coles playbook.

The all-Crusaders front-row would have been stinging after getting a bit of a touch up in the tour game but stood up when it really counted.

But Crockett and Faumuina made a huge statement when they entered the fray together early in the second half.

The Lions scrum was demolished, Ioane scored and the touring fans muttered dark thoughts into their beers.

Has put on enough weight to handle the rigours of Test rugby and his leg drive is phenomenal.

Didn’t overplay his hand but grew into the game with some nice passing combinations and option taking.

Will the All Blacks consider retaining him at 10 and Barrett at 15 if Smith is sidelined in Wellington.

Lienert-Brown is a seriously classy young player and probably should have started ahead of Crotty anyway.

Also read: All Blacks name squad for Argentina and South Africa Rugby Championship Tests

Source: foxsports.com.au

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