All Blacks v Argentina player ratings: Big boys, Will Jordan punish Pumas

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OPINION: The All Blacks have bounced back from their shock defeat to Argentina a fortnight ago, with a crushing 38-0 win in Newcastle.

It all but ensures that the men in black will claim the Tri-Nations title, and also sends them into their summer break in much better spirits.

Here are Stuff’s All Blacks player ratings from New Zealand’s final test of 2020.

Beauden Barrett: Rounds out 2020 with another game where he was hardly a factor. Some nice early kicking variation from the off and saved the day just before halftime on a Pumas breakout. But wasn’t sighted much beyond that and must be left wondering if fullback is really his go as he heads to Japanese club Suntory. 5

Jordie Barrett: Only player alongside Cane to have started every test of the year. Couldn’t reel in Beauden’s wide kick for an early try. Missed lone long-range shot at goal. Got a little more involved later on. 6

Anton Lienert-Brown: Another quiet outing until early second-half break for near-try. Subbed after 53 minutes. 5

Jack Goodhue: Showed some of his lovely wide distribution, had a couple of knock ons in the space of a minute in second half, then ran at the line a bit more. 6

Caleb Clarke had a few ups and downs at McDonald Jones Stadium.

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Caleb Clarke had a few ups and downs at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Caleb Clarke: Lots of involvement, with powerful carries, but several frustrating moments. Misjudged restart with ball landing over his head, bouncing into touch. Couldn’t finish golden chance after going over sideline. Smashed Scott Barrett’s face in collecting second-half kickoff. Knocked on at the line early in second half. Off with 15 minutes to play. 6

Richie Mo’unga: Much more trickery off the boot compared to a fortnight back, which kept the defence guessing, though several of the offensive bombs/wide kicks didn’t work out. Nice long ball for Coles to score opening try. Sensational linebreak to set up Clarke for should-be try. Kicked 6/7 off the tee – couple of excellent conversions but missed easy shot just before halftime. 7

Aaron Smith: Tidy and crisp from the base without threatening to take on the line himself, or doing much boot work. Subbed at three-quarter mark. 5

Ardie Savea scored a fine try early in the second half.

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Ardie Savea scored a fine try early in the second half.

Ardie Savea: Came to life in the second half, beating a game-high seven defenders. Set up near-try soon after the break, before charging over in style not long later from nice lineout move. Chip kick from scrum base and fine follow-up tackle completed the skillset on show. 8

Sam Cane: Finished with blood streaming down face after one final big test of a sapping campaign. Some hard early carries without busting through, but provided nice link work on many attacks. Typically good ruck turnover penalty win near three-quarter mark. 6

Akira Ioane: Big opportunity after debut was cut short. And delivered. Big presence at the lineout, including a steal, charged powerfully, key play with ripped ball off Isa near own line early in second stanza. Led team tackle count with seven before making way with quarter of an hour left. Has surely leapt ahead of Shannon Frizell in the blindside pecking order. 8

Sam Whitelock: Tidy lineout work then a few good carries in the second half, without too many other sightings. Substituted after 62 minutes. 5

Scott Barrett: Back after missing selection for last Pumas clash and provided physical presence. Lucky to escape uinjured after copping blow to the face from Clarke on receipt of second half kickoff. Perfect timing with lineout win and pop pass for Savea try. Bumped a few off. 7

Nepo Laulala was outstanding for the All Blacks in their bounce-back win over Argentina in Newcastle.

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Nepo Laulala was outstanding for the All Blacks in their bounce-back win over Argentina in Newcastle.

Nepo Laulala: First start of the year and was an absolute menacing force in a hugely powerful scrum. Also made several strong charges with ball in hand. Made way after 56 minutes. 8

Dane Coles: Set the tone with good early defensive pressure, then nice finish on right wing to score game’s opening try, which moves him off level terms with Sean Fitzpatrick and Keven Mealamu to now be New Zealand’s highest test-tryscoring hooker, with 13. Hit lineout targets well, and revved that scrum. Off with a quarter to play. 7

Joe Moody: Best of a bad bunch on return from concussion in last game, now backed it up in marking 50th test by being part of a superb scrummaging display. Subbed with 24 minutes left. 7

RESERVES

Codie Taylor: On for final quarter, missed an early tackle then had penalty overturned for pushing after whistle. 3

Karl Tu’inukuafe: On with 24 minutes left, straight into it with a powerful tackle and even went close to the tryline. 5

Tyrel Lomax: On with double-prop change and had a couple of good carries, but yellow-carded after the siren, luckily escaping red after direct contact to head. 3

Patrick Tuipulotu: Dropped back to the bench for this one. Injected with 18 minutes left and surged 20 metres for a great try to end the contest. 6

Hoskins Sotutu: On with 15 minutes left and upped the ante. 5

TJ Perenara: Back in place of Brad Weber and played the final quarter, signing off ahead of short-term Japan move. 5

Rieko Ioane: On at centre with 27 minutes to play. Flew up on defence then enough speed to get back and cover, then gave the nice ball for Tuipulotu to score. 6

Will Jordan: Wow. Talk about 15 minutes of fame. Come 65 minutes the ABs were still searching for two more tries for a bonus point and enter this man on the right wing, who only got a few minutes on debut against the Wallabies in Brisbane due to concussion. Scored a maiden try soon after taking the park, after swooping on a loose pass to run 50 metres, then two minutes later got an intercept and sped 60m for a second. Could a starting berth loom in 2021? 9



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