Wallabies vs All Blacks player ratings, analysis, highlights, Angus Bell, Carter Gordon


Ian Foster was right. The 38-7 scoreline did flatter the All Blacks, but that shouldn’t play down how good his side were.

The Wallabies had their moments, particularly in the second half, as they camped down inside the All Blacks 22m line. But Foster’s side showed their resilience and tenacity in defence, denying the Wallabies and then turning defence into attack.

The All Blacks scrambled well all evening, ensuring the Wallabies’ breaks, of which there were several, rarely stretched them.

Their effective kicking game – a fine balance between short chip kicks to win the ball back and kicking long and finding grass – was one of the key differences between the two sides.

That doesn’t mean that Eddie Jones needs to get jumpy with his selection and return to his older brigade. It just means his young halves need more time to grow, which they will.

Their maul also schooled the Wallabies, too.

As Jones said, it was an area they got little pay.

“We can’t get it going at the moment,” Jones said. “Which is disappointing because we’re putting a fair bit of work into that. We’ve just got to keep at it because it’s an important part of the game.

“Four of the six tries [the All Blacks scored] were maul or pick and go. You’ve got to be good in that area these days. And we’re not good enough.”

Here are our player ratings from the All Blacks’ 31-point win, which saw Foster’s side seal the Bledisloe Cup for a 21st straight year.

Andrew Kellaway – 6

Safe under the high ball, Kellaway brought a welcomed sense of composure to the back field. He also backed up well with his support play, running onto a Jordan Petaia offload and a Quade Cooper chip kick.

But his kicking game needs some polishing.

Mark Nawaqanitawase – 7

Fantastic opening, where the Wallabies right-winger roved well.

His hustle and bustle saw him break free in the sixth minute, bursting through Aaron Smith’s attempted tackle. The carry saw the MCG crowd rise to their feet. Moments later Rob Valetini managed to stretch out and score.

One poor pass in the 62nd minute, which found the touchline. But otherwise, Nawaqanitawase was once again a constant threat.

Mark Nawaqanitawase of the Wallabies runs with the ball during the The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images)

Mark Nawaqanitawase was one of the Wallabies’ best in the backline. (Photo by Mackenzie Sweetnam/Getty Images)

Jordan Petaia – 5

In his first match in 10 weeks, Petaia’s rust was on show. But the glimpses of his explosiveness were once again on display, too.

His ball to release Kellaway in the 22nd minute was a lovely one.

But a poor kick in either half didn’t help the Wallabies’ territory and possession battle.

Samu Kerevi – 6.5

Kerevi brought some muscle and power in the midfield and started to break the line. Twice he saw down defenders inside the opening half-hour.

He was also a settling influence. But Jones needs more from his midfielder.

Kerevi will also rue not being able to get over out wide early in the second half.

Marika Koroibete – 6

A couple of great defensive reads, shutting down the All Blacks in the 11th minute first phase from a lineout and bringing down Mark Telea in the 72nd minute too.

But his yellow card for playing the ball in an offside position was a clumsy moment.

Carter Gordon – 4.5

Looked great with ball-in-hand and had the Wallabies playing with some fine shape, but his kicking game – from general play and restarts and off the tee – was exposed.

On several occasions Gordon didn’t get the depth he wanted from his midfield bombs, while his kick restart in the 36th minute didn’t go the required 10 metres either. It meant the All Blacks were able to get back on attack and eventually post more points on the stroke of half time.

Gordon was the right selection. He should start against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

Carter Gordon of the Wallabies passes during the The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match between the Australia Wallabies and the New Zealand All Blacks at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29, 2023 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Carter Gordon struggled from the boot but was dangerous with ball-in-hand. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Tate McDermott – 5

Smoked attempting to pass following the Wallabies’ lineout win on their own line, Scott Barrett’s huge shot on the halfback set the tone for the All Blacks’ big win.

McDermott didn’t take a step back, he sniped in the seventh minute a couple of phases before Valetini scored.

While McDermott’s pace and ability to keep defences guessing was on display, his pass let him down. Twice his ball hit the deck (18th and 21st minutes) while his Harbour Bridge-style pass to Angus Bell in the 30th revealed how much works he still has in the area.

McDermott needed to hit Gordon in the 48th minute but cut him out and found Kerevi, who was held up. It was an opportunity missed on the All Blacks’ line.

Defensively, however, McDermott was outstanding.

Rob Valetini – 7.5

Powerful on both sides of the ball, this was the Valetini we’ve become accustomed to seeing throughout Super Rugby.

The No.8 scored the Wallabies’ only try and managed to win a breakdown penalty in the 16th minute.

Rob Valetini scored the Wallabies’ only try during their Bledisloe Cup defeat at the MCG. (Photo by Morgan Hancock/Getty Images)

Tom Hooper – 6

Work-rate aplenty, Hooper got stuck in and applied pressure at the breakdown despite not winning a penalty. He did, in fact, get on the ball once but was correctly not awarded the penalty by Wayne Barnes because he wasn’t trying to steal it.

Defensively, Hooper made 30 tackles. A few carries in tight, but it’s an area Hooper will want to make more of a difference going forward.

Jed Holloway – 4.5

A quiet evening on both sides of the ball.

Will Skelton – 7

Skelton freed his arms up twice in the carrying by getting effective offloads away, while he also got on the ball twice including a steal in the 10th minute.

Another step forward for the giant lock.

Will Skelton embraces Jordan Petaia after losing the The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match against the All Blacks at the MCG on July 29, 2023. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Nick Frost – 5.5

Defensively strong, Frost had an effective 50-minute display before being replaced by Richie Arnold.

Allan Alaalatoa – 4.5

Replaced after 38 minutes with a suspected Achilles injury that looks set to rule him out of the World Cup.

Before then, Alaalatoa had got through plenty of work defensively but was starting to creak at the scrum.

Dave Porecki – 6

Busy evening on the defensive side of the ball, Porecki showed some fighting physicality while his lineout throw hit the mark on every occasion.

Angus Bell – 8.5

The Wallabies’ best by a country mile.

This was a young man making a statement.

He carried the ball three times in the opening six minutes and was still making metres in the final minute of the game.

Bell almost scored in the 70th minute, running onto a good ball from Izaia Perese on the All Blacks’ 10m line before being pulled down five metres short.

Angus Bell was the Wallabies’ best during their Bledisloe defeat at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29, 2023. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

Reserves

Jordan Uelese – 5

Lineout operated better, but twice Uelese was caught short just short of the All Blacks’ tryline.

He was pinged by Barnes when Ardie Savea got on the ball in the 49th minute and then he was brought down three minutes later when the All Blacks denied the Wallabies at the rolling maul.

Defensively Uelese put his big frame to good use.

James Slipper – 4.5

Put his head down with ball-in-hand and barely put a step wrong, but the scrum faltered when Slipper was forced to move to the tight-head side. It’s an ominous sign moving forward.

Taniela Tupou – 4

A couple of great carries after half-time, but his high shot on his opposite prop meant the All Blacks were able to cash in with the extra man.

Of course the high shot came as Tupou attempted to play through a rib injury, but it was a costly moment.

Richie Arnold – 5

Good at the lineout and offered himself up more as a ball-runner.

Rob Leota – 6

Strong 32 minute cameo, as Leota carried the ball powerfully and was effective on the defensive side of the ball.

He managed to get on the ball in the final minute to win a penalty.

Quade Cooper with teammates in a huddle after losing The Rugby Championship & Bledisloe Cup match at Melbourne Cricket Ground on July 29, 2023. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Nic White – 4.5

Came on just as the Wallabies blew their final great chance to strike back. Nor was he able to change the course of the game either as the All Blacks went to town.

Quade Cooper – 5

A couple of nice touches, including a chip and chase for Kellaway in the 74th minute.

However, defensively Cooper struggled to bring the All Blacks down, as his passive nature allowed the visitors to get well over the gain line.

Izaia Perese – 5.5

A couple of fine involvements after coming on midway through the second half.

His ball to Bell was a cracker, while he also showed his punch in the carry.





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