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All Blacks Player Ratings vs Ireland (Mid-Year Test 3, 2022) - Foster to go?

Written by Max Sharp.

I've been a fan of my national rugby team for 11 years and the current squad easily has the talent to be on par with previous great All Blacks sides, but it isn't happening right now. Every player who ran out to Sky Stadium, Wellington, did their best possible work to make a comeback against Ireland but this failed. There were many poor player performances, but it was good to see a never-say-die attitude.

After a 19-point halftime deficit of 3-22, the All Blacks' attempt to recover was to no avail, as Andy Farrell out-coached Ian Foster, so that Ireland could write their series win into the history books. With Foster's coaching deficiencies damaging the team, we'll read through the jerseys from 1 to 23 and see who was most affected by the differences in game plans.

The All Blacks perform the haka at Sky Stadium, Wellington. Photo: Max Sharp.

All Blacks Player Ratings

Loosehead Prop - George Bower (5/10)

Little ball given despite a 56% possession rate, so wasn't allowed to shine on attack. We also saw Bower dominated for ruck speed; his support was badly needed at times. Though Bower made 8 tackles, he was on the pitch for the only lost scrum.

Hooker - Codie Taylor (2/10)

Having named him in my 2021 World XV, Taylor has since had a rapid fall from grace and there isn't anything good to say about this performance. All 4/16 of the All Blacks' lineouts that didn't go well is down to Taylor's throwing, while 1 tackle is unacceptable.

Tighthead Prop - Nepo Laulala (2/10)

Yet to return to form in his first game back from a neck injury. Confined to just 5 metres off 7 carries, Laulala's 3 missed tackles from 14 attempts weren't good to see either. Smashed up front at the scrum, while giving slow ruck speed. Not the 75 minutes the 31-year-old needed.

Lock 4 - Brodie Retallick (5/10)

With 25 metres off 6 carries, Retallick found some space but made 4 unnecessary passes. Dominated in tight spaces, though 7/8 tackles was solid. Off after 50 minutes due to a broken cheek bone, the result of head-on-head contact with Andrew Porter. Get well soon.

Lock 5 - Sam Whitelock (4/10)

Won a brilliant turnover in the lead-up to Ioane's try and was the only starter of the tight-five not to miss a tackle. Poor running, just 8 metres from 6 carries, though Whitelock did beat 2 defenders. Followed an odd game plan by making 7 passes. Below-average performance.

Blindside Flanker - Akira Ioane (8/10)

One of just three starting forwards to give the All Blacks any front-foot ball. Outstanding attack, 73 metres, 6 defenders beaten and 1 clean break off 13 carries, whilst scoring an admirable try. Second-most tackles of the team, with 11, would have helped if Ioane competed in rucks more though. Start him against South Africa.

Could Sam Cane (right) be axed as captain by Ian Foster? Photo: Max Sharp.

Openside Flanker - Sam Cane (5/10)

Apologised to fans after the match and his apology is accepted, Cane didn't pick himself as captain. Ran 17 metres and beat 1 defender from 6 carries, wasted opportunities to go further though. Made 13 tackles, most of the team, but was found in almost all breakdowns, winning just 1 turnover. Off after 63 minutes, not ideal.

Number 8 - Ardie Savea (10/10)

Outstanding and never gave up, sparking the comeback near-singlehandedly with a try, 57 metres and 5 defenders beaten off 17 carries. Made 13 passes, nearly as many passes as the 10, while making 3 offloads, 9/9 tackles and 1 turnover. Give him the coaches he deserves.

Halfback - Aaron Smith (1/10)

Woeful for the number 9. Passed to either the third or fourth player in a flat pod of forwards at what seemed like every single phase, while executing a poor kicking game. Didn't attempt any tackles and also failed to gain any metres from his 2 carries. Given no game plan to work off by his coach.

First-Five - Beauden Barrett (1/10)

His 75 metres and 4 defenders beaten off 12 carries won't mask one of the worst performances he's ever had, those gains were out of his selfishness, not brilliance. 4 knock-ons, just 5/8 tackles (with misses on the way to Herring and Henshaw's tries), while he stood in the fullback channel, not the 10 channel, at every phase in which the All Blacks defended. Just 19 passes (when counting offloads that's just 3 more than Savea) compared to Smith's 72.

Beauden Barrett at Eden Park, Auckland, during the first test of the series. Photo: Max Sharp.

Left Wing - Sevu Reece (3/10)

Normally known for his work off-the-ball, Reece just didn't look for it this time. Confined to just 24 metres and 2 defenders beaten from 5 carries, Reece passed just once despite being given a few overlaps to take advantage of. Off after 62 minutes.

Second-Five - David Havili (5/10)

Filled in the 10 channel on defence to make some robust hits with 5/5 tackles, made two clinical 50-22 kicks too. Got the ball floating wide with 10 passes, though he perhaps went too wide sometimes. Managed 24 metres and 1 defender beaten off 6 carries. Did his best.

Centre - Rieko Ioane (4/10)

Not a good performance for Ioane in his 50th, a match that should have had him celebrating. Just 21 metres off 4 carries, 4 passes and 3/3 tackles. Though he didn't do much wrong, he didn't do enough at all.

Right Wing - Will Jordan (8/10)

A winger in the prime of their career will always take their chances and Jordan did so with ball-in-hand with a brilliant runaway try, 133 metres, 4 defenders beaten and 2 clean breaks from 12 carries, should have made more than 7 passes though; failing to use some overlaps.

Fullback - Jordie Barrett (5/10)

Better than his brother when tactically kicking but wasn't great on that front. Found it hard to use his 11 carries well, beating 4 defenders but making just 39 metres. Perhaps could have helped Smith out with running the game but just made 9 passes and 1 offload. Average game.

Reserve Hooker - Dane Coles (No rating)

Tidied the lineout up for his home crowd but made just 1 metre from 2 carries and 1 tackle in 18 minutes so won't be rated.

Reserve Loosehead Prop - Karl Tu'inukuafe (6/10)

In perhaps his final test for the All Blacks, Tu'inukuafe played just 9 minutes, but showed admirable courage to make 3 tackles and 1 turnover. Should have been given more of a go, disrespectful from the coaches to bring him on so late on what should be a special occasion.

Karl Tu'inukuafe in jersey 17, at Eden Park, has signed for Montpellier, France, for their 2022-23 season, so will leave New Zealand. Photo: Max Sharp.

Reserve Tighthead Prop - Ofa Tu'ungafasi (No rating)

Came on for Laulala at half-time, but failed an HIA after playing for just 5 minutes.

Reserve Lock - Tupou Vaa'i (6/10)

The 22-year-old rose to the occasion with energy off the bench, going himself for 15 metres and 2 defenders beaten off 4 carries, while being an effective lineout option. With Retallick and also perhaps Scott Barrett staring down the barrel of sideline stints, this is Vaa'i's chance.

Reserve Loose Forward - Dalton Papali'i (No rating)

Replaced Cane at openside but didn't have enough involvement to be rated.

Reserve Halfback - Folau Fakatava (6/10)

On in the 62nd minute, the number 21 came on by the point in which the game was lost. Still sniped a few times for 8 metres off 5 carries, showing he'd have made a difference had he come on earlier. Made 28 passes.

Reserve First-Five - Richie Mo'unga (6/10)

The anti-Mo'unga brigade's theory that he can't tackle was disproven yet again as his first action of the match was a try-saving tackle on Bundee Aki, who is 19kg heavier. Made 6 passes and 4 metres off 3 carries, but didn't play long enough to make a difference.

Reserve Midfielder - Roger Tuivasa-Sheck (No rating)

Given limited opportunities on his test debut, but he deserves to be proud of himself now that he's represented the country in two sports.

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