Although Uruguay have improved massively since their upset win over Fiji in 2019, there is still work for them to do. Although they gave a valiant first 20 minutes, the All Blacks are brilliant at capitalising off opposition errors thanks to the awe of their natural talent. With some haters predicting a loss to Italy, now silenced, the All Blacks can breathe a sigh of relief as they backed up their demolition of Italy, with a well-earned victory here, with the final score reaching 73-0.
There are still some questions to be asked with this Player Ratings article though; particularly related to injury and combination-building. Before we look ahead to the NPC knockout stages and World Cup knockout stages, let's read through each player from jersey number 1 through to 23, to see how everyone went against Uruguay!
All Blacks Player Ratings
Damian McKenzie (pictured in Napier) was awarded Man of the Match, scoring 14 points in a solid outing. Photo: Max Sharp.
Loosehead Prop - Ofa Tu'ungafasi (7/10)
Although he was initially subbed off in the 46th minute, Tu'ungafasi came back on at tighthead prop after injuries to Lomax and Newell. Had a good outing with 4/4 tackles and a stable scrum, while running 8 metres off 5 carries. If Tu'ungafasi's pass to Mo'unga wasn't knocked on, it would have been a great try!
Hooker - Codie Taylor (8/10)
If your hooker is quiet, there's a good chance they're playing well! With the All Blacks achieving 100% for the lineout in the match, Taylor also ran 24 metres and beat 1 defender with his 5 carries, producing the best defensive performance of the day with 7/7 tackles and 2 turnovers won.
Tighthead Prop - Tyrel Lomax (No rating)
Anyone with a heart will truly be feeling for Lomax right now. With a heavily strapped knee, Lomax only made 4/4 tackles before departing in the 9th minute due to injury. I'm unsure if the cut on his thigh is related to why Lomax came off, but hopefully he can recover.
Lock 4 - Sam Whitelock (6/10)
A 64% possession rate allowed for the backline to run rampant, confining Whitelock to 5 metres off 3 carries, 1 pass, 7/8 tackles, 1 turnover and his set-piece work. He's got no need to prove anything though. Becoming just the second player in history to reach 150 tests, Whitelock's standing ovation was more deserved than any other we'll see in the pool stage.
Lock 5 - Tupou Vaa'i (8/10)
After being rushed into the 6 jersey against France, this will have been great for rebuilding Vaa'i's confidence. With the flood gates open, he put on a full 80 worth 36 metres, 2 defenders beaten, 13 carries, 6 passes and 6/9 tackles. Will he feature in the quarter-final?
Blindside Flanker - Shannon Frizell (7/10)
Similarly to Whitelock, Frizell got deprived of the open space given to other players, but still looked powerful in 16 metres run from 5 carries. Performed strongly as a distributor, with 5 passes and 1 offload. Preserved for the quarters, subbed off in the 54th minute after 6/6 tackles.
Openside Flanker - Sam Cane (7/10)
Most of his 8 carries were tight, though a few gaps did open for Cane to eventually run 23 metres. As expected, he was the team's most prolific tackler; nailing 9 without a miss. Although Cane made 1 turnover and 6 passes, was he quick enough to clean rucks?
Number 8 - Luke Jacobson (4/10)
While it's tempting to let the stats deceive you, Jacobson will be unlikely to feature in the quarter-final due to some cohesion issues with the other players in the spine. Taking advantage of his 10 carries for 43 metres, 1 defender beaten and 1 clean break; should Jacobson's pass total have added up to 12 (including 2 offloads)?
Halfback - Cam Roigard (9/10)
This bloke and Folau Fakatava, will combine to be the best 1-2 halfback punch in history. Although making just 17 metres, Roigard didn't shy away from beating 8 defenders, while he broke the line en route to his try. Interestingly, he was also 2nd on the tackle count behind Cane, with 8 in total. Give him jersey 21 next week.
First Five - Richie Mo'unga (5/10)
A bit of an average game, but he'll bounce back. Mo'unga was perhaps flustered by the inconsistent ball he received between Jacobson and Roigard? As a class player with ball-in-hand, he ran 37 metres and 1 clean break to go alongside 1 try and 5/7 conversions. Mo'unga will be unhappy with 1/4 tackles, but pleased with his own distribution.
Left Wing - Leicester Fainga'anuku (8/10)
When the ball reached Lienert-Brown, Fainga'anuku was almost always on the run right after. Managing a hat-trick, 184 metres, 9 defenders beaten, 3 clean breaks and 20 carries will please those who picked him for the Fantasy League, but did he do enough off the ball?
Second Five - Jordie Barrett (7/10)
Continuing his comeback with a 53-minute stint, Barrett had an easy choice with his 13 passes, to enable the massive amount of space out wide. Made a few crash-ball plays of his own after scrums, to get 14 metres off 8 carries. With David Havili unfortunately injured again, Barrett will feature next week for sure.
Centre - Anton Lienert-Brown (10/10)
As much as some will say this is just Uruguay, Lienert-Brown had his best game in black for a long time. Showing proper aggression on attack, he totalled 78 metres, 2 defenders beaten and 2 clean breaks off just 8 carries; with all 12 of his passes and 2 of his offloads being pearlers. A genuinely perfect game, finished off with 7/7 tackles and 1 turnover after shifting to 12 in the second-half.
Right Wing - Will Jordan (8/10)
Definitely botched a potential try in the first half, but did well aside from that the missed tackles amongst his 6/8 total. Scored a double, ran 116 metres, beat 3 defenders and made 4 clean breaks off 11 carries. Glad to have captained him on the league!
Fullback - Damian McKenzie (10/10)
Not forced to defend from 15 at all, McKenzie did exactly what he was selected to do, make a highlight reel. Said highlight reel includes 105 metres, 4 defenders beaten, 1 clean break, 14 carries, 25 passes and 1 offload. With 2 tries and 2 conversions, McKenzie is now the World Cup's leading points-scorer with 53; having scored 5 tries in total as well.
Reserve Hooker - Samisoni Taukei'aho (7/10)
On for Taylor in the 46th minute, before getting seen on the wing as a single-man pod a few times. His 14 metres, 4 defenders beaten, 9 carries and 4/5 tackles included some bone-rattling hits that are sure to be giving Uruguay some nightmares!
Reserve Loosehead Prop - Tamaiti Williams (7/10)
Although he played fewer minutes than his Crusaders propping counterpart, Williams will be stoked to have scored his first test try on the same day as Newell. Got to run 12 metres and beat 1 defender off his 4 carries too, while holding up the scrum as asked to do.
Reserve Tighthead Prop - Fletcher Newell (8/10)
Although he came off in the 74th minute, Newell will be glad to have played 65 minutes' worth of test rugby. He's got a stat sheet to prove the possession rate too; scoring his first test try, running 12 metres and beating 2 defenders off 6 carries, while having to make just 2/2 tackles.
Reserve Lock - Scott Barrett (No rating)
Barrett played just 17 minutes, so didn't have the defensive opportunities to be rated. Will have a bigger role next week.
Reserve Loose Forward - Ethan Blackadder (6/10)
On for Frizell with 26 minutes to go, Blackadder ran 15 metres off 3 carries, made 1 offload and 2/2 tackles. Though he wasn't necessarily up to speed with the rest of the team, Blackadder will have produced a neat story of overcoming adversity.
Reserve Halfback - Finlay Christie (No rating)
Similarly to Scott Barrett, Christie didn't receive many opportunities outside of his core roles to get a rating.
Reserve Utility Back - Beauden Barrett (6/10)
Potentially his last test match with the jersey number that he made famous in 2015. Playing 17 minutes, Barrett didn't get too many opportunities, but ran 37 metres, beat 1 defender and made 1 clean break off his only carry, though his kick went dead. Made a few passes too.
Reserve Outside Back - Caleb Clarke (5/10)
Came on for Jordie Barrett and played on the left wing, with Lienert-Brown moving to 12 and Fainga'anuku moving to 13. Will be unlikely to play in the quarter-finals after not really getting too much space out wide, running 29 metres off 5 carries and stuck cleaning rucks near the touch line.