Mighty AB’s Almost Too Good For Dastardly Foreigners

So the All Blacks lost on Saturday. I debated whether to write an article savaging the management and coaching of the team, the lack of cohesion, the absence of self-belief, etcetera etcetera.

Instead I’ll leave that for the paid hacks.

So let’s have something to lift the spirits. Here’s a rating of the teams in the style of the UK’s Telegraph or Sunday Times.

How They Rated

New Zealand:

1. Tony Woodcock: Played his heart out. Dominated up front against a cowardly opponent. 8/10
2. Andrew Hore: Unluckily injured early. But showed that indomitable spirit we know and love while he was on the field. 8/10
3. Neemia Tialata: A titan in the tight stuff. Had the frogs reeling. 9/10
4. Brad Thorn: A champion, and a giant of a man with a huge heart. Was unstoppable. 10/10
5. Isaac Ross: A worthy debut from the big youngster. We’ll see plenty more of this boy. Was a lineout star. 9/10
6. Kieran Read: As ever he gave his heart and soul to the team. A brave performance, and one in which he never took a step backwards. 8/10
7. Adam Thomson: A legend in the making. Tackled his heart out and was everywhere on the field. His injury will be a cruel loss to this improving team. 8/10
8. Liam Messam: He just gets better and better. Was this the best performance by an NZ number 8 this decade? 10/10
9. Jimmy Cowan: The feisty Southlander was a revelation and his delivery was flawless. 9/10
10. Stephen Donald: So many clever little kicks that Daniel Carter will be worried about his place. Was unlucky to have some of his kicks ruled out on the full. 8/10
11. Josevata Rokocoko: Pure genius. When Joe touches the ball you expect magic. He delivered again on the big stage. 9/10
12. Ma’a Nonu: Forget the crazy hair, Ma’a’s the business. His no-nonsense “get out of my way” approach destroyed the French line again and again. Only poor refereeing denied him more glory. 9/10
13. Isaia Toeava: A talisman in the midfield. This boy’s still developing, but he has all the skills of a young Mike Catt. And the tacking prowess. 9/10
14. Cory Jane: A solid performance from Mr Reliable. He did the basics right. 7/10
15. Mils Muliaina – captain. Here is a true champion. He’ll be ruing the poor refereeing decisions and questionable French tactics that denied him a first-up win. But he showed he’s a class act. 9/10

Reserves:

16. Keven Mealamu: A stirling effort from the pocket battleship. 8/10
17. John Afoa: Got some late game-time and continued the utter domination of the French pack. 9/10
18. Bryn Evans: Got only a few minutes on debut. A future star. 7/10
19. Tanerau Latimer: Continued the AB’s utter dominance in the loose when he came on. 8/10
20. Piri Weepu: A stout-hearted performance from this little champion. He did not put a foot wrong. 8/10
21. Luke McAlister: A natural ball-player, he made an immediate impact on the game, shredding the feeble French defence again and again. Only consistent French fouling prevented him from scoring. 8/10
22. Lelia Masaga: did not play

The Contemptible Cheating French:

Who cares?

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