Bledisloe I Player Ratings - Green and Gold Rugby
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Bledisloe I Player Ratings

Bledisloe I Player Ratings

Saturday night was a pretty depressing affair, but after viewing the game again my desire to get stuck right into the Wallabies has diminished somewhat. No-one really had an abject shocker, and if it weren’t for a couple of key lapses then the scoreline would have been much closer. But then again if my aunty had balls she’d be my uncle. So with that in mind here are my ratings:


Player Rating Comment
Beale 6 Struggled to get anything happening, and was well contained by the All Black defence. Did run a beautiful line to set up Digby Ioane’s try, but made a big defensive error which let the ABs through for their first try. Overall a solid effort but not his best.
O’Connor 5 Much like Beale JOC was pretty well contained by the AB defence, although he did make one linebreak during the first half and could have scored if not for a brilliant Carter covering tackle. He loses one point for his wayward kicking, which prevented the Wallabies from getting any momentum in the first half.
Ashley- Cooper 5 Once again was fairly anonymous. Fell victim to Cooper’s love of the triple cutout pass, so rarely saw the ball. Needs to take a leaf out of Digby’s book and come in looking for the ball closer to the ruck. Defence was OK and never really did anything wrong.
McCabe 5 Solid but not brilliant. When I first watched the game I thought he did absolutely nothing, but the second time I noticed he actually got through a lot of work. The stats show that: 11 tackles and 8 runs. Pretty well beaten by Nonu though.
Ioane 8 Once again he had a blinder and once again I have to give him the G&GR Wallaby player of the match. Threatened the AB line with every touch, and scored a great try. Got through a lot of defensive work as well, with a couple of bonecrunchers thrown in for good measure. In sensational form at the moment, long may it continue.
Cooper 4 He was poor, but not as poor as some have made out. Most of the work he did was fine. His passing was generally good, his kicking and option-taking was also fine. He was let down by a few key errors though: a poor up and under, an ill-advised cross kick hot on attack, THAT flick pass. Was thoroughly outclassed by Carter.
Genia 8 Put in another great performance in gold. Marshalled the forwards well and took the right option on almost every occasion. Made a couple of linebreaks and threw a beautiful inside ball to set up Ioane’s try. He wasn’t at fault for the Wallabies’ deficiencies.
McCalman 4 We needed more from him. The All Blacks won this test in the back row, and as much as McCalman got through a bit of work he lacked the physicality to get the Wallabies going forward when we most needed it. Too often caught the ball flat footed, and was caught behind the advantage line as a result. Not the wrecking ball we need at 8.
Pocock 6 Was Mr Reliable as always. Topped the tackle count and didn’t miss one. Would like to see him get his hands on the ball a little bit more, especially when we were in the AB 22 and desperately needing solid runners. Was penalised a couple of times as well. I have seen him play better.
Elsom 4 Like McCalman he didn’t make enough impact. He is still not the Rocky of old. Early in the match he was given a cutout in space by Cooper on the touchline, 15m out and with just Sivi to beat. Old Rocky would have charged straight at the line, and would have either scored or been valiantly bundled out on the line. Saturday Rocky took two steps and then ducked meekly inside to be pulverised by the covering defence. That summed up his night, along with 6 missed tackles.
Horwill 8 I was very impressed with Kev’s effort. Played hard for the full 80, and was one of our only forwards to make any headway in tight. Made a couple of key pilfers, one of which lead directly to our first try. Got through a mountain of work and is hitting form at the right time.
Simmons 4 Same story as Rocky and McCalman. Only made two runs and six tackles in his 55 minutes when we really needed more. In my opinion he lacks the physicality and confidence to compete at this level. Think he may be a year or two away from starting Wallaby material.
Alexander 6 The scrum was solid, his workrate was good. Would like to see him with the ball a bit more, but all in all it was a pretty solid game from our tighthead prop.
Moore 7 A typically industrious Squeaky Moore performance. Made ground close to the ruck and made a heap of tackles. Can’t really fault his effort, although he probably should have done more to prevent Mealamu’s try.
Kepu 7 I was pretty impressed by Sekope’s game. With ball in hand he was the closest Wallaby to a wrecking ball, and he made 30m with just 4 runs. He held up his side of the scrum well enough, and didn’t miss a tackle. I love the way he plays and hope he continues on this form against the Boks.


And the bench:


Player Rating Comment
Faingaa 5 Played 15 minutes and never really stood out.
Vickerman 6 Came on for Simmons and played a solid 25 minutes. Hit a lot of rucks, made a couple of tackles and helped out with a turnover. Didn’t make any huge plays but seems to be getting closer to the Vicks of old.
Higginbotham 7 Had 25 minutes and looked pretty good against an AB side that had turned it down a notch by the time he got on. Ran hard and strong, and did everything you want from a bench loosy. Wish he’d cut out the chip and chase though.


10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke



What do you think? Too lenient?


  • chief

    Very generous to Beale and Genia. Beale was poor always out of position and made a lot of mistakes, and simply got in the way. Quite simply he tried just too hard. . And the 8 really flatters Genia, he was the best of a obfuscated, unstructured bunch.

    • Skippy

      Quote – “…Beale was…always out of position”

      Fair enough…. how much of this was due to the Wallabies tactic of covering for Quade’s lack of committment to tackling/contact and Beale/Cooper/Ioane etc all moving around all the time.

      It’s a flawed tactic and it must make it so hard for players like Beale to settle into a position or even settle into a game if they continually have to move in and out of position. Quade’s tackling is a bigger problem then people realise and all this uncertainty and changing in positions was exploited by the Blacks on the weekend.

    • Ooaahh

      Without genias brilliant sweeping Defence the abs would have scored three more tries. He didn’t stand out in attack as much as his tackling for mine.

  • Pete

    I detect an element of trying to rain on the Higgenbotham parade in the general tone there Baabaa. I don’t see the problem with Higgers’ chip and chase, he’s never fucked it up and has directly created a try off it. Generally it puts a back three player under pressure or goes in touch close to the try line when he’s running out of space. Not a bad option really, a bit reminiscent of George Smith, only Smith screwed it up half the time.

    Otherwise, pretty much spot on with the ratings, although my impressions were McCabe and Elsom had better games than you’ve given them credit for (you’re criticising Elsom for at least trying to stay in the field of play rather than running up the touch line with defenders easily covering him and bundling him out like Beale did), I can see why they rated as low as they did, especially with Rocky’s missed tackle stats!

    • bobas

      I agree Higginbotham’s Huia Edmound’s Chip Kick has worked well every time (thus far), he was unlucky not to get a penalty for the all blacks holding back his chase on his latest one.

      • Who Needs Melon

        Agreed. Anyway we were down by tonnes with minutes to go at the time, weren’t we? It was time to pull out some triicks. Especially ones that had worked very well in the past.

    • Barbarian

      I don’t like the fact that it has become his default action when near the touchline on attack. Whilst it worked against the Samoans, he chose the wrong time to do it against the Blacks. Firstly there was no chance of him being ‘bundled into touch’ as he had plenty of room to cut inside and plus he is a big backrower who should never be bundled out by a winger. Also there were three ABs back in cover defence, so he was never going to get close to regathering. In the end it was a good attacking opportunity wasted, and I hope the coaches gave him a bollocking in the sheds about it. If he can’t pick the right and wrong time to do it then he shouldn’t do it at all.

      • Pete

        The bloke gets it right every other time, I wouldn’t stop him for this one. In fact my memory (and I only saw it once) was that he was about to get mugged by a swarm of covering tacklers and would have appeased your de
        sire to see a backrower “valiantly” bundled in to touch. Quite clearly the nuns were good enough to put Beale and Rocky (even when he cut in by a few metres) out on the touchline, at least Higgenbotham moved the lineout 20 metres up field and gave us a chance to attack their set piece on their tryline. Not exactly a low percentage play that deserved a bollocking even if I’ve misremembered the amount of cover and space, especially compared to the QC flickpass and Beale trying to get through a pile of cover in a metre of space without cutting in or kicking.

        As I say, I only saw it once and he may have had a 1v1 on a winger with 5 metres of space and Gold jumpers supporting him.

  • bones

    Agree with your ratings. We were blown off the park in the first 40, and the pack has to take the blame for that. The tackling was poor and the forwards were not able to play direct and through the Black pack, so we didnt suck in defenders and create space for the backs.

    Big casualty is probably Simmons. I hope Robbie gives Timani some time against the Saffas. He has got the required physicality. Agree that McCalman and to a lesser extent Rocky, didnt impress.

  • Garry

    Pocock is getting through a mountain of tackles again. Could this indicate that the tight five is not. Last year our loosies were getting caught up in the rucks because of an under-performing tight 5.

    It may be a factor in why he didn’t get as many turnovers.

  • murph

    Agreed except for Simmons. He ran the lineout well which went downhill I’m his absence

    Aside from that it was pretty much predicted that McCalman & Elsom would screw this up. Pity Deans & many others were in denial

  • Chunderstruck

    I’m getting seriously pissed off with QC’s happy-slap tackling. Compare him to Carter.

    They should make him do this drill in training: get Diggers/Sharpie to continually run at him from the 22 and see if he can stop them scoring in a 1v1

    • Patrick

      I agree, except I’m not sure many people could stop Ioane in a one-on-one at speed!

    • drop kick

      They may dent his ego and we couldn’t have that.

    • wobbly

      I’m with Murph. Maybe the scrum strength was due to the extra effort of Simmons and Horwill. Queenslands scrum held its own enough this season despite a very limited scrummaging front row.

      Was it his first starting Bled? Simmons needs to be perserved with. He’s got a valuable mix of grunt, brains and enthusiasm.

  • phantom65

    Ratings are spot on.
    Only 1 thing to note: watch the scrums after Faingaa comes on. We turn to shit. I know we’re all waiting for TPN, but seriously having Faingaa on the bench is dangerous. Keep Squeaky on for 80 if necessary!

  • AC

    Bam Bam did miss a crucial tackle on Kaino, which led to a break. Don’t know why the stats didnt pick that up. I’d like to see Timani replace Simmons for a game and Higgers for McCalman.

    • mark conley

      A BIG MISS!

  • Gallgher

    Yeah I agree with these ratings, although I’d probably give Rocky one of Beale’s points… Id suggest the backline wont change at all for Durban, but perhaps Dingo will give Sharpe a go straight into the runon for Simmons, or finally give Higgers a go for McCalman, no changes other than this. As Barbarian perfectly pointed out, we performed generally well overall, no standout shockers, so no reason to go crazy.

    • Cutter

      Anyone wanting to give more than a 4 to a man who missed 6 tackles must be related to him. Elsom didn’t lead or settle the Wallabies when they needed it, he didn’t impose himself at all, he spent too much time on the wing and he missed 6 tackles. Sounds like about a 3 or 4 to me.

  • Roland

    4 best on ground (genia, horwill, ioane, higgers) all reds. Food for thought!

    • Pedro

      Cooper and Simmons were two of the worst, reds also.

  • Tallboy

    Well put together Barbarian. It’s great to read this info a few days and a few reviewings after the game. I’m going to have to start avoiding the forums for 2 days after each game I think. The vitriol is starting to hurt my brain (and that includes after a win)
    I’d agree with your ratings to a man. No one was terrible, just some guys we had a right to expect more from.
    Four of the tight five I thought got close to or better than parity with their opposite man, it was in our backrow where we got a free lesson. The way Read and McCaw play together is just awesome.
    Some of the missed tackles were a worry, but so much of defense is attitude, and it was clear that that was something the AB’s brought and we didn’t. I don’t think the sky is falling, and most importantly, despite the loss I still enjoyed watching that game of rugby…….

  • Jimbo81


    Horwell promoted to Captain
    Elsom dropped to Club level where if he plays out of his skin, he can come back
    Higginbotham starts at 6 with Beau Robinson on the bench (covering 6,7,8)
    Samo starts, replacing McCalman
    McCabe droppen for Faingaa
    Ashley Cooper warned – perform or be dropped
    Medical staff: hurry up and fix TPN, Mitchell, Slipper, Ben Robinson!!!

    • jimmydubs

      Spot on!!!

      I’d also suggest Sharpe in and Simmons to the bench. Then perfect (with what we currently have available).

    • mark conley

      Robinson can’t cover 6 and 8 surely

    • the_Dude

      Spot on Jimbo81
      Would also like to see the the young Tongan Waratah lock given a bench seat for a back row spot.
      Higgers may get more ball at 8 though with Samo to his right.
      What about Turner on the wing & JOC in out-centre?
      Horne coming back would also give another combo option for a different game-plan…

    • Smithy

      Barnes not Faingaa replacing McCabe, or O’Connor with Barnes off the bench when Mitchell is back.

      I would take Mowen over Samo.

      Cooper needs to give more ball to AAC and AAC needs to be told not to wait for it. I think he is playing well enough, more of it is needed though.

  • Joe

    Quade Cooper deserves a 2 because he slotted 2 conversions. Otherwise he was absolutely terrible and looked like a headless chicken, forever running sideways, throwing forward passes like he’s playing grid iron, and as always was pathetic on defence.

  • Patrick

    The obvious rating you forgot:
    Deans 3 Failed to prepare the team mentally or tactically; failed to select Samo over McMalman despite this being blindingly obvious; ditto Sharpe; probably should have had Gits on the bench.

    • ’boutbloodytime

      Yeah but Deans deserves a major wrap for finally getting rid of Mummy’s boy…it’s a step in the right direction for selections, albeit way too slow for the RWC, so 3.5 for mine…

      • Garry

        Deans hung onto Deans for 8-12 months too long.

        So – 0.5 x (how many games?) = NZRU subversive.

        • Garry

          Ahh…Deans Mumm?

  • pants

    Higginbotham’s chip kicks have so far both worked really well. Against the Springboks he set up a try and against the ABs he gained about 20m instead of being bundled into touch. I think the moments he has done the chip kicks, it has been the right option. He’s not always just doing it for the sake of it, which is when it would be a problem.

    Also Cooper was trying to be too fancy. I was going to say he deserved a 5 because he did create the final try with a beautiful long pass, but his lack of composure means he probably does deserve a 4. My only issue with that is I don’t think he deserves the equal worst score. I mean AAC did nothing but gets a 5. So its better to do nothing than try something?

    • BloodRed

      I’ve said it elsewhere, I think part of Quade’s problem on the weekend was that when he got the ball and looked up, his runners weren’t where he expected and weren’t giving him the signals that he looks for when he is electing who to throw to. As a result this delayed his pass and got the defense even further up on the outside runners. A couple of times he was throwing passes to the winger who was well infront of the centres that were lagging behind. Maybe he did overdo the cut-out but sometimes the cut-out was the only option he had.

  • RedMan

    I fail to see why you wouldn’t want to be capitalising on the form of the players who have just come from winning the Super Comp. Apart from Simmons (perhaps a bit out of his depth at this stage) and Cooper (dear in the headlights), the other Reds players that are in the Wallabies are playing well at the moment and more of them should be brought into the mix.

    They were obviously in enough form to win the Super comp and the Wallabies should be milking this current form for what it is worth.

    While it sends shivers down my spine to see a Wallabies team dominated by Waratahs, it does seem odd that they have such a low representation and yet they were good enough to make the top six. Perhaps this is due to the large number of injuries they have had to endure this year.

    I don’t understand why a team that spent most of the year losing (Brumbies) is so well represented.

    • Timbo

      I think its predominantly injuries. TPM and Fat Cat would be starting with Kepu in the front row, Mitchell would be a starter but for his leg(thanks Higginbotham), Barnes would be second 5 in place of McCabe but for his broken head. Palu would be in…

      • BloodRed

        Barnes was pretty ordinary in the first half of the superxv before his lay off. Doubt his form would have been good enough to get him picked but it seems superxv form doesn’t count for much in team selections so he probably would have been there along with Ben A, Rocky, McAlman, AAC etc.

  • Northe

    Some of you should reread your comments from after the game against SA. Things like: Simmons and Horwell are the best lock combination in the world. Now suddenly Simmons can’t hack it.
    Cooper is the best in the world. Suddenly he is no good.
    I thought overall the WBS played well but really made a couple of bad decisions in the first half that cost them momentum. Coopers two cross kicks after being on attack for long periods. He believed all the hype about him and thinks he has to do something amazing everytime he gets the ball and every game. So that was what he did. Whenever you guys talk up your team they lose. All the rubbish about the HK win. Last year the ABS won 3 lost 1 vs the WBS. In the last 10 years the WBS usually win at least one so why would one win be any different.
    I think the two teams are really close in ability but the WBS actually have really only one player who is better than his opposite where ABS might have 3 or 4. Genia is the best half back around but I think Smith and Nonu are better than their counter parts. I think the ABS loosies three as a unit are better than the WBS losies three as well as the front row. Not individually better but as a unit. Most of the other players counter each other out. The WBS back line is no more creative than the ABS. Look what Corey Jane, Carter or Sivi can come up with. That is just is good as any of the WBS back line.
    Also the comments about the Brumbies guys not going well because they were in a poor team. What about the Hurricane boys?
    The reason all you guys hate Richie is because he is always involved in everything. Every game so you can’t help but see him. He doesn’t cheat anymore or less than anybody else. All rugby players do the same things. Richie is just everywhere which makes him so much more annoying.
    Last thing. As long as you look at the refs you will always think they do a bad job. Rugby has got to be one of the hardest sports to control and they do a great job. But all of us one eyed supporters always think we get the hard end of the deal.
    I love watching the ABs and WBS play because they always create entertaining games and you never really know who is going to win. Some of the great classics have been played out between the two teams over the years. Their games are never dull.

  • pants

    How many Brumbies are actually playing in the same position for the Wallabies as they played for the Brumbies?

  • Bubu

    I have one request of the Wallabies. Please don’t talk about what you’re going to do before the match. I’m tired of hearing the Wallabies talk themselves up when they haven’t earned the right to do so. A little more humility and self-awareness would go a long way. Also, how about showing just how pissed off you when you lose rather than saying meek stuff like – oh we didn’t play to our ability and left a lot of points out there. I can assure you that the ABs would be tearing their hair out and plotting massive revenge if they had lost to us.

  • BloodRed

    Some good comments above. Agree with the confusion over sudden turnabouts on opinions regarding a few players;
    i) Simmons world beater 2 weeks ago, no good this week? He may not have carried the ball well but he was pushing in a scrum that was close to dominating the All Blacks, thats a big tick from me for a lock. He was calling the shots in a lineout that had no troubles (until he went off), that’s another big tick for a lock. He made involved in plenty of tackles and breakdowns, nothing flashy but he is a tight forward so I’m happy with graft.
    ii) Cooper not dominant but was dealing with a defensive line that required more alcohol on board than I had to believe it was onside. Also got the impression that at times he was late throwing his passes because the runners he was expecting just weren’t there. I suspect that at times Quade is actually reading the body language and positioning of his own players more than the defensive positioning of the opposition so if his team mates are not there and giving him signals the magic doesn’t happen.

    Having said that, I can’t find much love for the performance of our backrow as a unit. Even Pocock was strangely ineffective. Lot of soft tackles that gave up momentum to the attacking player. Lot of weak runs that gave up ground. Little evidence of them working together and like alot of the wallabies they just looked flat. Had they all been to a funeral before kick off?

  • Skippy

    Personally I didn’t see Rocky’s performance as poor. and the stats back that up… although we all know workrate only tells part of the story and I agree his ball running looks a bit off key and he did miss a few tackles. But hey.. so did most of the team.

    Sure there is a lot of improvement required in his game but given his lack of game time it’s only common sense to see him get 80 minutes each week. As long as he improves every week (which he has in my opinion) then the team should stick with him. The issue of his captaincy etc is a different issue.
    At the end of the day, evey player in this team will no doubt spend a few hours after every test match pouring over videos etc of their performance and identifying what errors/mistakes they made, what they can improve on and so on. I’ve no doubt Elsom and co, as paid professionals will learn from their perofrmance on Saturday and continue to make strides forward. As for Rocky apparently being on the ‘wing’ all day as people on here keep suggesting, this demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of the role of the blindside flanker, a complete non appreciation of the ability of an experience player like Elsom to read the game and ignorance of the fact Deans clearly has a tactic in place whereby Elsom is required to support the relatively small Wallaby backs in both attack and defence when they find contact. A blind side flanker is not a 7… his job is not to hunt the ball and run a million miles a game like a rabid dog. A 6 is traditionally a ball runner and traditionally runs lines in defence to cover defend the 10 channel on the opposite side of his scrum and all international teams play to certain patterns and use ‘pods’ to ensure forwards operate largely in a certain area of the field. Rocky’s performance still has another 25% improvement in it to reach his own high standards but he is heading in the right direction.

    Finally.. Saturday’s loss was very painful but sadly we all got caught up in believing were ready to win and overturn the All Blacks but the fact is we are still not there yet and will need the next 2 tests and the 4 pool games etc to continue to build, learn, improve and move forwards. This was another loss I feel we needed to have and will only serve to improve what is a very young international team. And we will be better for it. And I’d take losses in the tri nations anyday over a WC semi final victory and WC final victory over the Blacks.

    • Garry

      ” Finally.. Saturday’s loss was very painful but sadly we all got caught up in believing were ready to win and overturn the All Blacks but the fact is we are still not there yet and will need the next 2 tests and the 4 pool games etc to continue to build, learn, improve and move forwards. This was another loss I feel we needed to have and will only serve to improve what is a very young international team. And we will be better for it. And I’d take losses in the tri nations anyday over a WC semi final victory and WC final victory over the Blacks. ”


      this feels like a post from 2 years ago.

  • Skippy

    Your right. But we are not the best team in the world still or yet. And it may take another 2 years. We can all decide who to blame or what failed etc what changes we’d make, who we would select, But the bottom line is we may never get there.

  • Smithy

    Well for one I agree with all of those ratings.

  • madfifteen

    Beale missed his mark on one on one situation (saved by Genia’s cover) vs Boks. He did it again with ABs as if he were avoiding to tackle his mark. He was off defensively. Could that be because of the new shift to bring Ioani to front line and QC to go back? His defensive misposition was the cause of Nonu’s (eventual) try. 6 for Beale, I think, is very generous.

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