Caleb Clarke starred for the All Blacks on his run-on debut.
OPINION: Caleb Clarke made a mockery of would-be Wallabies defenders in his first run-on test for the All Blacks.
He was influential in the hosts’ 27-7 win at Eden Park on Sunday, a result which eases the pressure on first-year coach Ian Foster.
Here’s Stuff’s player ratings from Foster’s first win in charge.
Beauden Barrett: What Achilles niggle? The 29-year-old was superb from the back, running amok in the first half at his adopted ground. It was also his grubber kick for brother Jordie which led to Aaron Smith’s opening try. 8.5
New Zealand’s Caleb Clarke makes a run during the second Bledisloe Rugby test between the All Blacks and the Wallabies at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020. (AP Photo/Mark Baker)
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Jordie Barrett: Ball didn’t go his way in the first half, but needed less than three minutes to touch down after the break. Took care of the touch finders and did a decent enough job. Still have to think he’s better suited to fullback. 7.5
Anton Lienert Brown: Temporarily left the park in the opening half after leaking some claret but showed why he was missed last week with a stellar defensive performance at centre. 8.5
Jack Goodhue: Dished a rotten pass to Caleb Clarke early, but went on to carry the ball over the advantage line effectively, playing a big hand in Aaron Smith’s and Jordie Barrett’s tries. Replaced after 61 minutes. 7.5
Hannah Peters/Getty Images
Caleb Clarke was responsible for many of the Wallabies’ missed tackles.
Caleb Clarke: A freakish talent. Fast, powerful and silky-skilled, the 21-year-old was hugely responsible for the Wallabies falling off 40 tackles, many of which were on his scorching, eye-popping run to setup Ardie Savea’s try. The No 11 jersey is now his. 9.5
Richie Mo’unga: Won’t be pleased with a couple of misses off the tee, but was instrumental in Jordie Barrett’s and Sam Cane’s tries. Also made an outstanding try-saving tackle on wing Marika Koroibete. 8
Aaron Smith: Adamant he had to play better after last week, the live wire provided quality service for his backs, and ducked over for the team’s opening try. 8
Phil Walter/Getty Images
Ardie Savea is congratulated by Beauden Barrett, middle, and Shannon Frizell at Eden Park after scoring a try against the Wallabies.
Ardie Savea: Started by earning a crunch penalty on the goal line, and went on to treat the Wallabies with contempt with ball in hand. Only Caleb Clarke bounced more Aussies off the Eden Park turf. 8.5
Sam Cane: More than deserved his second half try after leading a much more dominant performance from the All Blacks’ pack, making 14 tackles. Would perhaps want his time again after turning down a shot at goal with a 10-7 lead late in the first half. 8
Shannon Frizell: Much better and busier than Bledisloe I. Not quite the Frizell from Super Rugby Aotearoa, but not far off it. 7.5
Tupou Vaa’i: A very solid 50 minutes playing in place of the injured Sam Whitelock. The future is bright. 6.5
Patrick Tuipulotu: Turned in a much better showing after going badly missing in Wellington a week ago. His lineout work was superb. Only a Wallabies’ blunder spared him some blushes after a bad handling error in the first half. 7.5
Ofa Tu’ungafasi: Was better than average outside of conceding an early scrum penalty. Did enough to retain the No 3 jersey for Bledisloe III. 7
Phil Walter/Getty Images
All Blacks captain Sam Cane heads for the try line against the Wallabies on Sunday.
Dane Coles: Brought the niggle in the opening minutes when he got stuck into Taniela Tupou. Is a master at getting under the skin of opposition players. 7
Joe Moody: Knocked out attempting to tackle Aussie Ned Hanigan on the half hour mark. Didn’t return after the Wallabies scored. N/R
Codie Taylor: Lineout throwing was on the money in the final half hour after replacing Coles. Made a couple of handling errors. 6.5
All Blacks wing Jordie Barrett dives over for a second half try against the Wallabies on Sunday.
Alex Hodgman: Forced to play 50 minutes after Moody’s head-knock, it was the debutant who got the pats on the back after the hosts melted the Wallabies’ scrum late in the first half. 7
Nepo Laulala: Replaced Ofa Tu’ungafasi for final half hour. The All Blacks’ pack didn’t lose its edge. 6
Scott Barrett: Pleasing for all that he got through 28 minutes in his first game since suffering a serious foot injury in June. 6.5
Hoskins Sotutu: Replaced Shannon Frizell for the final 15 minutes. N/R
TJ Perenara: Ripped the ball clean from Liam Wright’s grasp to defuse a Wallabies’ raid, and was his usual busy self on attack. 7.5
Peter Umaga-Jensen: Played a handful of minutes in the first half while Lienert-Brown got patched up, before replacing Goodhue for the final quarter, only to succumb to injury himself. N/R
Damian McKenzie: Got 13 minutes off the bench. N/R