All Blacks vs Springboks player ratings: 2023 Rugby World Cup final - Page 3 of 3 - Ruck

All Blacks vs Springboks player ratings: 2023 Rugby World Cup final

7 Sam Cane (c) – 5

Was once again sent to the side-lines, after being sin-binned in the Twickenham match against South Africa. A moment of madness saw the All Blacks captain lead with his shoulder, and make contact with the head of Kriel. His RWC Final lasted 28 minutes, with his bunker review upgraded to a red card. Gave a devastated post match interview, but led his side valiently throughout the tournament.

8 Ardie Savea – 8.5

A real contender for Man of the Match, had du Toit not been a tackling machine in Paris. Flew in with a explosive tackles, and cleared out the breakdowns with big hits. Almost scored off a 16 minute chip chase, but was unable to ground Jordie Barrett’s nudge. Charged down Handre Pollard’s drop goal, and denied a ‘Stransky’ moment.

9 Aaron Smith – 7

His passion showed in the pre-match haka, for his final All Blacks match. Smith had tears in his eyes as he led the haka and set the match off with some excellent tempo to his passing. The Springboks tried to slow the scrum-halves’ ball distribution, yet Smith ordered his men around the park to match the South African offensive. Took a heavy hit off the ball from Jesse Kriel, and had an unfortunate try disallowed at 54 minutes. Came off with a stinging shoulder, after a clattering hit on Kolbe. (Finlay Christie, 65′).

10 Richie Mo’unga – 7

Lost the early aerial battle to Cheslin Kolbe, as the Springboks peppered the All Blacks halfback with high balls. Nailed by Etzebeth early on, as the Boks imposed their brutal physicality. Dropped a pass out in a wide channel, that could have led to a score at 46 minutes. Awesome run in the build up to Smith’s disallowed try, as he beat Arundse, fended Kriel and dummied past Willemse. (Damian McKenzie, 74′).

11 Mark Tele’a – 8

Hit off the ball by Faf de Klerk, as the match hit a physical and emotional frenzy early on. Made a key covering tackle on Damien Willemse, sending the fullback into touch. The All Blacks come alive when Tele’a made a break, as he gave his side a psychological lift following the red card to Sam Cane.

Skipped past defenders, with a 36th minute run showcasing his hot-stepping abilities. Awesome defensive work rate, he supplied the extra weight at the breakdown when New Zealand dropped to 14 men.

12 Jordie Barrett 7.5

Nice passes despite the rain, as he executed some slick ‘out-the-back’ offloads to keep the All Blacks ball alive. His heavy gain-line breaks were felled by the monstrous defensive efforts of Etzebeth and Mostert. Great line speed in defence, Jordie 6ft 5 frame flew into the gold and green bodies. Held up a try when the Springboks drove over from close range, yet missed a crucial penalty at 73 minutes.

13 Rieko Ioane – 6.5

Offering go forward on every carry, with his astute knowledge to spot gaps and slide past defenders. A great effort saw him explode onto the ball on 21 minutes, but was nailed by du Toit. He almost scored on a curving run, but the combined efforts of Cheslin Kolbe and Kurt Lee-Arendse muscled him into touch at 36 minutes.

14 Will Jordan – 6.5

Came into the match with eight tries, looking to score a record ninth, which would be the best effort from one player in a single men’s Rugby World Cup campaign. Struggled to get into the game early on, with heavy hits flying in from the Springboks, and the ball greasy in the rain Repeatedly smashed by heavy hits, including two judo like takedowns by Kolbe.

15 Beauden Barrett – 7

Confident to go to the boot from the get go, and swept well with a key pick-up at 10 minutes. This cover stopped the Springboks in a try-scoring position. Scored the sole try of the 2023 RWC Final, as he powered on to Tele’a’s offload, and dove over to send the Stade de France into a frenzy.


16 Samisoni Taukei’aho – 5.5

Big call to select Taukei’aho on the bench, and leave out veteran 2015 RWC winner Dane Coles from the entire All Blacks squad. Offered his power around the park, but didn’t hit a consistent stride at the set-piece.

17 Tamaiti Williams – 6

On for Ethan de Groot as Ian Foster switched up his entire front row for the final 15 minutes. Williams tried to impose his physicality, but was overshadowed by the Springboks’ unrelenting drive over the finish line.

18 Nepo Laulala -6

Similarly to Williams, Laulala was introduced along with the hooker and prop, to rescue the battel up front. This was an unsuccessful mission, as the Springboks held their ground to run down the clock. Did offer his efforts with good defensive work rate.

19 Samuel Whitelock – 6.5

Whitelock was unable to become the only player in history to win three Rugby World Cups. The iconic lock steps down from the international scene, and heads to Pau after a 26 minute run out in the final. Offered a strong leadership role in the tense latter stages, for his 153rd test cap.

20 Dalton Papali’i – 6

On for the evergreen Brodie Retallick, with the second row amongst a litany of players to step down from the All Blacks. The Blues man had a 10 minute cameo in the RWC Final, and will push on to become a mainstay in years to come.

21 Finlay Christie – 6.5

On for the internationally retiring Aaron Smith, and took over from the boot with nicely weighted set-pieces. Given the final 15 minutes to help salvage the match against the Springboks, but could not muster up the win. Another one for All Blacks’ future starts, with Smith off to Japan.

22 Damian McKenzie – 6

The Chiefs man had the final 10 minutes, and added a noticeable step up in the tempo at first receiver. Mo’unga was left battered and bruised by the Boks, with McKenzie trying to exploit even half a gap in the green and gold line.

23 Anton Lienert-Brown – 6

On for another battered All Black in Will Jordan, Lienert-Brown presented a nice lift in the midfield and swept well to cover the late Springboks kicks. Sent a nice offload out the back, yet Kolbe’s interference earned the Springbok a yellow card.