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Australia 6-20 New Zealand, Rugby World Cup, October 16, 2011
Australia 6-20 New Zealand - How they rated
ESPNscrum Staff
October 16, 2011
New Zealand's Richie McCaw goes on the charge, New Zealand v Australia, Rugby World Cup semi-final, Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand, October 16, 2011
Richie McCaw was immense at the breakdown for New Zealand © Getty Images
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New Zealand defeated Australia 20-6 in Auckland on Sunday to book their place in the Rugby World Cup Final, but how did the players rate at Eden Park?

Australia:

15. Adam Ashley-Cooper: The fullback never had a chance to enjoy much time on the ball but he did what was required of him behind a forward pack that struggled. 6/10

14. James O'Connor: The young winger was probably the standout back for the Wallabies. Whenever he got the ball in hand he tried to break the gainline but against a resolute Kiwi defence he found his way blocked on numerous occasions. 7/10

13. Anthony Fainga'a: The Reds centre was impressive in defence when faced with the challenge of Ma'a Nonu and Conrad Smith. Although not enjoying much time on the ball, he did what was required. 7/10

12. Pat McCabe: Struggled in the first-half with a blood injury and never really got a chance to showcase his talent. 5/10

11. Digby Ioane: Similar to O'Connor, Ioane tried to make the best of a bad situation but this will be a World Cup to forget for the winger. 6/10

10. Quade Cooper: The public enemy number one had a horror show from start to finish. He started the game poorly knocking the kick-off straight into touch and much to the enjoyment of the Eden Park crowd never really managed to assert himself in the match. 4/10

9. Will Genia: Genia wasn't helped by a poor performance from his fly-half and a forward pack spending most of their time going backwards. Despite this, Genia's presence throughout the World Cup was something which fans of Australians can look back on safe in the knowledge that they have one of the standout half-backs in world rugby. 6/10

1. Sekope Kepu: Struggled in the scrum and sustained a shiner in the early stages of the match. The scrum looked more stable when James Slipper came onto the field. 4/10

2. Stephen Moore: Brad Thorn enjoyed dismantling the Australian's lineout. This was a day to forget for the hooker with rival Mealamu outshining him throughout. 5/10

3. Ben Alexander: Performed best out of the fellow front-rowers but struggled against Tony Woodcock who was in imperious form. 6/10

4. Dan Vickerman: Fairly anonymous throughout with the Kiwis' lineout enjoying edging the lineout battle. 5/10

5. James Horwill: The skipper has led his side well throughout the World Cup and was immense in defence and taking the ball forward. A shining light for Robbie Deans' charges in what was a hard game for the Wallabies' pack. 7/10

6. Rocky Elsom: Jerome Kaino had the edge on Elsom throughout. Despite putting in a sterling shift during the quarter-finals, Elsom was very much second best in the penultimate knockout stage of the tournament. 6/10

7. David Pocock: The battle with Richie McCaw had the pre-match billing of the key clash. After putting in one of the performances of the World Cup against the Springboks, Pocock was taught a lesson by McCaw today. 5/10

8. Radike Samo: The giant No. 8 failed to ever find a foothold in the game and did not break the gainline as much as he would have liked. 5/10

Replacements:

16. Tatafu Polota-Nau: Came onto the field with 15 minutes left but failed to make an impact 5/10

17. James Slipper: Did better than the man he replaced but still outshone by Franks. 6/10

18. Rob Simmons: Found it tough in the second-row against a dominant All Blacks lineout. 6/10

19. Ben McCalman: With 20 minutes left the game had degenerated into a battle at the breakdown and McCalman did well to keep fellow No. 8 Read away from the ball on occasions. 7/10

21. Berrick Barnes: Barnes has impressed when given the opportunity but failed to make an impact in the semi-final. 6/10

22. Rob Horne: Never really got a chance to show what he could do on the ball 6/10

New Zealand:

15. Israel Dagg: Brilliant performance with ball in hand, making a string of fine breaks. Made Ma'a Nonu's try with a classy show and go before delicately off-loading as he headed into touch. 8/10

14. Cory Jane: Superb under the high ball and offered much in attack. Deceptively strong and tenacious in defence and got the crowd on their feet with some powerful bursts. Solid all round. 8/10

13. Conrad Smith: Ma'a Nonu will probably get the plaudits but Smith was equally impressive, if not as eye-catching. His defence was water-tight and he brought the back-three into play with worrying regularity for the Wallabies. 7/10

12. Ma'a Nonu: Arguably the best No. 12 in world rugby and he didn't disappoint at Eden Park. The rampaging centre helped settle the All Blacks' nerves with a terrific try after five minutes, diving over in the corner after sterling work from Dagg. Typically aggressive in defence and frequently got his team over the gain line when in attack. 7/10

11. Richard Kahui: Hunted work and epitomised the All Blacks' intensity with some massive hits in defence. This wasn't one of those games where the try-hungry winger could run riot but he put in an industrious performance. 6/10

10. Aaron Cruden: An early break helped calm him down and he went on to produce a mature, if not stellar, performance. Moved the team around the park well and showed coolness to slot his first Test drop-goal in the heat of battle. 6/10

9. Piri Weepu: Missed several kicks but was instrumental throughout. His distribution was excellent and manoeuvred the marauding pack with authority. 7/10

1. Tony Woodcock: Dominant in the scrum and helped create a platform for the backs to sparkle with some fine work in the loose. 6/10

2. Keven Mealamu: Really caught the eye in the loose, repeatedly making yards with strong carries. Solid in the set-piece and a great engine enabled him to throw himself about with vigour. 7/10

3. Owen Franks: Enjoyed the battle up front and relished the physical confrontation. Sekope Kepu may have edged their personal duel at scrum-time but Franks' display in the loose more than made up for it. 6/10

4. Brad Thorn: Belied his age with a huge performance. The 36-year-old was a colossus, stealing lineout ball and running the Australians ragged at the breakdown. 8/10

5. Sam Whitelock: Lead the New Zealand lineout well and helped secure his side front-foot ball. Tackled his heart out and showed his power when clearing out at the rucks. 6/10

6. Jerome Kaino: Australia couldn't handle the flanker's physicality at times. He proved a real nuisance at the breakdown, smashing men in yellow backwards to allow Richie McCaw to do his thing. 7/10

7. Richie McCaw: A real leader's display. Dominated his No. 7 counterpart David Pocock, despite not being fully fit. The man was everywhere, frequently turning ball over and handing the initiative back to the All Blacks. 9/10

8. Kieran Read: A real dynamic performance from the No. 8. He made valuable yards going forward and was unrelenting in defence. 8/10

Replacements:

20. Andy Ellis: Came on for Weepu and continued to give the New Zealand backs good ball. Put his body on the line for the cause and was forced off with a bloody injury. 6/10

16. Andrew Hore: Thrived on the forwards battle and didn't let anyone down. 6/10

18. Ali Williams: Came on and injected some fresh energy into New Zealand's tiring lineout. 7/10

22. Sonny Bill Williams: Three minutes after coming on was sent to the sin-bin for a dangerous tackle on Quade Cooper. N/A

17. Ben Franks: Got New Zealand over the line in the dying minutes. N/A

19. Victor Vito: Came on with victory in sight. N/A

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