Player ratings: Which players stood out over the series?

Sam Whitelock proved he's one of the best locks in the world. Photo /Getty Images
Sam Whitelock proved he's one of the best locks in the world. Photo /Getty Images

Which All Blacks were the top performers over the three test series victory over France? nzherald.co.nz look back over the Herald ratings from the 3-0 whitewash to name a player of the series.

Chris Rattue's player ratings
First test ratings
Second test ratings
Third test ratings

BACKS

Israel Dagg - Average rating 6.7 (rated in three tests)
Came into the series after a poor run of form for the Crusaders and improved as the series went on, finally finding his rhythm in the third test.

Long punts in the New Plymouth kept the French back three on the back foot. Can he push on and lift his game even further for the final stages of the Super 15? Crusaders fans will be hoping so.

Ben Smith - 7.3 (3)
Smith played his best rugby in the black jersey over the past three weeks which culminated with a 9 rating in the third test. The big winner of the series. Slotted in perfectly in place for the injured Cory Jane who now has some work on his hands to regain the 14 jersey.

Conrad Smith - 6.3 (3)
Consistent as usual but not at his best. Can't give him too much credit for Nonu's return to form but the centre was much more effective with his former Hurricanes teammate inside him.

Ma'a Nonu - 7.3 (3)
Like Dagg, his Super 15 franchise will be hoping that he carries his form over to the final stages of the competition, however it will be too little too late for the Highlanders. Busting runs throughout the series and even showed off a kicking game, including a deft grubber which set up a Julian Savea try in Christchurch. Tied with Aaron Smith among the in-form backs of the series.

Julian Savea - 7 (2)
Made up for an indifferent first test with a strong performance in Christchurch. Didn't play in the third test but should regain the 11 jersey for the Rugby Championship.

Rene Ranger - 6.7 (3)
Certainly filled the roll as an impact player in the first two tests and was a constant threat throughout the third test victory.

Aaron Cruden - 7 (2)
Outstanding effort in the second test before moving aside for Dan Carter. Get ready for these two to fight for the 10 jersey for the next few years.

Dan Carter - 7 (1)
A typically strong performance around the field but his goal-kicking was a let-down.

Beauden Barrett - 5 (2)
Only played 14 minutes but finished as the top tryscorer of the series. Not enough time to show what he can really do at first five-eighth in the black jersey.

Aaron Smith - 7.5 (2)
The standout back of the series. Controlled the game well and knew when to kick. Linked well for Manawatu teammate Cruden outside him and played a part in both tries at Eden Park.

Piri Weepu - 4.5 (2)
Was below par and freely admitted it in the halftime interview in New Plymouth. Was then yanked off the field only two minutes into second stanza. Made little impact off the bench in Christchurch.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow - 5 (2)
Had a decent 40 minute run in New Plymouth and made more of an impact off the bench than Weepu did in the series. Will a strong Chiefs run in the Super 15 push him into the second halfback spot?

FORWARDS

Kieran Read - 7 (3)
Performed well as the stand-in captain for Richie McCaw. Workrate took a hit but was committed and tough as usual. A reliable lineout option. Remains as an undefeated captain much like fellow number eight Buck Shelford.

Sam Cane - 6.7 (3)
The expectations of an All Black wearing the seven jersey are always going to be very high and Cane didn't reach those expectations. He went close however and set up a try in Christchurch with a charge-down while scoring another at Eden Park. 'Will continue to raise doubts by failing to contest at the breakdown,' Rattue wrote after the third test.

Liam Messam - 6.5 (2)
Great defensive work but lacked any impact on attack. Place in the side remains in doubt. Will be interesting how the return of McCaw will change things in the loose forwards.

Victor Vito - 7 (2)
Given a rare start in the third test and made some good tackles but was part of a disappointing loose forward unit in New Plymouth.

Sam Whitelock - 8 (2)
The standout forward of the series after a dominant showing in Christchurch after returning from injury. Continued that form onto the New Plymouth test. Showed he has to be up there with the best locks in the world. The player of the series.

Luke Romano - 7 (3)
Showed improvement as the series went on, which might have something to do with the return of Crusaders teammate Whitelock. A powerhouse with the ball in hand but made a few mistakes at lineout time in New Plymouth.

Brodie Retallick - 7 (1)
His one test before suffering a hamstring injury was a fairly impressive game at Eden Park.

Jeremy Thrush - 5 (1)
Just 12 minutes off the bench. Still can call himself an All Black.

Owen Franks - 6.7 (3)
Consistently strong throughout the series. The All Blacks pack rarely took and backward step and linked well with Coles and Crockett for most part.

Dan Coles - 6 (2)
Improved in his second start after a wayward night at lineout time in Auckland. Adds a new dimension with his ball playing touches.

Wyatt Crockett - 6 (3)
A superb test in Christchurch hurling himself around all parts of the field but less impressive in his other two outings.

Keven Mealamu - 5 (2)
Both appearances off the bench behind Coles and Hore. Added some impact in the third test.

Andrew Hore - 5 (2)
Handed a start in the third test ahead of Coles. Lineouts looked good but he seemed jaded around the field.

Tony Woodcock - 4.5 (2)
Used off the bench in two tests. Is this the sort of role for him in the future?

Ben Franks - 4 (2)
Made late appearances in first and second test, unused in the third.

- nzherald.co.nz

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