As the All Blacks fly home to New Zealand after their 12-11 loss to South Africa in the Rugby World Cup final on Sunday, the Herald takes a look at how each member of the squad performed during the tournament. Regardless of the end result, even making it to the final was a major achievement and something to be proud of, with many pundits expecting the least-fancied All Blacks team in World Cup history to bow out in the quarter-finals.
Minutes 352, Matches 6, Points 0, Card Yellow v Ireland.
The All Blacks lineout was one of the best at the World Cup right up until a few moments in the final.
Minutes 56, Matches 3, Points 10.
A true great who redefined how a hooker could play but difficult at his age to keep that game up.
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This was his moment. He’d been groomed for this but his career’s gone flat. Fell to third in the pecking order before getting the call-up for the final.
Ethan de Groot
Minutes 287, Matches 5, Points 5, Card Red vs Namibia.
Came back well after the red card against Namibia with three strong performances in the knockout stages.
Minutes 226, Matches 5, Points 0.
Reputation around the world is high on back of the World Cup. Not a sensational tournament, as in the best prop of all teams, but was solid in all aspects.
Minutes 119, Matches 5, Points 5.
Workhorse. Star is on the rise. Will get so much out of the tournament. A massive investment as future All Blacks star.
Minutes 158, Matches 5, Points 5.
Immensely strong prop who also showed enough promise away from the scrums.
Minutes 164, Matches 4, Points 0.
Too limited around the field - a reminder of where New Zealand’s strategies have fallen short in recent times.
Minutes 176, Matches 4, Points 0.
Fell away and lost his spot on the bench to younger players.
Ethan de Groot, Scott Barrett and Tyrel Lomax. Photo / Photosport
Minutes 435 Matches 7, Points 0, Card Yellow vs Argentina.
Yes, very good. But no, he’s not quite in Brodie Retallick or Sam Whitelock’s class. The big question: can he be part of a great new locking combo?
Minutes 299 Matches 6, Points 5.
Set such amazing standards that he’s hard to judge in decline - but still a force. Forget France - he’s the greatest lock many of us will ever see.
Minutes 342 Matches 7, Points 0.
Lost his starting place but broke the All Blacks test record - an incredible forward, immaculate, whose cameo role included breaking Irish hearts.
Minutes 153 Matches 3, Points 0.
You forget he started the opening game. The All Blacks need to turn up at future tournaments with greater certainty around their back-up forwards than Vaa’i has been able to provide.
Minutes 248, Matches 5, Points 0, Card Red v South Africa.
Monumental game against Ireland. Sadly that may be forgotten because of the red card in the final. Rating: A
Minutes 287, Matches 5, Points 10, Card Yellow v South Africa.
Did a fine job until the final where he got embarrassed.
Minutes 177, Matches 3, Points 0.
Came off the bench against France. Didn’t have a great game against Namibia before bouncing back against Uruguay. Wasn’t a threat to push for a spot in the knockout games.
Minutes 245, Matches 6, Points 10.
Didn’t really make the impact the side needed in the big games. Blackadder may have been a better option off the bench.
Minutes 464, Matches 6, Points 15.
Never stopped thrashing about. Unbelievable determination and energy. A symbol of hope, who might help inspire the next generation of players with permanent captaincy.
Minutes 26, Matches 1, Points 0.
Late call-up. The wrecking ball was never let loose.
Minutes 317, Matches 6, Points 20, Card Yellow v Ireland.
Going out on top. The best in his position at the tournament.
Minutes 82, Matches 4, Points 0.
Ordinary... bench regular who offered little game-breaking potential. A bit confusing, given Cam Roigard’s obvious spark.
Minutes 151, Matches 3, Points 15.
Made the most of his starting chances against Namibia and Uruguay and off the bench against Italy. Oddly not part of the squad for the knockout games.
Cam Roigard runs in to score against Italy. Photo / Photosport
Minutes 462, Matches 7, Points 56.
Reputation enhanced... as in a mercurial game-breaker who lacks authority and the winning edge. Missed goal and dropped pass in world final does not a legend make.
Minutes 205, Matches 5, Points 53.
He remains more court jester than king and was given little chance to rescue the final. What comes next will be fascinating under Scott Robertson.
Minutes 357, Matches 5, Points 13.
An imposing presence but he also missed a history-making goal in the final, where he was clobbered by Pieter-Steph du Toit.
Minutes 97, Matches 2, Points 5.
Came off the bench in opener against France and had just one start against Namibia. An afterthought for the final five games.
Minutes 392, Matches 6, Points 5.
The worst-performing All Blacks starter? He was at sixes and sevens (according to the Herald ratings) for most of the tournament. Solid on the defensive end at least.
Minutes 272, Matches 7, Points 10.
Mainly for his defensive effort off the bench against Ireland.
Jordie Barrett celebrates scoring the team's second try against Argentina. Photo / Getty Images
Minutes 461, Matches 6, Points 40, Card Yellow v France.
Very difficult to mark. The world was in awe up until the final, where he didn’t make an impact at all. Rating: A
Minutes 312, Matches 4, Points 15.
His unique game worked on the biggest stage, including in the final.
Minutes 232, Matches 4, Points 25.
His physical game couldn’t oust two sleek wings - not even required as a final game-breaking option from the bench.
Minutes 107, Matches 2, Points 5.
Played just one game at the World Cup, a full 80 minutes against Namibia. That was it.
Minutes 453, Matches 7, Points 9.
The magic has been long gone - still a fine fullback-pivot but a senior player who ultimately fell short against the final South African onslaught.
Rating: - Did not play. Injured and was replaced in the squad by Ethan Blackadder.
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