Israel Dagg, despite manning the last line of defence, led from the front in the historic Rugby Championship opener in Sydney on Saturday.
The All Black fullback had the Wallabies at sixes and sevens with his elusive running from the back and produced two moments of magic that helped his team to a crucial away win to kick-off their campaign.
Quintin van Jaarsveld rates the All Black players.
15 Israel Dagg
Reminiscent of All Black great Christian Cullen, Dagg delivered an all-round masterclass to cement his status as the world’s leading number 15.
Sensational with ball in hand, he scored a good try and made another with a quick, pinpoint pass to Cory Jane; kicked well, was defensively sound and his positional play was outstanding.
14 Cory Jane
Finished well when the try was there for the taking in the first half. Would have been disappointed that he didn’t hold on to a Sonny Bill Williams offload close to the try-line in the second forty.
13 Ma'a Nonu
The much talked about monster midfield failed to come good on the day. Nonu, for his part, made one brilliant break and offload in the first half but generally looked uncomfortable filling in at outside centre.
12 Sonny Bill Williams
For all the uncertainty whether he would be available Williams had an underwhelming game. He did his primary job of getting over the gainline but his famous offloads didn’t find the intended targets.
11 Hosea Gear
Had little opportunities and when he was finally presented with one, he failed to finish a try he would have scored nine times of out ten late in the game.
10 Daniel Carter
A settled, composed performance. His presence alone instils confidence in the All Blacks and although he didn’t take the game at the scruff of the neck, he kept the mistakes to the bare minimum and contributed 17 points with his reliable boot.
9 Aaron Smith
Not quite the Bledisloe Cup debut he would have envisioned. He was more of a link than anything else.
8 Kieran Read
A big effort back from injury in which he showed little rust other than an early uncharacteristic handling error. He put in some big hits, most memorably the one that rocked David Pocock, and brought balance back to the All Black back row.
7 Richie McCaw
Far more comfortable and effective back in his preferred openside role. He made his quota of crucial turnovers and came to prominence as a ball carrier in the final quarter.
6 Liam Messam
He's really making the number six black jersey his own in the way he tirelessly executes tackle after tackle and gets across the park. How the back rowers complemented each other and played in unison gave the All Blacks a definitive edge at the rucks and in general play.
5 Sam Whitelock
Took the responsibility on himself in the line-outs - self-confidence that was comforting for those around him.
4 Luke Romano
With Whitelock doing most of the jumping on their throw, Romano was free to contest against the throw and did a good job in this regard at the front of the line-out. He can still do more in general play as enforcer though.
3 Owen Franks
Satisfactory best sums up his performance. He neither dominated nor let his team down in the scrums.
2 Keven Mealamu
Grew stronger as the match went on, best illustrated by his endeavour in open play and late textbook turnover on the deck.
1 Tony Woodcock
Average in the set-piece.
16 Andrew Hore (on for Mealamu, 77th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.
17 Ben Franks (on for Woodcock, 64th minute)
Not enough time to be rated but certainly made his presence known at scrum time.
18 Brodie Retallick (on for Romano, 52nd minute)
Failed to make a significant impact.
19 Victor Vito
20 Piri Weepu (on for Smith, 79th minute)
Not enough time to be rated.
21 Aaron Cruden
22 Ben Smith