New Zealand player ratings: Aaron Smith rolls back the years with stunning performance in Cardiff

Colin Newboult

Following a dominant 55-23 victory over Wales in their Autumn Nations Series Test in Cardiff on Saturday, here’s the player ratings for New Zealand.

15 Beauden Barrett: Solid under the high ball and some nice touches in attack, although not at his influential best. 7

14 Sevu Reece: Not involved too much as New Zealand went route one but defended pretty well. 6

13 Rieko Ioane: Another that was quiet as the All Blacks didn’t really explore the wider channels too much. 6

12 Jordie Barrett: Excellent yet again. With the visitors playing a tighter game, his ballast was crucial for Ian Foster’s men getting over the gain line. 8

11 Caleb Clarke: Like Reece, he didn’t see much of the ball. 5

10 Richie Mo’unga: Did his chances of cementing his position no harm at all. Controlled play nicely and showed plenty of variety in attack. 8

9 Aaron Smith: Utterly outstanding. Smith is no longer the best scrum-half in the world but, with more performances like that, he will soon be competing with Antoine Dupont for that mantle. 9

Forwards overpower Wales

8 Ardie Savea: Another to play a key role in their dominant victory. Superb at the breakdown and always made metres with ball in hand. 9

7 Dalton Papali’i: Is putting pressure on Sam Cane for the openside flanker jersey. A fine break in the early exchanges set the tone and he was ubiquitous both sides of the ball. 8

6 Shannon Frizell: Not as influential as his back-row partners but did the hard yards at close quarters. 7

5 Scott Barrett: A workhorse in the engine room as New Zealand dominated the physical battle. 7

4 Sam Whitelock (c): Continued his fine year with another good display. Lineout went smoothly and was busy around the field. 7

3 Tyrel Lomax: Scrummaged really well once again and carried hard. Impressive. 8

2 Codie Taylor: Answered his critics, including us, with an excellent performance. Scored two tries but, most importantly, the set-piece was strong. 8

1 Ethan de Groot: See Lomax. The two props work really nicely in tandem and add real physicality in both the loose and tight. 8

Replacements: Helped to take the game away from Wales. Samisoni Taukei’aho was once again magnificent, while Fletcher Newell and Akira Ioane also made impacts. 8

READ MORE: All Blacks maintain dominance over Wales with comfortable win in Cardiff