Sat 31 Jul 2021 | 10:36

Player Ratings: Back down to earth

Player Ratings: Back down to earth
Sat 31 Jul 2021 | 10:36
Player Ratings: Back down to earth
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OPINION: After a heated and very public discord during the week, it could be argued that this second Test hype exceeded the first for pre-match hype, but again it was an ugly affair.

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Leading 9-6 at the break, the British and Irish Lions struggled with the Springboks’ physicality and were outsourced by their hosts 27-9.

Ian Cameron rates the British and Irish Lions players

15. STUART HOGG – 5.5
Scrappy-dappy-do from Hogg, who struggled in the air, especially in the first half. With the Lions not really looking to play a style of rugby that suits his attacking abilities, his selection ahead of Liam Williams doesn’t quite add up.

14. ANTHONY WATSON – 5
Anonymous in the first half and not much better in the second half, conceding three turnovers. Part of a badly malfunctioning Lions back three.

13. CHRIS HARRIS – 7
Huge hit on Lukanyo Am set the tone for the Lions defensive line. Smart, basketball-style handling was a feature of his game on this tour and he brought that here.

12. ROBBIE HENSHAW – 6
TMO interpretation is a massive part of the professional game and Henshaw might well argue he scored his try just before halftime. Defensively sound.

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11. DUHAN VAN DER MERWE – 5
A mind-boggling brain fade to soccer kick Cheslin Kolbe off his feet, having already got away with a potentially cardable follow-through tackle that ended PSDT’s evening early. Seemed helpless at times under the high ball. Emotions maybe got to the big man, with the Boks constantly needling him.

10. DAN BIGGAR – 6
Reasonably assured, especially off the boot. Even able to overcome a mystery kidney shot during the fracas preceding Kolbe’s yellow card. Pollard grew into the game where Biggar seemed to stagnate.

9. CONOR MURRAY – 6
Brought back in for the accuracy of his box kicking but the Springboks really got to him here, dirtying up or destroying a lot of Lions’ ball. It was a minute-to-minute affair this evening that should have suited Murray, but the lack of tempo at 9 has been a factor all tour for the Lions.

1. MAKO VUNIPOLA – 6
A strong cameo in the first Test saw him leapfrog Sutherland into the Test team, but Malherbe proved a real headache for Vunipola. Thrived in the hand-to-hand combat and he made the most post-contact metres of any Lions’ forward.

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2. LUKE COWAN-DICKIE – 6
His carrying style caused the Boks’ real problems and he was used effectively as a first receiver to eke out metres in the 9 – 10 channel.

3. TADHG FURLONG – 5.5
It became another tit-for-tat battle at the setpiece, with Furlong struggling with the awful surface. Gave away more than his fair share of penalties, although we finally saw him open with some trademark carries.

4. MARO ITOJE – 7
None of the heroics of last week and spent most of his time in the trenches. Cleaned up any number of Lions’ messes.

5. ALUN WYN JONES – 7.5
Got up close and personal with Etzebeth when things boiled over in the opening minutes, and was a constant standard-bearer for the Lions’ physicality, leaving the field a bloodied mess.

6. COURTNEY LAWES – 6
MOTM last week but a quieter shift here. Lost a lineout on the South African line, although the Lions came away with three points a few moments later, partly thanks to teammate Itoje forcing the Boks back over their own line. Lions might well carry more next week and you wonder will Beirne get a shot at starting.

7. TOM CURRY – 6
Got distracted by the off-the-ball stuff and failed to impose himself in a meaningful way against the monstrous Bok pack.

8. JACK CONAN – 6
Missed an opportunity to score off a 34th-minute scrum that was wheeling him towards the line with no defender in sight, when he chose instead to pop it to Murray on the blindside. Tremendously consistent and hard to fault.

By Ian Cameron, Rugbypass

PV: 71
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