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Player ratings: British and Irish Lions


Richard Shute

Richard Shute rates Warren Gatland's "slabs of red meat" following the first Test.

Alex Cuthbert races in to score. Click for more photos

Wallabies suffer first Test heartbreak

Kurtley Beale's slip while attempting a match-winning penalty ultimately proved the difference as the Lions took a 1-0 series lead. Photo: Getty Images

1. Alex Corbisiero - the surprise starter was as mobile as ever around the fringes, and was quick to throw his body in as second tackler. Missed a key tackle in the build-up to Folau's second try. Kept the scrum steady, and was missed in the set piece when he succumbed to a calf problem after 51 minutes. 6/10

2. Tom Youngs - Gatland will have been very pleased with the hooker's throw-ins at the lineout. Anchored the scrum, and carried the ball strongly when the Lions opted to punch in close. 7/10

3. Adam Jones - the canny Welshman was solid, if not spectacular. Tired badly as the game went on, but was a nuisance for the men in gold. 5/10

4. Alun Wyn Jones - a typically assured game from the big lock, who was busy in the dark areas, and gave good support to his second-row partner who was the preferred lineout option. Bossed the restarts. 6/10

5. Paul O'Connell - Superb hands under pressure in the lineout - at the middle and the back. A real battler, who looks at home in the red. Played his heart out. A key player for the tourists. 7/10

6. Tom Croft - not a great night for the Englishman with the ball in hand, but a good performance in the lineout. Lions fans would have expected more damaging carries from the man with the long legs and big fend. When he did run, his ball protection was iffy. 5/10

7. Sam Warburton (capt) - still not at his best, the Lions captain hit the breakdown fast and hard, but did not have as much success pilfering the ball as he would have liked. Tackled like a lion. 5/10

8. Jamie Heaslip - aside from a couple of dangerous carries from the base of the scrum, the No.8 had a fairly ordinary night. Did not give an inch in contact, but will expect more from himself. 6/10

9. Mike Phillips - The most disappointing of the touring XV, the towering Welsh halfback was schooled by the untouchable Will Genia. He failed to assert himself, even with front-foot ball in the first half, and was rarely seen on the snipe. 4/10

10. Jonathan Sexton - Came back well after being embarrassed by a stepping Israel Folau on the big winger's second. Shortly after threw a lovely delayed pass to put Cuthbert through to score. His decision making and pinpoint kicking from hand drove the Lions to their victory. 7/10

11. George North - There was no hint of a fitness problem from the big winger. When Barnes made the mistake of kicking down his throat, he gave it back with interest. Only a superhuman hand from Israel Folau prevented his second. 8/10

12.  Jonathan Davies - the replacement for the highly-fancied Jamie Roberts was tidy in the first half, but dropped off as the match wore on. Was guilty of overrunning O'Driscoll a couple of times, but tackled barbarically and even forced a turnover or two. 6/10

13. Brian O'Driscoll - A mixed night for the man who lit up the first Test in 2001. Harshly penalised at the breakdown early on. Almost slipped Jonathan Davies in with a lovely show and draw on halftime. Tackled everything that came down his channel. 6/10

14. Alex Cuthbert - Hit a banana skin under the high ball in the first half, and that told the tale for most of the game. Hit a lovely pass from Sexton hard and straight to score a well-taken try. 5/10

15. Leigh Halfpenny - The metronomic boot of the Welsh fullback proved the difference in a incredibly tight Test. Superb goalkicking under pressure. Answered tough questions in defence, and was the man who took down a rampaging Beale late on. 7/10


16. Richard Hibbard -After Corbisiero and Youngs came off, the Lions scrum lost its shape badly, with the Welsh hooker having a night to forget. 4/10

17. Mako Vunipola - Disappointing half-hour cameo from the man who replaced Corbisiero. The Lions scrum was often on the back foot in the last quarter, and he gave away a lazy penalty which could have cost the Lions the ball game. 4/10

18. Dan Cole - Struggled to get hands on the ball, but put in a couple of brutal hits. Has to shoulder the blame of the weakaned scrum performance in the final quarter along with Hibbard and Vunipola. 5/10

19. Geoff Parling - Came on for the final 10, but made little impact. A couple of tackles got his knees dirty, but he will be raring for more time on the field. 5/10

20. Dan Lydiate - An even shorter cameo, but managed to put in two crucial hits. 5/10

21. Ben Youngs - The only replacement that made any real positive impact for the Lions, the English No.9 hit Sexton with fast, flat ball, and offered more penetration around the fringes. Gave the Wallabies more to think about than Phillips. 7/10

22. Owen Farrell - not used

23. Sean Maitland - not used


8 comments so far

  • A game that should have been won by the wallabies, but a case of look at the scoreboard. If injured wallabies can come back and we dont kick to North we should win the second. Oh and dont put O'Connor in at 10, fail!

    Nth Beaches
    Date and time
    June 23, 2013, 1:08AM
    • Hmm.. not a game that should have been won at all. The Wallabies were lucky that the Lions hadn't put daylight between them in the first half. Genia's well taken snipe from the penalty was excellent but the Wallabies should have been penalised for killing the ruck.

      Wrecking Ball
      Date and time
      June 23, 2013, 5:52PM
  • I thought the refereeing was terrible. The Wallabies were gifted loads of penalties 'coz Pollack does not know how to referee at the breakdown. Considering the Lions dominated both possession & territory, with some better refereeing, the Lions should win comfortably next week. If the Lions had lost, it would've been a travesty & my comments would've sounded like sour grapes. Thank god the Aussie kickers both choked repeatedly. Come on Lions, let's make it 3-nil!

    The Gadger
    Date and time
    June 23, 2013, 4:00AM
    • I thought the refereeing was strong & fair, particularly at the breakdown and in the scrums, both of which have so much going on at once that they are difficult for anybody to police. Neither side looked like clear winners: the travesty is that that the ability of the kicker is more likely to decide the result of a rugby match than rugby playing ability of the team as a whole.

      Free agent
      Date and time
      June 23, 2013, 10:35PM
  • Fair assessment of the performances and good analysis - roll on Melbourne

    Old bloke
    Date and time
    June 23, 2013, 5:19AM
    • Same predictable Wallabies. Oh for the days of Mark Ella and Campo actually creating space for their team mates. Apart from Mowen, Horwill, Genia and Folau our team was average. Barnes should be retired with his porn star moustache. McCabe likewise as the pair are simply too injury prone. Our backs were mostly poor, crabbing across the field and not running any decent angles. That is Dingo's fault for not picking players in form or in the right position. They will only improve from this game but they need some mongrel and Kimlin can provide that. Next week may well decide the next All Blacks coach earlier than we all predicted and Dingo may be completely out of a job.

      Big Roach
      Date and time
      June 23, 2013, 9:13AM
      • and bring back Quade Cooper - that test was made for him and he would have kicked all the penalties as well. Swallow of pride Dingo D, get on your knees and ask Quade to return to the fold and you should resign after Quade has won the 2nd test for you.

        Date and time
        June 24, 2013, 11:27AM
    • as an expat welshman i thoroughly enjoyed the game yesterday, a proper test match which is why im really annoyed at Pollock, when are we going to get to grips with the breakdown situations in regards to interpretations between Northern and Souther Hempishere, i really felt for O'driscoll and Warburton, on a number of occasions it was 'fair' game and Pollock penelised them, you could see the bemusement on O'driscoll's face and pleading with him to wtach the repaly on a number of occasions, this clearly affected our game in the threat of a following yellow card. Which brings me to the next point, how you guys kept 15 on the end of the fisrt half is a mystery, it was a clear scoring chanec which was spoilt at the breakdown on the try line. I felt for beale, and it was great for Sexton to come out and offer words of sympathy. But i have to tell you lads, as a welshman who has had his faie share of last minute losses to the souther hempisheres, this was well over due!

      Date and time
      June 23, 2013, 7:12PM

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