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Lions v South Africa player ratings as Itoje and Lawes superb and Alun Wyn Jones defies belief

15 Stuart Hogg 6

Turned over while counter-attacking and kicked the ball dead before 10 minutes were on the clock. No chance to showcase his famous evasive running

14 Anthony Watson 6

Caught out of position a few times by Faf de Klerk’s kicking. One lovely slaloming run from his own try line but no real opportunity to showcase what he does best in attack.

13 Eliot Daly 5

Rag-dolled by Lukhanyo Am early on, then penalised twice for not releasing in a tackle and playing the ball on the floor – the latter costing three points. One 55m penalty attempt that fell just short.

12 Robbie Henshaw 7

Searing break just before half-time when ball was dislodged from his one-handed grasp. Bottled up well by Boks defence but one of few Lions backs to make some yardage.

11 Duhan van der Merwe 6

Great early take of a steepling Faf de Klerk kick. Never stopped probing and was difficult to bring down when he got up a head of steam. Will probably keep his place next week, but nothing spectacular.

10 Dan Biggar 7

Picked some clever passes to release Henshaw on a couple of occasions. Uncharacteristic penalty miss from close range in the first half but the way he then recovered to land crucial goal shots said it all about his big match temperament. Off after 66 minutes following a bang to the head.

9 Ali Price 6

Put in the shade by Faf de Klerk, with Price not exerting enough pressure on the Springbok put-in. Some measured box-kicking but didn’t give the Bok back row much to think about. Fairly steady overall though.

1 Rory Sutherland 7

Penalised for hinging at a scrum at the end of the first half and given a very tough examination at the set-piece by Trevor Nyakane, but never took a backward step.

2 Luke Cowan-Dickie 6

Lauded after Stormers performance but this was a huge step up. Got flustered after early lineout trouble and botched a short throw in the 29th minute. Try in 44th minute got Lions back in it. Under pressure from Ken Owens for his place next week.

3 Tadhg Furlong 8

At the forefront of repelling the Boks’ physical power. Anchored a scrum that improved as the game went on. One counter-shover in the 34th minute after the Lions had initially retreated won a penalty and epitomised the Irishman’s bullishness.

4 Maro Itoje 8

Rocked back in an early tackle by Eben Etzebeth but came back strong to win the official man of the match award. Some Trojan turnover work including one steal in the 23rd minute that probably saved his team a try.

5 Alun Wyn Jones 8

Steadied the lineout after some early wobbles. Courageous captain’s call to go to touch with penalty that led top Cowan-Dickie’s try. Dispelled any lingering doubts about his physical readiness after shoulder dislocation by not shirking a thing.



Lions players celebrate as Luke Cowan-Dickie stretches over to score their side’s first try

6 Courtney Lawes 8

Struggled first half to make his presence felt, particularly at the breakdown, but his influence grew later on with some brilliant surging ball carrying. In fact, his second half display was absolutely magnificent.

7 Tom Curry 6

The Englishman’s work rate and energy was off the scale at times, his kick-chasing a particular thorn in South African sides. But he was also over-eager. Offside stymied early Lions attack, and pinged for a late challenge on Faf de Klerk. Outgunned at breakdown in a very tough first half.

8 Jack Conan 6

Solid from the Irishman who kept out Taulupe Faletau, but no more. The Lions needed a No8 who could get over the gainline and Conan couldn’t, apart from one snaking first half spurt. However, he stood up to everything that came his way.


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16 Ken Owens 6

Cannonball Ken arrived in the 56th minute and brought his experience to bear as the Lions pack gradually got on top. Solid with his throwing in at the lineout.

17 Mako Vunipola 7

Another who came on in the 56th minute – for Rory Sutherland – and went about his business in an unflustered and efficient way. Strong in the scrum where he’s been doubted before.

18 Kyle Sinckler 7

Entered the fray with 14 minutes left for Tadhg Furlong and helped win a scrum penalty almost immediately. A decent cameo effort.

19 Tadhg Beirne 6

Replaced Lawes late on and added fresh impetus.

20 Hamish Watson 5

Relieved Tom Curry just before the final quarter, but was lucky to escape a yellow card for one dangerous tackle. Put himself about as he always does.

21 Conor Murray 6

The former captain arrived for Ali Price in the 63rd minute and his experience and composure in the No9 jersey was important in the closing, frantic stages.

22 Owen Farrell 7

On in the 64th minute and almost immediately found himself at fly-half when Biggar went off with a head knock. Nothing fancy from the Englishman, but another one who’s been there and done it and who wasn’t fazed by the occasion – as his nerveless 78th minute penalty proved.

23 Liam Williams 6

On for Duhan van der Merwe for the last 10 minutes. Little chance to have a major influence but did his work well.

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