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Lions player ratings as the tourists clinch the first test thanks to strong second half

Lions player ratings

The British and Irish Lions were poor in the opening 40 minutes, but a slow and steady second half performance was enough to beat the Springboks.

A number of Lions players stood up to make a difference in what was a tense, cagey affair, although several also struggled to get to grips with the South Africans in a sloppy first half.

Check out our Lions player ratings below.

15. Stuart Hogg: 7

The Scotsman didn’t have many opportunities to attack but he fielded the Springboks’ kicks well and made a number of good kicks of his own. He will likely start again next week in what will be just his second cap in three tours for the Lions.

14. Anthony Watson: 6

The Englishman didn’t see too much of the ball, in a tense encounter in which the wingers of both the Lions and South Africa were given few opportunities. He didn’t stand out, but expect him to start in the second test.

13. Elliot Daly: 5

He was smashed by Lukhanyo Am right at the start of the game and things didn’t get much better for Daly from there. He gave away a couple of silly penalties and was partially at fault for Willie Le Roux’s try.

12. Robbie Henshaw: 7

Made a great break in the first half in what was the Lions’ first foray into the Springboks’ 22, although he did lose the ball thanks to a great tackle from Le Roux. He defended well as always, in what was a solid display from Henshaw.

11. Duhan van der Merwe: 7

Didn’t have too many opportunities but when he was given the ball he carried well. Gave away a penalty for coming in the side of a ruck which South Africa turned into points, but overall he played well.

10. Dan Biggar: 8

He missed a penalty he really should have gotten in the first half, but he improved as the game went on to score a number of crucial three-pointers in what was a forward-dominated game.

9. Ali Price: 7

The Scottish scrum-half didn’t excel in Cape Town, but he performed admirably in a game that arguably doesn’t suit his style of play. He didn’t have many opportunities to catch the South Africans out but he box kicked well.

8. Jack Conan: 8

The Leinster man made four more carries than any other Lions player, and made good ground in the majority of those runs. While he spent most of his time attacking, six tackles isn’t bad from the go-to ball carrier.

7. Tom Curry: 6

Made eight good tackles in his 57 minutes on the field but his discipline was poor, as he gave away two penalties in the first half which Handre Pollard duly converted.

6. Courtney Lawes: 9

Many were surprised he was selected to start but Lawes was the Lions’ best player on the pitch. He was the tourists’ top tackler, tied with Jones and Itoje, and was second only to Conan with his number of carries, while he was perfect at lineout time.

5. Alun Wyn Jones: 8

The fact that the Welshman was playing at all is extraordinary, but the fact he was one of the tourists’ best players is even more impressive. He made 10 tackles in total, and led from the front in a physical affair.

Lions

4. Maro Itoje: 8

He made two great steals in the first half, one of which could very well have stopped the Springboks from scoring an early try. He made 10 tackles in total, and while he didn’t do much in attack he was a constant thorn in the South Africans’ side.

3. Tadhg Furlong: 6

Did well to eke out a scrum penalty from Ox Nche on one occasion, but overall the Irishman wasn’t as involved as he normally is. He should start the second test but needs to up his intensity a bit.

2. Luke Cowan-Dickie: 6

His lineout throwing was poor in the first half and he wasn’t overly busy in open play. However, his throwing came good at a crucial time early on in the second half and he did well to score his try.

Lions

1. Rory Sutherland: 5

The Scotsman was handed a start on late notice and he struggled to impose himself on the game, losing the scrum battle to Trevor Nyakane on a couple of occasions.

Replacements: 8

The Lions were poor in the first half and the bench was crucial to turning the game in the tourists’ favour. The front row replacements were perhaps the most crucial, as the Lions got the upper hand in the set piece late on.

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