While the British and Irish Lions eventually ran out as 40-point winners, their first-half performance was far below their usual standards.
The Sharks were much improved in fairness to them, but the red card to Jaden Hendrikse destroyed their chances of causing an enormous upset against an off-colour Lions side.
Check out our Lions player ratings below.
Another excellent game of rugby is in the books.
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) July 10, 2021
15. Liam Williams: 7
The Welshman didn’t have too many opportunities to show off his capabilities but he did do everything that was asked of him in a frantic encounter.
14. Anthony Watson: 8
Watson made sure to make a big impression in his first game for the Lions this summer, scoring two tries in a performance that underlined his phenomenal attacking ability.
13. Elliot Daly: 6
He dropped a ball under no pressure which led to an early breakaway try for the Sharks, but Daly did look dangerous when given a bit of space in attack.
12. Chris Harris: 7
Harris was slightly out of position at inside centre, but the Scotsman put in a good shift in a scrappy game that didn’t necessarily suit the defensive mastermind.
11. Duhan van der Merwe: 8
The Scotland winger impressed again in his third game in Lions colours, causing panic in the Sharks’ defence every time he got his hands on the ball.
10. Dan Biggar: 6
The Welshman made a nice break and gave a good offload for van der Merwe’s second try, but Biggar also made a number of uncharacteristic errors, most notably his bad pass which led to Sharks’ fourth try.
9. Gareth Davies: 5
Threw a bad pass which was intercepted by Jaden Hendrikse who ran untouched to score a try. The Welshman made a number of poor decisions aside from that in a performance that harmed his test chances.
8. Jack Conan: 8
Made a whopping 15 carries in an impressive 57 minute-long performance, while also making nine tackles. Conan was a somewhat surprise inclusion in Gatland’s squad but he is putting his hand up for a test spot.
7. Hamish Watson: 7
While he certainly didn’t play as well as he did against the Johannesburg-based Lions, the Scottish flanker kept busy in attack and defence and didn’t do his test chances any harm.
6. Tadhg Beirne: 7
The Kildare man is clearly well able to score tries, having picked up two today, and is a talented poacher, but he needs to do a bit more in defence to lock down a test place.
5. Jonny Hill: 5
The Exeter Chiefs lock just didn’t get through much work at Loftus Versfield, and doesn’t look like getting anywhere near the Lions’ match-day squad for the first test against the Springboks.
4. Courtney Lawes: 6
The towering Englishman made a number of trademark powerful carries, but for the most part he struggled to make much of an impact against a much-improved Sharks effort.
3. Tadhg Furlong: 6
The Lions’ scrum got the upper hand against the Sharks but Furlong was quiet by his standards in the loose. The Irishman is still the favourite to start in the first test but he’ll want to improve in his next outing.
2. Jamie George: 8
The new captain played well in a scrappy opening 55 minutes, scoring two tries and making nine tackles. He is very much in contention for starting the first test against the Springboks.
1. Rory Sutherland: 7
The Scottish prop made plenty of carries while himself and Furlong also got early dominance in the scrum. Such an open game doesn’t normally suit front row players but Sutherland didn’t look out of place.
While the Lions were much-improved in the second half that was down to Hendrikse’s red card just as much as it was down to the impact of the bench. Tour captain Conor Murray was equally as poor at scrum-half as Davies was, costing the Lions a try almost as soon as he was introduced.