The Lions put in a powerful forward performance which gave them a much needed 32-10 victory over the Maori All Blacks.
Mako Vunipola – 8
Quiet enough from Vunipola in the opening quarter but then he won an amazing turnover at the breakdown on the half-hour mark to put the Lions in a great position. Grew into the game with some good carries and contributed to a dominant scrum. Left the field on 59 minutes.
Jamie George – 7
Solid throwing at the lineout and played a blinder in the scrum. Probably not as prominent in the loose as he would have liked but a very good display nonetheless. Came off after 64 minutes.
Tadhg Furlong – 7
Was prominent in the loose at the beginning of the game and showed good support play on Murray’s shoulder when the Munster man made a break. Conceded a turnover at the end of the first half despite Vunipola doing his best to tell him to release the ball at the ruck. Left the field after 64 minutes.
— Seán McMahon (@Sean_McMahon89) June 17, 2017
Maro Itoje – 8
Carried well at beginning of the match. Got held up in the carry in the first half and conceded a penalty as a result. Needs to go lower into contact to avoid situations such as this. Held a pass from Murray in the first half. Showed great work rate throughout and was consistently competing at the breakdown and holding players up. Brave and correct call to go for the try when he had little support – spotted that there was an opportunity and executed it. Surely this puts him ahead of Alun Wyn Jones?
George Kruis – 8
Good charge down from Kruis in the first half. Carried really well, generally from a standing start but someone has to do it. Great work rate along with his second-row partner. Was a leader in the lineout and contributed to a strong set piece which was crucial to the Lions. Left the field on 59 minutes.
Peter O’Mahony – 7
Typical performance from O’Mahony. Carried, tackled and hit the ruck like a machine. His communication with Jaco Peyper was excellent when many players would have been frustrated with the opposition’s indiscipline. The lineout was solid and a lot of that goes down to the Munster man.
Sean O’Brien – 7
Some very good work from O’Brien at the breakdown unlucky not to win a penalty on a few occasions when the Maori were clearly holding on. Forced an offload in the second half.
Taulupe Faletau – 8
Did very well throughout with a typical performance which was characterised by a large number of carries and tackles. What impressed most was his footwork with the ball in hand – he’s able to gain that extra one or two metres when most players wouldn’t. He forced an offload at one stage which put pressure back on his side but besides that he was excellent.
Conor Murray – 8
Great box kicking from Murray which the Maoris just could not deal with. Assured and controlled performance as we have come to expect.
Jonathan Sexton – 9
Great break from Sexton after two minutes and he mixed the play up well. Great break and offload to Davies in the first half, too. Beautiful kick into the corner on 26 minutes. Great restarts from the flyhalf which led contestable balls for his wingers. An all-action performance and looks the man to lead the Lions unless Owen Farrell can recover from his injury.
George North – 6
Should have dealt with the grubber kick which led to the Maori try. Did well to claim the ball on 28 minutes but he was expected to do so. Left the field at 63 minutes. Overall, a disappointing performance from North who based on his performances thus far, should not start against the All Blacks on Saturday.
Ben Te’o – 8
Good little break at beginning of match. Good tackle on MacKenzie when he tried to break free. Te’o then smashed MacKenzie again in the build up to what was an almost try from Jamie George at the beginning of the second half. Scintillating linebreak in the last 10 minutes but the lack of Lions support play strikes again.
Jonathan Davies – 8
Made a great break in the first half and was for long periods of the match, the most dangerous player in Lions backline. He will surely start at 13 for the Lions against the All Blacks.
Anthony Watson – 7
Contested well from Murray’s box kick and did well to force the penalty. Watson competed very well again for a high ball from Sexton and this lead to a knock on from a Maori player. Probably didn’t get to show his attacking credentials as much as he would have liked but from a defensive point of view, he was solid. He will have tougher tasks ahead if he faces the All Blacks next Saturday.
Leigh Halfpenny – 7
Unbelievable take from Halfpenny on 26 minutes from his own up and under. 100% from the tee. Was solid from a defensive point of view and looks nailed on for the first Test match.
Ken Owens – 6
Jack McGrath – 6
Kyle Sinckler – 6
Iain Henderson – 6
Got stuck in straight away with some powerful carries.
Sam Warburton – 6
Greig Laidlaw – N/A
Not on long enough to rate.
Dan Biggar – N/A
Not on long enough to rate.
Elliot Daly – 5
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