For a week-day fixture sandwiched between two Tests, there was a lot on the line at Westpac Stadium. Could Courtney Lawes and CJ Stander push for Test positions? Would Julian Savea vent his All Black non-selection rage on the Lions backs?
Would Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape show enough poise for them to enter the Test starting line-up? Here are our player ratings for the 31-31 nail-biter:
15 Jack Nowell (6)
A busy beginning in a new position. Unfortunately had to shift to right wing after Henshaw’s injury which limited his involvement.
14 Tommy Seymour (8)
Seymour is one of those players who takes opportunities. He was on hand to run off Laidlaw’s shoulder for a runaway try and added another in the second half.
One wonders if his killer instincts are making Gatland think twice about the right wing or bench spots.
13 Jonathan Joseph (6.5)
Not many opportunities on attack. Nice chip in second half to almost set up a try scoring move for North and started to use his footwork to cause problems late in the game.
12 Robbie Henshaw (N/A)
Not sighted much and then off after shoulder injury. Leigh Halfpenny (6.5) was brave in the tackle and under the high ball until he dropped a sitter late in the second half.
11 George North (7.5)
Shifted into midfield after Henshaw’s injury and proved to be a godsend as he finally a chance to run at the defense. Made 59 metres playing like a rampaging back rower and beat five defenders. Rewarded with a try running off Henderson’s silky offload. Easily his best game on tour.
10 Dan Biggar (7.5)
Impressive, influential first half with strong passing, place-kicking and running.
His game became a bit wobbly late in the game as he had concussion and Laumape issues, but impressive overall.
9 Greig Laidlaw (6)
Very laboured delivery but good defensive kicks and excellent intercept leading to Seymour’s try.
8 CJ Stander (6)
Some strong drives and involvement but not huge advances over the gameline and not enough impact to unseat Faletau at number 8 in the Test side.
7 Justin Tipuric (7.5)
Quick to the breakdowns and some good link play.
Massive tackle count with 20 in the game with no misses.
6 James Haskell (6)
Not sighted much with ball in hands became more involved in the second half.
5 Courtney Lawes (7.5)
Big tough game, combative tackling and in mauls. Strong takes from kick-offs and lineouts. Subbed early in second half for George Kruis a sign that he may have forced his way into the Test side.
4 Ian Henderson (8)
Classy game with tackle-busting drives and lovely soft hands to offload to North for try. Huge runs in second half. Thirteen carries in the game, making 48 metres and beating three defenders.
Unfortunately yellow-carded for lifting tackle on Jordie Barrett which proved crucial in igniting the Hurricanes comeback. Other than that easily the Team Player of the Match and must be in contention for the second Test.
3 Dan Cole (6.5)
Good stamina throughout game. Jumped on a turnover and almost sped away for a runaway try. Almost.
2 Rory Best (c) (7)
Strong involvement and much improved throwing to the lineout. Good drives and high tackle count with 14 completed.
1 Joe Marler (7)
A few dicey tackles, strong runs especially in second half, decent scrummaging, lots of scuffles -pretty much standard outing for Marler.
Replacements: K Dacey (N/A), A Dell (N/A), T Francis (N/A), C Hill (N/A), G Kruis (6), G Davies (N/A), F Russell (6)
15 Jordie Barrett (7)
A bit of a mixed bag with some classy offloads and huge touch-finding kicks. Mixed in a few errors but plays much older than his 20 years. Beautiful huge cut out pass to set up Goosen for try in second half.
His running game became more threatening later in the game as gaps opened. Ran a game high 144 metres. Could be a bench option for Hansen but probably not enough to replace Ben Smith at 15.
14 Nehe Milner-Skudder (6.5)
Some lovely playmaking touches, useful kicks but not many sights of his twinkling feet.
13 Vince Aso (6)
Streaked back to run down Laidlaw and lovely pass to put Savea into space. Useful but still some maturing to do to reach the heights of his midfield partner.
12 Ngani Laumape (8)
Eleven carries, 119 metres, full of danger busting the line with his power and excellent lines.
Missed four tackles but otherwise looked real Test quality and head and shoulders (but not much neck) the Team Player of the Match.
11 Julian Savea (6.5)
A few solid runs in an otherwise quiet first half. Burst through gap to set up early second half try for Hurricanes and then some good offloads. Solid game but probably didn’t do quite enough to return to the All Blacks starting team.
10 Otere Black (6)
Composed game highlighted by nice dart to put Laumape into space. Subbed early in second half with Jordie Barrett moving into fly-half.
9 Te Toiroa-Tahuriorangi (6)
Good busy game with faster service than his counterpart.
8 Brad Shields (capt) (7)
Brutal defense from the Hurricanes leader and solid drives over gainline but forced a few too many offloads leading to knock ons.
7 Callum Gibbins (7)
Solid game, game high tackle rate of 19 and scored a good driving try.
6 Vaea Fifita (7.5)
Big athletic player, stronger leg drives throughout game running 51 metres in total, and rewarded with try driving over the top of a ruck. Missed three tackles but showed why he is part of the All Blacks wider squad.
5 Sam Lousi (7.5)
Powerful in the mauls leading to a few turnovers including crucial one on Nowell with a minute left.
High tackle count with 17 with no misses. Showed potential.
4 Mark Abbott (7)
Strong game showing excellent stamina and second highest tackle count with 18.
3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen (7)
Very good drives to ensure continuity in Hurricanes forward momentum.
2 Ricky Ricitelli (6)
Flew into rucks all game and good line out throws.
1 Ben May (6)
Gave away two first half penalties but solid involvement otherwise.
Replacements: L Apisai (N/A) C Eves (6) , M Kainga (N/A ) , J Blackwell (N/A ) , R Prinsep(N/A ) , K Hauiti-Parapara( 6 ) , W Goosen( 6.5 ) , C Jane( N/A) .
Kaal Kaczmarek, Pundit Arena
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