The Lions gave a lot of razzle dazzle but couldn’t stop the All Black wave of physical domination to maintain their imposing winning streak at Eden Park. So which players stood out above the rest?
15 Liam Williams 8
Fairly quiet until scintillating 50 metres break out launched classic Lions counter-attacking try. Fizzing after that and looked a threat every time he had space. Perhaps a little tired when he dropped a swirling high ball over his head which lead to Ioane’s second try.
14 Anthony Watson 8
Strong runs without the space he needed in the first half. Really sprang to life in second half and threatened to run through the All Black team with his electric pace. Seems to be forming a good combination with Williams.
13 Jonathan Davies 8
Excellent burst through All Blacks defense to almost set up early try. Heavily tested but resolute defense and efficient link play to find O’Brien for try. Team Player of the Match.
12 Ben Te’o 7
Very strong defense and runs without seeming like he would break open the All Black defense.
11 Elliot Daly 7
Intelligent, sharp wing play. Good reactivity under high ball and great in and away to continue Williams’ break out move. Got burned by Ioane for his second try but possibly feeling the effects of a brutal match.
10 Owen Farrell 6
Good link play without having a huge influence. Missed a crucial conversion.
9 Conor Murray 6.5
Pinpoint box kicks but his sniping runs seem to have gone missing and Rhys Webb added real spark and a try when he came off the bench.
8 Toby Faletau 6.5
Industrious with a team leading massive 20 tackles without the dominating presence of his opposite, Kieran Read.
7 Sean O’Brien 6
Superb support to finish off try. Otherwise outshone by Sam Cane.
6 Peter O’Mahony (c) 7
Strong game highlighted by 13 tackles and excellent work in lineout. Perhaps needs to add a touch more in his running game.
5 Alun Wyn Jones 6
Lots of involvement in the mauls and breakdowns and solid in lineouts but Maro Itoje added more physicality when he came on.
4 George Kruis 6.5
Strong presence in lineout including one steal and good metre-eating charge in first half. A few handling problems in second half.
3 Tadhg Furlong 6.5
Forced an unnecessary offload which released pressure on All Blacks. Good charge down but perhaps better to keep his game simpler.
2 Jamie George 7
Industrious in tackling with 17, excellent line out throwing, conceded a turnover to Retallick.
1 Mako Vunipola 6
Good involvement around the field without any of his trademark offloads.
Replacements: 16. Ken Owens N/A 17. Jack McGrath 6 18. Kyle Sinckler 7 19. Maro Itoje 7.5 20. Sam Warburton 6 21. Rhys Webb 8 22. Jonathan Sexton 6 23. Leigh Halfpenny N/A
15 Ben Smith 6.5
A few weaving runs but his lack of surety under high ball was a sign that his concussion symptoms had returned and off at 27 minutes. Beauden Barrett moved to fullback.
14 Israel Dagg 7
Lots of intelligent link play in All Black tries and important booming punts for territory. Excellent, crucial cover tackle to stop Daley’s surge for the tryline early in the first half.
13 Ryan Crotty 7
Ran typically intelligent lines and sound defense until hobbled off with hamstring injury. Replaced by Anton Lienert Brown.
12 Sonny Bill Williams 7.5
Efficient powerful game strong on defense and judicious in his offloading, keeping things tighter in the second half.
11 Rieko Ioane 8
Very quiet first half as most play was down the opposite wing. A few strong runs and good finish to score first try for All Blacks. Sensational second try when he latched onto a stray bounce and burned no less than Eliot Daley to the line. Steve Hansen’s yoda instincts strike again. Leading metres run by all players with 91.
10 Beauden Barrett 7.5
Immaculate and important place kicking. Not many trademark runs until late second half surge toward line but was in less familiar position of fullback.
9 Aaron Smith 8.5
Back to his very best. Outshone Murray in terms of influence with his snappy offloading and support play. Excellent high kicks and sharp instinctive decisions especially when taking the tap penalty which led to first All Black try.
8 Kieran Read (c) 9
Huge game from the captain in his first game back from injury. Lead the number of carries, making metres almost every time and some sumptuous offloads. Team Player of the Match.
7 Sam Cane 8.5
Massive workrate dominating the breakdown and very visible in carries and bruising tackles. A few errors and a penalty in second half could not blight an impressive performance.
6 Jerome Kaino 8
Some thundering charges in the first half, quieter after that but was part of a back row which won the break down battle.
5 Sam Whitelock 7
Good tough game, good lineout steal in second half to thwart strong Lions position. Excellent rugged defense with team leading 11 tackles.
4 Brodie Retallick 8.5
Another outstanding, multi-faceted game. Strong tackling, especially on Anthony Watson who was threatening to streak to the line. Won turnovers, lots of intelligent continuity phase play.
3 Owen Franks 7.5
Strong tackling and part of a scrum which probably had the edge over the Lions overall.
2 Codie Taylor 7.5
Brilliant pick up at bootlaces to score first All Black try out wide. A few wobbly line out throws but did enough to ensure Dane Coles’ presence wasn’t missed too much.
1 Joe Moody 7
Strong in scrums and in tackling and the tight.
Kaal Kaczmarek, Pundit Arena
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