Australia v Lions Final Test: Lions Player Ratings

15. Leigh Halfpenny: 10
This was surely one of the most complete fullback performances ever. Whenever the Australians kicked, Halfpenny seemed to be there. His own kicking was of the highest quality, as usual, from both hand and tee. And then there were the two assists, which saw him slice through the opposition defensive line before giving beautifully-timed passes to first Sexton and the North. Superlatives overflow for the man of the series.

14. Tommy Bowe: 7.5
Bowe was the quietest of the outside backs. He won a crucial turnover and popped up in midfield to make a couple of carries, but did not make the headlines as those around him did. Still, was a valuable part of a dominant back-line.

13. Jonathan Davies: 9
100% justified Gatland’s faith with a performance of the highest order. His left boot, which has been woefully underused this series, pinned the Australians back at any opportunity. For the decisive Sexton try, his part was arguably more important than Halfpenny’s as he glided outside his man – not unlike the great man he replaced – before freeing his hands to get the ball away. Superb stuff from Davies

12. Jamie Roberts: 8
Back with a bang, Roberts did everything we knew he would and he did it to the highest standard. The defensive general, he also crowned his performance with a briliantly taken try – picking a gorgeous line off Murray, he still had plenty to do as he shrugged off a couple of would-be defenders on his way to the line.

11. George North: 8.5
North has emerged as one of the finest wingers in world rugby on this tour, and he continued that form in this game. Finished his try well but was busy in open play as well, offering himself as a runner often. He is also a quality high-ball taker, as he showed by claiming both attacking and defensive kicks.

10. Johnny Sexton: 8.5
Another brilliant all-round performance from a Lion, this is the one we had been waiting for from Sexton. He attacked the line and brought Roberts and Davies into the game, while also kicking intelligently – including several well-weighted and directed bombs. The only blight on his game was missing opposite man O’Connor as he danced to the line.

9. Mike Phillips: 6.5
Sadly it was fairly average stuff again from Phillips. There was a lovely pass in the opening minute for Corbisiero’s try, but after that it went down hill. His box-kicking was aimless and his service poor, while he still has this penchant for going himself when it is clearly not on. Mowen shackled him effectively once again.

1. Alex Corbisiero: 9.5
Had this man been starting the second test the series might have been over already. His technique in the scrum is perfect, as Adam Jones noted after the game – and there are few in a better position to hand out praise to looseheads than a man who has made mincemeat of so many of them over the years. He also made an impressive seven carries, and even scored a try. Not many would have had money on him as first try scorer!

2. Richard Hibbard: 8
It was questioned coming into the game whether he deserved it over Youngs but like so many others he more than justified Gatland’s faith. Smashed heads with George Smith in the opening exchanges and bounced back to his feet, while the Aussie great was forced off all wobbly-kneed. Is he made of concrete?!

3. Adam Jones: 9
Oof this man can scrummage. He does not offer much else but really that does not matter in the slightest. Like Corbisiero, his technique is perfect and with Hibbard inside him and A-W Jones behind him, that was surely one of the most formidable scrummaging units ever put together. The Aussies never stood a chance.

4. Alun-Wyn Jones: 9
12 carries, 22 metres made and 12 tackles. Incredible stats for a second row, but for the man entrusted with leading the Lions in such a huge game and making all their decisions? Unbelievable. There was no leadership void, and for that this giant Welshman must take great credit.

5. Geoff Parling: 8.5
That tap tackle on Jesse Mogg was so, so vital. The momentum was starting to shift and an Australian try would have been devastating. As it is he extended his go-go-gadget arms and brought the live-wire fullback down, to the great relief of everyone in red. Made a further 11 tackles and carried strongly. Deputised for O’Connell admirably.

6. Dan Lydiate: 7.5
Solid but unspectacular again from Lydiate who made his tackles but little else. Gave away a stupid penalty before half time, just as he did in the second test, but was also conspicuous again with a few chop-tackles.

7. Sean O’Brien: 8.5
Defensive work-rate was astonishing, making 15 tackles in total – 11 of which were before half time as the Lions found themselves under the cosh. Didn’t get a chance to make many inroads with ball in hand but that didn’t matter as it was not what was asked of him. Filled the skipper’s boots well.

8. Toby Faletau: 8.5
Such a workhorse. Made 11 carries, and seemed to be everywhere the Lions needed him to be, particularly from the kick-offs. Made a crucial turnover when the Australians were threatening in the second half. Part of a back-row unit that comprehensively outplayed their counterparts.


Gatland seemed to time these to perfection. Conor Murray was again excellent as an impact sub and should be credited for putting Roberts in space for his try. Dan Cole had another good day in the scrum while Tom Youngs and Richie Gray were bundles of energy. Owen Farrell was his usual composed self and kicked a couple of booming penalties to touch to make huge gains for the Lions. Tipuric and Tuilagi didn’t really have long enough to influence matters but more than deserved their run out in a Lions test jersey.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

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35 comments on “Australia v Lions Final Test: Lions Player Ratings

  1. I think those ratings aren’t far off the money. It was a really composed performance across the board. I was worried about the game myself, and I was surprised Gatland had his men primed to come out fighting so early on. The Lions is a special tour and I almost feel like a neutral watching it, hoping for the best team to win. The moment I got behind the Lions was when Sexton just missed a dg by a hairs breath. He looked heart broken and you could see how much it meant to him. I though he was great, and got the ball out wide nicely on the left before following it up for the try. You know the old saying ‘Handle a ball twice in a move (phase) and a try is on’ or something to that effect. I agree that Parlings tip tackle was a massive moment. The try was on there. It’s moments like that that can swing the momentum. Hearts of Lions. Epic!

  2. Don’t understand the negative comments for Lydiate. Richard Hill Vs Dan Lydiate. Why is it that Hill is heralded as one of the greatest 6s of the professional era due to his ‘unseen work’ but Lydiate is just a one dimensional tackler? Why can’t Lydiate also get some recognition for his value to the team and allowing those around him to perform better? I’m not suggesting he should have been MotM or anything, but I think those who are knocking him are vastly underestimating his importance to the team performance.

    First test: Back row balance was really poor, Warburton on his own struggling, Heaslip/Croft not playing their natural games. Aussies win the breakdown.

    Second test: Lydiate comes in, suddenly Warburton is dominating the breakdown. He tracks Lydiate like a winger running a support line and known when to get in.

    Third test: Even without a specialist 7, and facing the great George Smith, the Lions dominate the breakdown and win the close quarter exchanges.

    Lydiate isn’t flash, will never have a ‘world class’ highlight reel, but he makes a team better and enables those around him to excel. Shame he couldn’t have stayed in his country of birth!

  3. Originally I was vehemently opposed to the choice of Lydiate. On form I’d have never argued but the guy had barely played for a year or so and with players like Robshaw, Wood and Kelly Brown available, it seemed to be lunacy

    Even after the second test, I wasn’t sure, believing that he was just there to tackle and to tame Genia, a Joe Worlsey-esque type role and that choosing him seemed overly defensive (would have SOB, Faletau and Tipuric)

    I was wrong. I thought the work he did in the last test was superb and he was the main reason that Genia barely got a foothold in the game. As Matt, says, he allows others around him to excel

    I think its amazing that Lydiate came from having barely played for a year to being an integral part of a winning Lions side. It shows the measure of the man.

    With luck Wood can be the same type of player for England and a 6 nations back-row contest between Lydiate, Faletau and Warburton vs Wood, Morgan and Robshaw is mouth-watering. I hope they all stay fit

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