Australia v Lions Second Test: Lions player ratings

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15. Leigh Halfpenny: 6.5
In a game that the opposition dominated, Halfpenny’s day was mainly spent fielding and returning kicks, which he did reasonably well. Sadly his game will always be remembered for the missed kick on the final whistle, but we must remember that even if he had struck it as sweetly as possible, it was probably just out of his range.

14. Tommy Bowe: 6
Nice to see him back in a Lions test match, but the territory-dominated game-plan meant we never got to see his partnership with North blossom as it did in the warm-up games. Chased down kicks well, but that was largely it – when the wingers make ten metres combined, it says a lot about the way you have played the game. Will hopefully be given more of a chance next week.

13. Brian O’Driscoll: 7
You can never question this man’s commitment or work-rate. 12 tackles are a testament to an afternoon spent hacking down the opposition, who enjoyed far more territory and possession. Although it was his opposite man that score the decisive try, it was not O’Driscoll who was out of position.

12. Jonathan Davies: 4.5
Sadly, that unwanted accolade must go to Davies, who found himself somewhat in no-man’s land as Ashley-Cooper burst through the defence and over the line for the winning try. With three missed tackles in total, he has not reproduced his fine midweek form in the test matches and will likely find himself out of the starting line-up next week.

11. George North: 6.5
Not the attacking force he was last week, but that was not his fault as the Lions tightened up and played a game dominated much more by the boot. Still provided the moment of the match when he picked up Israel Folau dump-truck-style… when he himself had the ball. The Lions need to make use of his talents better next week.

10. Johnny Sexton: 6.5
A mixed bag from Sexton, who looked comfortable but never really dominated his opposite number, who was having another off day, as he should have done. The plan was obviously to pin the Australians back, but his kicking from hand wasn’t accurate enough to achieve this successfully.

9. Ben Youngs: 5.5
Like Sexton, a lot of his kicking was fairly aimless and allowed the Australians time and space to make decisions. Three carries for one metre made is not the Youngs we have come to know, and whether it was because of the game he was asked to play or otherwise, he has probably not done enough to keep the shirt for the final test.

1. Mako Vunipola: 6.5
A more topsy-turvy game from one player there has not been for quite some time. Made good inroads in the loose early on but was destroyed in the scrums, but then just as the cries for his substitution reached fever pitch he roared back at his opposite man and the Lions began to dominate at the set-piece. A bizarre game, out of which he emerged probably in credit.

2. Tom Youngs: 5
Unfortunately, it was not a good day for the Youngs brothers. Tom was far less obvious in the loose than last week, and although there was only one line-out lost on their own throw there were several that wobbled badly, not allowing the backs the platform they wanted and needed. Will be under fierce competition from Hibbard for second test.

3. Adam Jones: 7.5
A pillar in the scrums, even early on when the Lions were having issues it was never his side that struggled. Such is his value in these tight exchanges that it matters very little how anonymous he is with ball in hand.

4. Geoff Parling: 6.5
Superb work-rate from Parling, whose 14 tackles were the most of any player in red. The line-out, however – usually so solid when he is present – was not as accurate as it needed to be and along with Tom Youngs, he must take some of the blame.

5. Alun-Wyn Jones: 7
Seemed to become even more physical, if that is possible, in the absence of Paul O’Connell. Another who put himself about, making ten tackles, and his weight and power are invaluable in the scrums.

6. Dan Lydiate: 7
13 tackles show his usual willingness to be agressive in defence, and he must take a huge amount of credit for not allowing Genia the room to dominate as he did last week. Looks to have done enough to stave off the challenge of Croft and O’Brien for the final test.

7. Sam Warburton: 8.5
The game turned when the captain went off injured. He won three turnovers, was the sole source of quality ball at the line-out and tackled his heart out, but more than that he stepped up into the leadership void left by Paul O’Connell. Had Leali’ifano missed his kick or Halfpenny slotted his, Warburton would have been the man to lead the Lions to a winning series and it would have been no less than he deserved for these two performances.

8. Jamie Heaslip: 6
It was another quiet game from Heaslip. You sensed that he needed to do more with ball in hand give that his two back-row mates’ skills lie much more in the defensive aspects of the game. The control at the base of the scrum was better than last week, but aside from one impressive carry there wasn’t much to write home about.

Replacements

Conor Murray stormed into contention for the final test with the type of performance that Mike Phillips was once renowned for. All ‘budget’, ‘value’ or ‘basics’ tags must now be retired, and there is a real chance he could become the third different scrum-half to start a test next week. Dan Cole was the other big winner, as he banished the scrum demons of last week and dominated the set-piece. Tom Croft and Sean O’Brien added pace to the back-row from the bench, but the latter was the only one who got a decent chance with ball in hand.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

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53 comments on “Australia v Lions Second Test: Lions player ratings

  1. Lydiate didn’t get anywhere near Genia all game. All he does is tackle, SOB and Croft offer so much more. None of Lydiate’s tackles were particularly noteworthy either. Robshaw would make 13 tackles a match in his sleep AND steal ball, link with the back line, win lineout ball etc on top of that.

    5 for Tom Youngs is very harsh. Blame the jumpers/lifters, not the thrower on the dodgy ball.

    Mako turned over the same amount of ball as Warburton.

    The back row were comprehensively outplayed.

    • I’d argue it’s down to both the jumpers and the thrower to get it right, and there were at least a couple of occasions when the throw itself was certainly a bit wonky.

    • Well put Steve, Robshaw is so much the better player than Lydiate. That’s why Eng won the Grand Slam last year with Robshaw while Wales had to do with man of the series Lydiate instead. Robshaw is, as you say, able to do basic backrow work in his sleep. It’s why he is feted as one of the best backrow players in the world.

      • that was a year ago Brighty. Since then Robshaw has won the premiership and beaten the All Blacks. Tell me when Lydiate or another welsh backrower dominated the all Blacks and won? Defend your man by all means but at least use relevent examples. I do believe that Robshaw is one of the best back rowers in the NH, at least, but suffered from burnout in the last 6n. Give the guy some respect and don’t rubbish him.

        • Benjit, looking for offence? I did not rubbish him – he is not one of the best back row players in the B&I, let alone the world. As I’ve said before, he is decent but not up there with the best. You can’t single out the ABs game and dismiss a whole tournament in the same sentence. Either use previous matches or don’t.

          • Really hate agreeing with Brighty but Robshaw isn’t as good as Lydiate or Warburton. All this Robshaw talk is boring now, he isn’t on tour. Yes he could have been, but by no means did he make himself a definite, and unfortunately missed out. In my opinion, Wood was more unlucky to not go over Lydiate – Robshaw missed out to Tipuric, and in my opinion, justifiably.

          • I don’t dismiss the whole 2013 6n – Far from it I think he was one of our best players throughout the tournament and was one of the few players to hold their head up in the Cardiff massacre. He also got 2 MoM awards if memory serves. I wouldve taken him ahead of Croft, Lydiate or even Heaslip, but he has played a lot of rugby and looked burnt out for Quins in the latter stages of the season so i can see why he was not.

            But hey let’s write him off becuse DL was great 12 months ago.

          • Benjit – I didn’t meant it to sound like I was writing of Robshaw, I was writing off Steve’s clueless assessment of how bad/good each player is.

            When Robshaw was left out I made my feelings clear – a very good rugby player. In the top B&I 10 backrows definitely. But he’s not a) better than Lydiate (and also he doesn’t even play in the same position as him in internationals) b) better than the players the Lions have taken. So I don’t think I am dismissing Robshaw, merely saying he is not good enough for this Lions squad.

  2. Not much wrong here, nobody played really badly but we were defending the whole match, never threatened their line and well didn’t deserve to win.

    We need somebody, preferably more than one to start breaking the gainline, back roberts or tuillagi, or forwards faletau or SOB but the team that is on here is built for defense and defense only.

  3. Disagree on a couple of points. Firstly, Tom Youngs was ok, I would have him at a 6 at best though, but Hibbard was actually worse; so I can’t see any pressure on him for next week at all. Parling I thought was worth more than 6.5, tireless in defence and worked so hard at the line out, he just didn’t have enough options to aim for. I have also made my thoughts about Lydiates performance clear and I won’t go back into it, but I’d have him at 6 – he tackled yes but for me needs to offer a bit more to become a 7.

    Other than that, agree with most of it.

  4. It was great to see Cole storm onto the field, almost demanding the ref call a scrum for something because he was ready to show that last week was a blip. It’s a pity he’s not a loosehead.

    Sam was magnificent, agree with that score. Agree with the scores overall really – we were poor in the backs, no idea why Sexton didn’t play his flat fizzing game. I’ve not seen Gats Welsh sides play like that so it was odd but surely it was at Gats request?

    • You’d have to think so – Youngs and Sexton played in a completely different manner to how they usually do, so it must have been down to the orders they were given. Sadly, they didn’t execute the plan very well, so it’s a shame they didn’t adapt and start to try and run it a bit more. It’s the half-back combination must of us have been wanting to see, but it just didn’t click.

      • It was a strange one. Youngs and Sexton are probably the two most exciting half backs in terms of running games and playing flat – yet they both didn’t do that. That to me suggests they were either under instruction or were under a lot of pressure from the opposition back row (a bit of both probably). Either way, I’d like to see them both playing their natural game next week.

        • if they were under instruction to play like that, then who was suggesting it?!?!

          you pick players BECAUSE of how they play. if Gatland didnt want a running/attacking 9 or 10, then he should have taken someone else.

          I am not trying to suggest that he is out to “ruin” players, as that would be silly. he does seem to have made a couple of decisions in terms of playing styles that are not natural. (Twelvetrees and Wade in the Brumbies game, and now these two in the 2nd test)

          i almost want it to be down to the dominance of the aussies, because if these are coaching decisions, then i am not convinced!

  5. Croft has made 13 tackles and missed 1 in 86 minutes. Lydiate has made 14 and missed 2 in 88 minutes. And Lydiate has contributed absolutely nothing else at all.

    Most of Lydiate’s tackles have been utterly unmemorable. He’s not been driving players back in the tackle, and he’s only made one that stood out as a decent bit of defence.

    His performance was largely anonymous, and it appears that he’s getting a high rating precisely because there are no expectations on him to do anything else. He has offered nothing at all on tour except tackling, and he hasn’t even stood out in that regard above any of the other back-rowers, all of whom offer a hell of a lot more elsewhere.

    Playing Lydiate typifies Gatland’s dire, negative tactics and it’s the reason why even with a more talented squad and weaker opposition, we’re playing terrible rugby compared to four years ago.

    This has nothing to do with which team won the Six Nations. Robshaw was a standout player in the competition, and is a far better player than Lydiate will ever be.

    • Was completely agree with you, and then you said Robshaw was a better player the Lydiate will ever be – oh no (and I’m English).

      Lydiates performance in the 2012 6N was far superior than anything I’ve ever seen from Robshaw (and I’m by no means belittling Robshaw).

      However, interesting comparison on the Lydiate and Croft front!

  6. “Robshaw was a standout player in the competition, and is a far better player than Lydiate will ever be” ha ha ha ha ha……..

    • By all means defend Worsley Jr. but don’t bring up one one-off result and then dismiss someone mentioning the All Blacks game.

      The way Lydiate is immune to criticism really winds me up. He’s utterly one dimensional. Would be great if that one dimension was world class, but on Saturday’s showing, it’s anything but.

      • I didn’t bring up a one-off result Steve, I brought up the Grand Slam. Does your misinformed view of rugby extend to not knowing that the 6Ns is 5 matches long?

    • Well, Robshaw was a stand-out player in the last 6 nations, couple of MofM awards and just never stopped or gave up

      But, “far better” than Lydiate?? Afraid not – Lydiate in top form is wondrous thing to behold – some of the best performances I’ve seen since Hill retired. Robshaw is not far off when you consider the added pressures of captaincy as well. But his top form is undoubtedly not up there with Lydiate’s top.

      Unfortunately though, Lydiate at the moment is not on top form and hasn’t been since the 2012 Six Nations – more Joe Worsley at the moment than Richard Hill.

      • What does Worsley Jr offer? Tackles, and sod all else.

        What does Robshaw offer? Carries, linking, jackalling, lineout, … and tackles.

        Lydiate was poor on Saturday and is a one dimensional donkey, who is somehow immune to criticism with hype levels rivaling those Andy Sheridan used to get.

    • from the BBC:
      “the England captain had a fine Championship, his influence – third highest number of tackles (65), fourth in ball-carrying (57) – bringing two man-of-the-match awards”

      Still didn’t you predict a 20 point thrashing of Aus in the second test? I see your judgment isn’t the best. Nor is falling for an obvious B&M joke and then pretending you were also joking (when you clearly werent).

      • Oh sad .. just sad .. I was joking, trying to make a quip about the “I tell you what lads, let’s all 3 of us score the points” Welsh/Cardiff boys pic that was doing the rounds. You don’t know what I was thinking plus I have no reason to give a toss so wouldn’t feel the need to “defend” myself. I’m stating facts.

        I don’t get why you feel I am dissing Robshaw? See my earlier comments? Where have I said anything disparaging about Robshaw on here? I’ve ridiculed Steve’s views on Robshaw v Lydiate, that’s all.

        Yes, 20 points, my pre-match excited prediction. You’re right, being unable to correctly predict the result of a rugby match (including the score) removes me from having the right to discuss anything. I’ll look everyone up on the fantasty rugby league and then I’ll know who’s opinion carries weight.

        • Lighten up Brighty, I was only joking…

          If you say you weren’t disrespecting him fair enough it just didn’t come accross that way. Just fed up of people writing eng players off on the basis of THAT match. Appologies for the overreaction.

  7. I think it’s a bit generous for BOD. His attacking left something to be desired. Threw a pass straight to Folau which set up a sustained period of free flowing Aussie rugby. His kick was terrible as well.

    Plus in terms of attacking rugby for the centres not to muster 1 line break between them is abysmal.

    I agree with JD score but i’d give BOD a 6 – purely for defence.

    • I think he was getting frustrated at a lack of space and good ball to create anything. Something that if Tuilagi or Roberts were on the pitch, would be available in abundance.

  8. Vunipola destroyed in the scrums? Only by the ref. If Alexander was binding properly none of those scrums would’ve gone down. And was it just me, but the only scrums that went down were in kickable positions for the Aussies, funny that!
    In a game where we hardly went forward I can understand why Lydiate got a 7, but I would really like to see him carry the ball more. He’s a big guy, and should utilise it by running at players with ball in hand. I would rather see Croft and O’Brien in the last test with Faletau at 8. We need more go forward players and Croft and O’Brien bring that whilst Faletau gives more stability than Heaslip IMO.
    I just really hope that Gatland realises he missed an opportunity here by not selecting Tuilagi despite being fit. Not sure I would risk Roberts unless he’s completely recovered, but Tuilagi offers the best crash ball option, plus he draws in defenders. He really could be the game changer for the last test, and needs to be in the team from the start.

  9. Good analysis Jamie. I tried to write down the start XV for next Saturday, but could have six wrong! So many selection headaches.

    They must gamble on Roberts fitness if humanly possible, and I think the percentage call would be Phillips at scrum half.

    Vunipola came back well during the game, but we need stability. Corbisiero or Grant should be ahead of him.
    I’d take a gamble on Gray, but expect Parling to start.

    The back row selection is now a mare. Heaslip will get away with it as attention is deflected from him to the blend and how to replace Warburton.

    I don’t envy the selectors, but they have to get it right. Lydiate, O’Brien and Faletau for me, but you wouldn’t be surprised if Tipuric got a start, or Croft.

    Gatland had to bring on Grant for the final 20 and bottled it, yet showed courage picking Youngs ahead of Phillips. i don’t get that contradiction atall. He’s very unpredictable as a coach. i have a hunch Phillips was given the week off to repair the shoulder and be available for a full 80 this week.

    Anyway let’s hope they get it right and we win.

    Sweaty palms week!

    • Don’t get why Grant should have come on for the last 20? By that point, Vunipola had got over his issues with the ref and was one of the best defenders

  10. Sorry Jamie you got BOD and JD mixed up? I am not saying that JD deserves a 7, but cannot see where the 7 for BOD comes from. They were both as inefective as each other, 5 each. I would dearly love to see North and Roberts, or North and Tuilagi at centre for next weeks game.

  11. A little high for the backs I think.

    Beale had his hands on the ball 34 times, our 11-15 only managed a total of 38.

    Sexton managed 10 passes, how can you can’t have a particularly influential game as playmaker if you manage to pass the ball once every 8 minutes.

    Folau beat more defenders then our entire backline.

    We managed 3 offloads all game (none of which came from a starting back)

    We turned them over 21 times, so we were hardly starved of opportunities to start something, we barely managed a half break, let alone a clean one.

    If a 6 is a ‘par’ game I can only give 1/2p and North a 6. All the other backs come in at 5.5 and below.

  12. Cannot for the life of me understand what all the love for Lydiate is all about. It seems to me that I watched a different game from everyone else. Yes he tackles, but isn’t that what a backrow forward should do? But the problem is that he has nothing else to his game.

    On the Robshaw debate, I would have picked Robshaw over Lydiate on the basis of this season, but at his best Lydiate is the better player. I do think that Steve meant to say this. At the moment, I would be quite happy for Robshaw to play as he can do a bit of everything. However he was competing for the 7 spot and unfortunately Warburton and Tipuric were ahead.

    Can’t see the 7 for BOD. He did some good things but also made a mess of some. The centre partnership just hasn’t worked. I’ve not been a fan of Roberts this season. He’s had one good game only, but I would still rather have him playing than JD and BOD again.

    Bit harsh on T Youngs. He was outstanding last week so to compare the two games and mark him down is harsh. The lineout did struggle, but we were out gunned. He wasn’t at his best but once again it regressed with Hibbard. Some serious preseason training required for all darts throwers after this tour!

    • Staggy, you’re wrong about Steve. See his later comments e.g. ” Robshaw was a standout player in the competition, and is a far better player than Lydiate will ever be.”

      • staggy and i have clearly picked up a similar impression.

        what i get from Steve is that he is suggesting Robshaw is a more complete rugby player than Lydiate. which i would agree with.

        Steve has stated that this makes Robshaw a better player than Lydiate. again, i see the logic here, but i am not sure whether i totally agree.

        the point he was making is that Robshaw will carry, link and take lineouts AND he tackles. we only ever really seem to get the tackling from Lydiate.

        When DL is on form, his tackles are destructive and can be game changing. However, we are yet to see this form on the lions tour.

        as i said, i wont weight in on the “who’s a better player debate”, but i would safely say Robshaw is more rounded. Lydiate may be better in certain areas (important ones for a 6), but i think that Robshaw can adapt to different styles of play better, as he is a more complete footballer.

        i also see Steve’s point about Lydiate seeming to avoid criticism.

        lets take Brad Barritt for example. the guy has come under huge criticism for only being a tackle machine, he doesnt bring anything else. now the difference between a centre and flanker is obviously there, but the extra dimensions (although different) are still lacking.
        Barritt lacks creativity/offloading or real game breaking power (ie Tuilagi).
        Lydiate lacks the carrying (either tight or wider) that others bring. he doesnt offer the lineout ability that someone like croft has (or the pace of croft either). and also he doesnt bring a huge amount of versatility (SOB plays 6,7,8, Croft plays 6 or lock).
        Robshaw covers 6,7 and 8. and when Wood shifted to 8, it was Robshaw who hang back to field the kicks (yet another string in the bow).

        It basically comes down to a Jack of all trades vs a Master of one.
        the master isnt at his masterful best, and the jack had a pretty good 6Ns based on stats and MoMs.

        it seems Lydiate was chosen because Gatland wanted to play a certain way. it just seems odd that he then asks guys like 36, Sexton, Wade and Youngs, Heaslip, Croft to not play to their style, but then Lydiate is getting a different message…

  13. So we’ve established that the back row worked as far as turnovers is concerned etc. But the distinct lack of metres gained from those turnovers, and failure to capitalise on any metres we did gain is where it all went wrong. With no Warburton next week Gatland needs to decide if he should play Lydiate, who tackled well and also created chances for those turnovers, or go back to Croft and strengthen the line-out, and do something when we turn it over. Two very different 6′s with vastly different skills. It’s almost a shame you can’t play them together?
    Once the ball goes past the pack is where the most metres should be gained, but Sexton was standing too deep, and JD is not a crash ball 12. Tuilagi at 12 may not worry the Aussies too much, but they will undoubtably find themselves drawn to him anyway, and this leaves space out wide for North, Bowe (or Cuthbert) and Halfpenny to exploit.

    • Think you are wrong about Tuilagi. It’ll worry the Aussies because they will need to allocate at least 2 tacklers to the task of bringing him down and that creates room for the Lions.

      If they don’t, the chance that he will break a tackle and be able to run is much higher. And the last thing they need is Tuilagi causing havoc in space

      I know its silly to use one game as evidence but it is such good evidence. Watch the ABs game to see how in the first try, the gap is caused by the defence’s concern about Tuilagi and then for the second, how the first-up tackling is not good enough to stop him.

      Now you could argue that Roberts has a similar effect. The difference with Roberts though is that he doesn’t have Tuilagi’s pace.

      So for me, Tuilagi at 12 on teh crash ball. Hopefully, whether he takes the ball or runs dummies, it will be enough to open up holes for Bowe, North and BOD to exploit

      • I was trying to play it down a little so as not to cause offence to any Aussies reading, but you’re right, they’ll be bricking it! Just can’t understand why Gatland didn’t play him for the second test? When you have a combination that is not working and giving others space or time on the ball, and you have a player who can bust holes, beat defenders and draw other defenders, why would you leave him out altogether???? Makes no sense. Just hope Gatland has seen the light.

        • I really have no idea Dazza. Seems insane to me.

          He should have at least been on the bench in place of Cuthbert. Given that he seems to fit Gatland’s game plan so well, I cannot understand it

          I know what will happen this week though. Roberts will be picked instead and will offer some more penetration but not much more and will probably have to go off injured at some point leaving us with Farrell at 12 – who will at least pass the ball!

  14. All this talk about the composition of the backrow and bringing Croft back in for his superior lineout work. Not much use if the hookers cant hit the mark! 2 ball everytime doesnt open up many attacking opportunities. At least with Lydiate in the team, his tackling around the fringes frees up the other 2 to cause havoc in the breakdown. It was no coincidence that Warbs had such a great game when he wasnt trying to do 2 jobs!

    • No, your right. Sorry my eyes glazed over with you swinging handbags at everyone! Lol!

      However I agree with most of his other comments. I’ve stated most of them already in one guise or another.

    • Dewi. The points have already been made to cover this.

      Lineout. The lions were playing with two lineout specialists to the aussies 3. It’s going to put pressure on the thrower and jumper. TY looked fine last week with the odds even.

      Lydiate. The point has already been made that the Lions were indeed better at the breakdown because of Lydiate and Warburton looked better with him there. However the team looked worse. We won a battle and lost a war. The lions poured extra resources into the breakdown and suffered as a consequence in the lineout and the ball carrying department. We looked much better in test one where the breakdown was pretty even, and we had less turnovers but we made much more use of our ball. Helping out Warburton ultimately made us less competitive in other areas.

  15. Harsh on Parling I think. When Lydiate supposedly had a stormer making 13 tackles and missing 2 and it’s all he’s brought in for, how is it that Parling had a sub-par game when he makes more tackles and doesn’t miss any? The lineout issues were largely to do with the fact that England needed the extra quality jumper to relieve some pressure. Poor game plan.

    In terms of backrow, what’s important is carrying ball. You have to not miss your tackles, but you really are the go forward in the forwards. The Aus stats show you. Hooper carried 30m, Palu 34m and Mowen 14m. The Lions backrow carried 21m combined. The closest of them to an Australian stat was Heaslip with 12m. Those carries, the gainline crosses are what puts the opposition on the back foot and keeps them there and there’s not enough from Lydiate or Warburton to make a mark. What Croft, O’Brien and Tipuric bring to the mix is that ball carrying ability. I personally thought Tipuric was a better option than Warburton going into the tests and was disappointed he didn’t get to show it. On Saturday we had Lydiate and Warburton tackling, slow ball on the attack and no support from the forwards in the backline. For me that is where the game is lost. The Australian backrow had the Lions’ backrow on toast and the Lions fans quote the number of tackles made as a sign that they were winning the encounter. The previous week, Lions carried 40m in the backrow to Australia’s 28m and, to be fair, the Lions looked the more credible threat to the try line.

    My other concern is that generally the team making the most tackles is the one under the kosh and the one going to lose. Lions made twice as many tackles (140 to Aus 71) on Saturday and lost. The previous week, Aus made 125 to 121 for the Lions, a much more even contest.

    I think the clear point is that the Lions need to carry more and need to attack more to trouble the defence. The gameplan which involved tightening up and defending just meant the Australians had more opportunity to pound the defensive line and it’s going to break eventually.

  16. I would bring in Tipuric and Faletau at 7/8. Roberts or Tuilagi at 12. Either one should break the game line and free up the others.

    • Yup, Tipuric at 7, SOB at 6 and Faletau at 8 – an all action, carrying back row.

      Palu and Mowen are big guys. Spread the ball, get them running from ruck to ruck (with our ruck support coming from this relatively fresh back row) and you’ll catch them out of place in the defensive line at some point – perfect for Bowe or North to take advantage of any mis-match

      • Also, tie up Mowen by ensuring that he’s needed to stop runs from SOB and Faletau, bury him at the bottom of the ruck and watch gaps appear for Youngs / Murray and Sexton

        He’s been far and away their best performer in the backrow and we need tactics to lessen his effect on the game

  17. Tipuric, O’Brien, Heaslip for me next week. The lions need to attack much more and get them on the back foot. Yes the defense was good and the number of turnovers high but as we saw, it’s unlikely that they will hold out the aussies for the whole match.. I don’t think its a coincidence that Wales have lost so many matches by less than three points to aus. My only concern is that tipuric hasn’t played in the last tests atall and the intensity may be a shock. Heaslip should play to bring some leadership, as Warb is out, although Faletau does deserve a chance . Also, i thought Heaslip took as many lineouts in the first test as Croft, so surely the lions also had three options this week with him, AWJ and Parling.

  18. It is time for Tuilagi – neither centre has shone in the tests (albeit with pretty poor ball). Jonathan Davies defence has been exposed, and BOD is simply not as good as he was.

    Roberts was average in all the warmups bar the Barbarians game (where he played v well).

    Tuilagi’s passes to BOD in perth and to Maitland in Melbourne were some of the best play seen on tour.

    HE MUST START. if Dan Carter says he’s the best, i’m with him.