Brumbies v Lions: Lions player ratings

15: Rob Kearney: 7
Probably the only Lions back to come out of the game with any credit. Kicked with power and precision, and took a couple of his own up-and-unders. Gatland’s a big fan, but it could still be too late to force his way into the test squad.

14. Christian Wade: 4.5
You’ve got to feel sorry for Wade, who got very little ball and even less space to work in. We all know how good he is, but after such a late arrival and no time to gel with the rest of the backline he was always going to be up against it. Missed crucial tackle for the Brumbies try.

13. Brad Barritt: 4
Anonymous may as well be his middle name. Made one metre from two carries, and four tackles. That was it.

12. Billy Twelvetrees: 4.5
Like Wade, desperately unlucky to have been thrown in quite so far at the deep end. His running stats are even more painful than Barritt’s: two metres from a whopping nine carries. Obviously employed as Gatland’s crash-ball twelve, he is much more comfortable when able to run in space and use his distribution. Tackled out of the game by Toomua and co.

11. Shane Williams: 5
All the furore surrounding his call-up aside, it would have been great to see the little wizard conjure up some magic in a Lions shirt once again. As it was, in a similar vein to Wade he struggled to get any ball and when he did there was never any space for him to work with.

10. Stuart Hogg: 5
Hogg was brought on this tour as a fullback that could cover fly-half if needs be. One of the stand-out performers of the Six Nations has since been marginalised to the midweek fly-half, a position he is not familiar with. Had a third fly-half been brought on tour he would have had more chances at fullback and we may have been able to see the counter-attacking ability and raw pace that makes him such a threat. As it is, he may have played his way out of a test bench spot, which would be criminally unfair and almost entirely Gatland’s fault.

9. Ben Youngs: 6
Looked snappy as he always does, but behind a pack that struggled he was always going to do likewise. There were a couple of questionable passes too. Still looks like Gatland’s bench option, despite a strong showing off the bench from Murray.

1. Ryan Grant: 5
Pretty average fare from Grant, who was pinged once for early engagement and didn’t offer much outside of the scrum. Part of a front five that did not dominate as it should have, given its experience compared with its opponents’.

2. Rory Best: 2.5
Nobody likes to see a player self-implode, but that is largely what happened to Best. The line-out issues that plagued his game in the Six Nations reared their ugly head once again and then proceeded to rob the Lions of any discernible attacking platform. Eight line-outs lost is a stat that speaks for itself. Sadly, played himself out of any involvement in the tests.

3. Matt Stevens: 6
One of the less-terrible performances of the night came from Stevens, who made a couple of half decent carries and was part of the more solid side of the scrum. Nothing more than a midweek performance, however.

4. Richie Gray: 6.5
You always come away wanting more from Gray’s performances these days. They aren’t bad – and again here he worked hard, making seven tackles and five carries – but where are the marauding runs and audacious offloads of old? Still looks a shadow of the player that burst onto the scene a few years ago.

5. Ian Evans: 6
Like his partner in the engine room, Evans was full of endeavour but little else. Will not be troubling the teamsheet come the test matches.

6. Sean O’Brien: 6
It was a hugely frustrating performance from O’Brien, who did some excellent breakdown work, but also gave away three penalties, at least two of which led to points. Were it not for those penalties, he would have received a higher score, but that said he was not his usual explosive self with the ball either, on a night when the Lions were desperately shorn of go-forward.

7. Justin Tipuric: 7
Twelve tackles point to an industrious evening from Tipuric, who was also a handful at the breakdown. In combination with O’Brien they did make it uncomfortable for the Brumbies, and unlike his back-row partner there were no penalties conceded. Warburton will start the tests, but Tipuric could well feature on the bench.

8. Toby Faletau: 7.5
The Lions stand-out player, which doesn’t mean he was astoundingly brilliant, just pretty good. Has a mighty engine somewhere within him, as 16 carries illustrate. Was always a willing runner and while he may not make the flashy breaks that Heaslip does he can still be valuable in a different way for the Lions.

Replacements: 8
To a man, the replacements made a positive impact. Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole and Alex Corbisiero shored up the scrum, while in one little jink back then forwards, Geoff Parling seemed to fix all of the Lions’ line-out woes. Dan Lydiate brought some abrasiveness that had somehow been lacking, while Owen Farrell steadied the ship as only someone who actually plays fly-half can. Even Conor Murray looked sharp and sped up the ball, before losing the ball on a couple of crucial occasions. Zebo showed enough flair to suggest he may well feature at the weekend.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

41 thoughts on “Brumbies v Lions: Lions player ratings

  1. Gutted for Hogg, 36 and Wade, looked like Gats knew he was going to lose this one and chose them as lambs for the slaughter. Letting Hogg play out of his position was bad enough, but making 36 play a game that is unnatural to him was just a wrong coaching decision. Wade did not get any chance to shine like he usually does.

    I suspect 36 and Wade will be focusing on the rebels game to come clean, with hopefully Hogg on FB/Wing or at the very most 13, but let’s not put him in a position where he is way out of his depth, He’s a special player and should be treated as such.

  2. Gatland did get this wrong regrettably, but fortunately this should have little bearing on the test results and whereas it may provide encouragement for the Aussies, I think that it will also provide a wake up call to the Lions. Roll on Saturday.

  3. Blimey I didn’t watch the game, was it that much of a car crash? It suggests the game was a lot more comfortable for The Brumbies than the 2 points suggests.

    1. Not really, just that the Brumbies had to do very little to win (line speed, great midfield defence and aggressive at the breakdown)

  4. The transformation when 4 of the tight 5 were changed shows where this game was lost. Although the backs did nothing, they had nothing to work with. Gray is the only one of the starting tight 5 who possibly deserves more than a 5.

    A big performance from SOB and he is right in contention for a bench slot with his ability to cover 6, 7 & 8. He gave away the same number of penalties as he made in metres. I can’t give that more than a 5. Played his way out of contention for Saturday (sadly as I thought he could have been an exceptional impact sub)

    1. So not helped by Hogg passing behind 36 most of the time, not his fault as he’s not a FH and had no time to get used to 36’s running but still a big factor in the game

  5. Ratings are far too high for the forwards and in comparison too low for the backs

    What on earth are the backs meant to do if all the ball they receive is slow, coming with 2 Brumbie tacklers attached and often just scooting along the floor?

    Even the ABs back-line would have struggled with this pack in front of them. Let alone with a fly-half who doesn’t really understand the position

    The forwards were dreadful to a man, beaten to the breakdown and knocked back in the tackle. Even the best of them, Faletau, wasn’t very good.

    And in what way did O’Brien and Tipuric make it uncomfortable for the Brumbies at the breakdown? – it was exactly the opposite.

    Once again, the fallacy of having a ‘proper’ open-side is exposed when the rest of the forwards do not hit the rucks quickly enough and in the numbers necessary to clean out the opposition.

    The Brumbies did to the Lions what England did to the ABs and Wales did to England. Get to the break-down quickly and in sufficient quantity to create quick-ball, to counter-ruck and to force turnovers.

  6. Ratings are far too high for the forwards and in comparison too low for the backs

    What on earth are the backs meant to do if all the ball they receive is slow, coming with 2 Brumbie tacklers attached and often just scooting along the floor?

    Even the ABs back-line would have struggled with this pack in front of them. Let alone with a fly-half who doesn’t really understand the position

    The forwards were dreadful to a man, beaten to the breakdown and knocked back in the tackle. Even the best of them, Faletau, wasn’t very good.

    And in what way did O’Brien and Tipuric make it uncomfortable for the Brumbies at the breakdown? – it was exactly the opposite.

    Once again, the fallacy of having a ‘proper’ open-side is exposed when the rest of the forwards do not hit the rucks quickly enough and in the numbers necessary to clean out the opposition.

    The Brumbies did to the Lions what England did to the ABs and Wales did to England. Get to the break-down quickly and in sufficient quantity to create quick-ball, to counter-ruck and to force turnovers.

  7. agree with Pablito, the ratings are too low for the backs.

    the forwards were trash, and that meant that the backs didnt get enough ball, and what ball they did get was very sloppy. that meant they were having to gather bad ball, which put them on the back foot, the brumbies took advantage and defended excellently.

    of the forwards, the entire tight 5 were a waste of space.
    backrow were ok, but they couldnt play off of a non-existent platform. Faletau was the best starting forward, because his work rate was excellent, even when he was going backwards.

    I would like to see Hogg in a high class game at 10 when his pack are not being destroyed. i think he could be ok.

    Youngs was clearly frustrated by the lacklustre nature of those numbered 1-5. As someone noted earlier, Best and Grant justified their initial exclusion from the squad.

    credit to the brumbies, they kept out of their own half and defended excellently.

    On Kearny, i do think that 7 is too high based on the fact that he had a chance to smash the brumbies 13 on the way to the line, but backed out and left it all to Wade. he should have tackled them both – that way the try wouldnt have been scored.

    I think, especially at the start, that the lions tried to focus too much on wade being an unknown commodity, they gave him the ball and pretty much sat back and expected him to do something.

    Twelvetrees and Barritt should have been the other way round. 36 is a big lad, but he isnt a bulldozer 12. either he should have started at 13, or Gatland shouldnt have tried to make him play like Roberts. Barritt was an all-round waste of time, Matt Scott must be feeling pretty ticked off.

    Another comment on Gatland and the coaching staff, the replacements should have been made at about 50mins if not sooner. there is no point in leaving the guys on the field to “try and get themselves out”. hauling someone off sends clear message that they were not up to it, and if they dont sort it, they wont feature again.

    just going back to the point of Faletau. as i said, i think that given the situation, he was decent. but that just brings the questions, how good is Parisse, because he looks outstanding in an average pack every time he plays!

  8. Think giving Wade a 4.5 is a bit harsh given that he seemed to be at more breakdowns than some of the forwards. Just saying.

    1. and he chased kicks and offered himself up early too. 4.5 is very harsh, especially given the fact that Brad “anonymous” Barritt got a 4.

      Does wade’s performance REALLY only warrant 0.5 more than a guy who was called anonymous?

      i get that he was docked a few for the missed tackle leading to try, but Kearny could have helped out too. He managed to score a 7, when i would say that that missed tackle is partly his fault too. Not to mention, Wade possibly wouldnt have been in that situation had Hogg trusted the inside man…

  9. Totally agree Simo. I hope he gets another chance against Melbourne; given decent ball he can be devastating.

  10. Corbisero, Hibbard, Cole, Parling and Farrell all guaranteed themselves spots in the test 23 today. the impact they brought when they came on was huge, and the guys who started today practically handed them the spots on a silver platter.

    Lydiate was better when he came on, but SOB and Faletau were two of the brighter forwards today, so i would be a bit more hesitant to say that he was guaranteed a squad spot.
    Youngs was one of the only half decent players today, but had no platform in front. he should still be in the squad, but today will have guaranteed Phillips starts.

    Zebo made some good runs when he was on, but chances were limited. He made his claim in the Tahs game though. based on who was rested/played against the Tahs

    i expect this to be the test team:

    Corbs/Vunipola – (whichever starts, the other on the bench)
    Youngs/Hibbard – (same as above)
    A. Jones – Cole to backup from the bench
    AWJ – Parling on the bench
    Heaslip/Faleatu – think Toby would be better balanced. (probs have one start, the other on the bench)

    Phillips – Youngs on the bench.
    Sexton – Farrell on the bench
    North – (if fit) Zebo if not. Zebo on the bench if North not fit. Hogg or Kearny bench if Zebo starts.
    Roberts/Tuilagi/Davies – Either of the first two if fit. Would be happy for JD to start if they arent.
    Cuthbert – not a fan, but no other options. Bowe to come in for 2nd test.

  11. Totally agree with you on Hogg,

    Before the tour I was hoping he could set the tour on fire he has that potential, Howley talked of him having the X-factor, and after a good game in Hong Kong in less than favourable conditions he has been reduced to being a midweek flyhalf, without the chance to show his true colours.

    A huge case of terrible team management, what was the point of bringing him as a 10 seriously.

    This goes to show how being labled a utility player can be your worst nightmare on a lions tour.

    Gatland has missed a trick here, he could have been useful on the wing aswell, especially with all the injuries.

    Does anybody remember the talk of giving farrell and sexton lots of playing time before the tour. I’m gutted.

  12. All part of Gatlands strategy. Take 2 of England’s most promising players and ruin them. Its 2001 and Balshaw all over again. Why the hell would you play 12t as a crash ball centre? If he wanted this team to play his dull but effective welsh strategy why not pick players who could execute it. Downey Burrell Ashton or Banahan.

    1. It wouldn’t have made any difference if Godzilla was selected at 12 today, that quality of ball that far behind the gain line with defenders in your face isn’t a recipe for success.

      Letting the squad, the fans and the jersey down today will produce a reaction so I am expecting some redemption against the Rebels next week. Probably the same tight 5 tasked with the job, all more than capable of delivering. Though fingers crossed they don’t go Hogg at 10.

      Although hardly a dream introduction, I’m still delighted Wade and 36 are in the Lions environment for another couple of weeks. Son’t see any risk of them becoming damaged goods on the back of it.

  13. Why on earth was Hogg put at 10 for this game? We were playing the top super rugby team, and we play our least experienced fly half. Would’ve been better off playing 36 at 10, especially as he’s played 10 behind Youngs so much before. At least play Barritt at 12 if you want your 12 to play crash ball.36 would be much better outside him if that’s the strategy.

    And I don’t know what was wrong with that pack today but they were woeful. In my opinion some of those scores could be a couple of points lower for the pack.

    Wade put himself around a bit and against weaker teams, with better ball could make a claim for a test bench spot or start in the second or third test.

  14. Best was poor but to lay so much blame on him is lazy. These players should have been putting their hands up for test selection but in the first half they just looked disinterested. No intensity whatsoever and that was the shameful aspect. The Lions shirt requires the best you’ve ever given every time it’s worn.

    Youngs was woefully slow at the back of the scrum line out lost or not. Sauntered up to the ruck or maul and then waited for the Brumbies defence to get back into position. Gray was half-hearted in every breakdown and collision and the centre pairing were anonymous – the old ‘past it’ O’Driscoll is the stand-out centre in the British isles. I doubted the Matt Stevens selection and I’ve been proven correct. Hopeless and hapless.

    Did Tipuric contribute at all? Faletau many have a great workrate but that doesn’t mean his work is effective – Heaslip has to start the test – a more dynamic and dangerous player.

  15. Roger. Are you Irish by any chance?

    Best was dreadful. Not just missing his incredibly tall jumpers but not throwing in straight either.

    Would deny a combination of Conrad Smith and BOD to do anything with that quality of ball.

    Youngs did ok considering he had brumbie players disputing at every point

    Your ire, correct in the the case of Stevens and Gray, should be directed at the entire tight five

    1. It’s unlikely that Roger is Irish, he said ‘British Isles’; only a select group of Irish people ever say that. ;-)

    2. Oh dear. Didn’t I complain about laziness already Pablito?

      Read the text, it’s simple – I stated that Best was poor. It’s there in black and white.

      However the laissez-faire attitude of the pack, some of whom tripped over their own feet (that’s right, professional rugby players tripping themselves up) in attempting to jump. And the eventual arrival of the lackadaisical Youngs was mind-boggling.

      I agree, Best was poor – but it’s lazy to jump on the Stuart Barnes band-wagon and lay so much of the blame at his feet.

  16. Hmmm. This result could send us 2 ways – either a big downer on morale or a kick up the backside. I just hope we don’t descend into a midweek group that brings the collective down (shades of Wright, Burnell, Reed & Cronin in NZ in 1993 – no bias v Scotland here but some poor selections in there, set against which probably the world’s best scrummaging tighthead at the time (Jeff Probyn) was left at home & Jason Leonard had to be converted from loosehead one game ahead of the 2nd test….). Fortunately I don’t think it will this time – there’s a more professional approach now & only one midweek game left anyway. But the general tone around the squad still matters nonetheless.

    Anyway, in my view putting the blame on the makeshift backline rather misses the point – the game wasn’t lost there at all and I was not particularly troubled by the performance of any of them given the circumstances. Indeed, Kearney cemented a bench place and Murray, Farrell and Zebo added dynamism and/or control later on. We could have won easily with those backs if the forwards had fronted up.

    The forwards had much to play for in most cases and they largely blew it. The lineout was utterly crucial – it put us completely on the back foot. A lot of it was Best’s throwing in – I feel very sorry to see such a loss of confidence. His post match interview didn’t help either – talk of ‘getting beaten up’ might have been ostensibly true but just seemed too defeatist in tone. The forwards just were not good enough – only Faletau of the starters emerged with an up arrow. Much as I like Heaslip’s game, Faletau has to start on Sat for balance alongside Warburton and Croft – the Wallabies can exceed the Brumbies’ pack’s efforts, so we need his grunt & go forward around the fringes. O’Brien and Tipuric missed a chance, but the former will probably bench because of his utility across 6,7,8. Hibbard and Cole demonstrated their bench credentials and Corbisiero to me once again outlined his scrummaging power over Vunipola, who will bring bench impetus. Parling has to be the reserve lock to shore up any lineout issues, and add genuine impact, behind the rock solid feel of POC & AWJ. So 1st test wise, i think Simo above is pretty much on the money.

    So, back to my question at the start: how will the Lions react? On balance, maybe this is just the kick up the backside we needed – after all, to use a military history analogy, the innovation and triumph of Blitzkrieg in 1939/40 wouldn’t have been possible without the humiliation of defeat and the Treaty of Versailles in 1918/19!………

  17. Test team:

    Corbs; Youngs; Jones; (solid scrum and good lineout); AWJ; O’Connell; Croft; Warburton; Heaslip (could go either way); Phillips; Sexton; North (hopefully); Tuilagi (hopefully); BOD; Zebo; Halfpenny

    Bench: Vunipola (IMPACT); Hibbard; Cole; Parling; SOB; Youngs; Farrell; JD

    Finally today the consequences of Hartley not being here have been revealed: the outrage at best being left out was ridiculous given his inability all year to do his main job. Since hartley hasn’t been here there has been no security in the lineout (Youngs is the best, but q remain on throwing to the tail) – hartley could have partnered corbs and jones to form a dominant effective front row

  18. Gatland hates Hook. He is the ideal utility. Like 36 but experienced. This isn’t the end of the world, but Warrens 1st team was good (inevitable) selection but his B team:
    Hogg (not his fault he’s a young FB)
    Best (Hartley must be kicking himself- not WG’s fault in fairness)
    Cuthbert – played well in Oz before so might redeem himself

    Are all looking shit!

    Take a Test player or take a bolter, not a maybe or a has been.

    1. Harsh on Hogg. He’s looked fine at FB. Not hid fault that Gats only took two FH’s (obviously banking on bringing in Wilkinson until his surgery) and therefore had to go to plan Z which was poor old (sorry young) Hogg playing out of position (and behind a beaten pack).

      As far as Cuthbert goes, I’m not his greatest fan but he’s not that bad, and who else was there to go instead of him?

      Ireland will be hoping that this tour hasn’t ruined Best’s confidence for life – he may never be the same in the green jersey again.

      1. Agree it’s harsh on Hogg. Not all of his contributions were poor yesterday, we did see some of his running round the fringes and kick/reclaim some high balls. Clearly a really talented player, let down by his pack yesterday.

        Gatland’s decision to take 2 FHs is the only really poor one he’s made thus far, the logic was to give both FHs 3 games, but Hogg has ended up with 2 anyway.

        I am a little worried that the Scottish lads are not really performing that well, just hope it’s not an indication there are splits in the group.

        1. Matt I think you are being very generous to Gatland. His catalog of errors:

          Taking injured players
          Only 2 fly halves
          But 3 full backs!!
          1 inside centre
          Calling up players unsuitable to execute his gameplan

          The last point makes me so angry. Wade and 12t are still unproven and HAD made promising starts to their careers. They are not even part of the official squad merely short term cover. Barritt, Visser, Ashton, Flood. All more seasoned pros and more suited to the Gatland masterplan. Gatland is a joke.

          1. You don’t like the lions and think it’s a waste of time so are looking for evidence to support your belief. Gats is certainly not a joke, look at what he’s won as a coach with Wasps, Waikato and Wales (compare that to our English set up who have 1 premiership trophy to share out between them!)

            1) Injured players: They’ve said that had they known the extent of Kearney’s injury he wouldn’t have toured. Agree they should have acted sooner to bring in the cover for Jenkins and Kearney, to manage the workloads of the available players.
            2) 2 FHs, he recognised before the tour it was a risk but wanted to give each FH 3 starts before the first test. Injuries have disrupted that, but taking 3 recognised FHs with 3 different playing styles would have posed other challenges.
            3) 3 FBs, 2 of these can also cover wing, so think of it as 7 back 3 players, not unreasonable.
            4) 1 inside centre, look at how they are playing, the centres are switching position a lot. Roberts and Tuilagi were often out at 13 and Roberts in particular running back in on an angle.
            5) The call ups – actually I’m pleased we’ve added something different to the squad, Zebo in test contention and he’s not a bosher. A good game behind a better platform against the Rebels next week and 36 and Wade may also be in contention.

            Disagree that one more cap against a second string Argentina would have been better for these guys, it also would have meant not seeing Eastmond in the second test and therefore increased the chances that Goode stays in the EPS … something we definitely agree on :-)

          2. This is the joy and pain of the Lions – when things go bad then fans split along partisan lines, we can only hope the players are not doing the same. McGeechan had it right when he advised that no national coach should ever coach the Lions as it’s just an invitation for the other 3 nations to bitch and moan about the Welsh coach when he does things they don’t like – an instant and easy target because he coaches the team they don’t like.

            Benjit, earlier you said “All part of Gatlands strategy. Take 2 of England’s most promising players and ruin them” which is just paranoid ranting.

            I also laugh at this idea that Gatland has one plan – pick big players. He’s picking the best players who also happen to be big so he’d be a fool not to use them – I love the dismissive tone of “effective but boring” that has been mentioned, as if “effective” can just be dismissed when everyone knows that what is needed is a win. Gatland picked Shane Williams forever, he gave BOD is 1st cap, he tried out guys like Kristian Phillips, Ashley Beck – all gifted rugby players and not crash ball merchants. JD is a blessing for Wales – a big lump with soft hands. North is the best winger in the NH and it’s not just because of his size – he runs great lines, has great vision and great hands. The idea that taking Cuthbert on tour was wrong is laughable – let’s leave the 6Ns top try scorer at home? I don’t think so.

            Wade and 12t unproven? Hang about – I’ve seen this blog waxing lyrical about their performances so he (as he often does, he’s done it with Wales) gave youth it’s head and it didn’t pay off as the front five were a wet flannel. He didn’t call up guys with the intent of ruining them (as if he could anyway, if they’re that soft then they’re hopeless – Balshaw was never all that). Paranoia in the extreme.

          3. Brighty, I do and don’t agree with you here…

            I agree that gatland did not call players up to ruin them. I also think that the anonymity of the forwards made it seem a lot worse. I would like to give gatland the benefit of the doubt and assume that he didnt plan for 36 to play like that, but the few bits of decent ball would suggest otherwise. Having said that, the ball was so bad all game that I think 36 decided to “not shovel crap” and took the contact instead.

            Where I don’t agree is the comments about gatland being the welsh coach, so everyone has kicked off. Not once has anyone said it was down to him being the coach. I think most people realise that it isn’t gatland’s fault the players didnt turn up.

            My biggest issue was with the whole management, and the fact that under performing players were allowed to stay on the field. The other coaches are as much to blame. They left too much work for the subs to do, in too little time.

            I just hope that leaving them all on the bench is vindicated by a first test win. Time shall tell

          4. Simo, I mentioned the Welsh thing due to the preposterous idea that is expounded above that Gatland deliberately tried to ruin some young English players. That’s an implicit jibe that wouldn’t have been levelled at him if he was the English coach,

          5. Brighty, fair enough, thanks for clarifying.

            As I said before, I agree that gatland did not take players to “ruin them”.

            I do question whether players were used properly, such as 36 crashing, and wade being brought into heavy traffic in the middle of the field. But firstly I would not put these solely down to Gatland (in my view England didnt use 36’s passing enough in the 6Ns, which would suggest Farrell having an input – common factor and what not) these were choices made by management as a whole. Secondly, the situation meant that 36 in particular was given a lot of back foot ball.

            The real issue was the tight 5. You could have had the best backline in the world, having played 50 games together, out on that field, the would have had a similar game. Forwards decide who wins you a game, backs decide by how much.

            So to sum up, the tight 5 didn’t play well enough and management SHOULD have taken people off sooner.

  19. Wow you offer an alternative opinion and are accused of paranoia.

    The team for the brumbies never had a chance. With auch little prep time it would have made far more sense to pick players of the ilk of Visser Flood Barritt Ashton or even Lamont some of whom would be familiar with Farrells defencive systems.

    And as for Gatlands track record for blooding youth that’s fine when its about developing a player but since when was a lions tour about development? Although I didn’t use the term sacrificial lambs was about right. I somehow think that you would have a very different view if your up amd coming welsh talent had been used in this way.

    1. It was a 2 point loss, with a tight 5 that were lying on their backs with their tummies being tickled.

      We’ll never know, but in my opinion, that scratch back line would still have been good enough to win if the pack had done their job.

      Let’s not confuse a “if you are good enough you are old enough” mentality that Gatland has with taking young players for their development and benefit. He’s got a good track record of picking youth as soon as they have demonstrated they are good enough.

    2. Benjit, if you want to discuss the team, selection being poor, performance, Gatland missing out on some key selections etc. then that all seems up for debate to me. My paranoia jibe was specifically about the accusation that Gatland had some sort of plan to ruin England’s next gen of players. As you now continue to say, you believe he has somehow sacrificed them which is just tosh. I can’t imagine being gutted if Gats had taken Rhys Patchell and let him have a single midweek test, I’d have been chuffed for Rhys to have had the chance. Getting your chance isn’t just about the matches, it’s about the whole tour – how you are travelling, how you are in the hotel, how you train, etc.

      I was mentioning the playes that Gatland blooded as a reference to the size of the players, not the actual blooding i.e. the idea that he only picks big guys is not true.

  20. Slightly unfair on 36 given the number of hospital passes he was shipped by Hogg and Youngs. Not sure how Tipuric and O’Brien get such high ratings (compared to the backs) when the Lions struggled to win ANY ball until the sbus came on. The breakdown was shocking for the first 50 mins…

    1. Agree with Smithy, I thought the backrow weren’t up to scratch at the breakdown, and their scores are a bit high. Yes, TF and Tips were good with ball in hand going forward but I think controlling/securing ball at the breakdown is one of the most important jobs for the backrow, and it was lacking in the starting 3. Although I was initially dubious, I’m starting to agree with Gats test backrow which includes SW as he is the best fetcher/ turn-over backrow we have.

  21. fealt realy sorry for sean o brien had a couple of good carrys at the start of the match but he was in a pack on the back foot and any back rower knows it hard when your goin backwards. tought he tried realy hard at the breakdown but got on the wrong side of a few questionable calls at the break down and then got taken off before things started to turn around. i wounder does the early sub mean he will be on the bench on saturday or was he just taken off for his lack of form?

  22. Reply to Brighty above re Gatland.

    Paranoid cynical? Maybe. Or are you being a bit naive?

    Gatland is following the Graham Henry route to All Black head coach. I know this won’t sit well with the dewy eyed lions romanticists but I suspect the honour of the lions tradition means little to him and why should it as a kiwi. This is the professional era. Now I’m sure Gat won’t do anything to jeopardize a successful tour and go one better than Henry but if he can set back the hated English as well all the better.

    I suspect the truth is somewhere between my cynicism/ paranoia and your touching faith in Gats motives. I guess we’ll have to wait for the unofficial biography.

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