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.
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