Lions Player Ratings Versus All Blacks Final Test

New Zealand 15 – 15 Lions

Sam Warburton

A tempestuous tour came to a thrilling climax as the Lions looked to steal the series in front of the sell-out crowd in Eden Park. The game started well for the Lions who strung a few phases together with good intensity to push the All Blacks back to their five metre line. A precious try would have been in the offing had Farrell’s miss pass not been intercepted by Jordie Barrett. Thankfully, Williams’ industriousness to get back, and Davies’ pace quickly stamped out a breakaway try. But with lungs gasping for air and the Lions scrambling to form a cohesive defence, Barrett’s crossfield kick found his brother who knocked the ball down for a simple try for Laumape. Another try followed for Jordie Barrett following a trademark backline move shortly before the halfway mark. Barrett failed to convert either try, and two penalties from Farrell saw the sides enter Half Time at 12-6. Soon after the break, Daly’s thumping effort made Lions’ history with the longest kick, and the gap shrunk. At 50′ the All Blacks lost the veteran Kaino to the bin following a swinging arm that knocked out Alun Wyn-Jones. Down to 14 men, the Lions had to press their advantage but only managed to make 3 points before Kaino returned. Entering the final 10 minutes, the scores stood at 15-12 and both sides threatening to take the game. Encouraged by Webb’s savvy scrumhalf protestations, Poite penalised Crockett for not rolling away and Farrell cooly slotted the penalty to tie the game and the series.


Liam Williams – 8
He’s had some journey through this tour. From being yellow carded in the first game to the wonder try of the first test, he’s laid down a marker as one of the most exciting fullbacks in the game. Was brilliant in defence with a last ditch tackle to save the series, and looked dangerous in attack (72 metres, 11 runs), he can be very happy with that performance. He needs to work on his aerial game, but at 26 he can only get better. Lucky Sarries.

Anthony Watson – 8
Quicksilver feet and issued with the mammoth task of keeping Savea quiet. He struggled initially with that defensive duty but soon got to grips and won the battle. His steps mesmerised the All Black defence at times with 5 defenders beaten.

Jonathan Davies – 8
Contender for player of the tournament. Excellent in defence and used his left boot to good effect in attack. Would liked to have seen him straighten up and try to get on the outside of Liernert-Brown.

Owen Farrell – 8.5
In spite of a costly miss tackle ratio (5 missed of 13), Farrell deserves an 8.5 for working attack after relentless attack and slotting all penalties. An imperious display.

Elliot Daly – 8
Seemed caught in two minds when defending Barrett’s crossfield kick and could have dealt with it better. Made decent meterage off fewer runs than the rest of the backline and kept solid in defence for the most part. Did incredibly well to thump over from inside his own half.

Jonathan Sexton – 8
The loop-behind continued and worked well with Sexton using himself more as a carrier than in previous encounters. Used his boot sparingly, but dictated the game well with Murray. Lost his intensity after an injury in a clash with Cane.

Conor Murray- 8
For the most part, kept the tempo in the Lions’ favour, and his box kicking was exemplary. Another strong performance.


Mako Vunipola – 7.5
Looking to atone from last week, Vunipola carried well and looked to cause a nuisance at the breakdown. A solid performance but nothing special.

Jamie George – 7.5
For the most part carried well and put in a defensive shift. Could not afford to give away two crooked line outs late on.

Tadhg Furlong – 8
An excellent performance from the tighthead. A bull in a china shop on the charge and a good showing in the knife-edged scrum contest.

Alun Wyn Jones – 8
A brilliant performance to end his Lions’ career. A steady head (until Kaino) to lead the pack forward.

Maro Itoje – 8.5
An exceptional performance from the young man, proving his mettle once again. Great in the lineout, and his legs were used to good effect to give covering support and get to breakdowns quickly.

Sam Warburton – 8.5
The flanker pulled out the performance to go with his leadership credentials. Fantastic behind the scenes work and slowing the All Black master plan, with plenty of ‘Leave it Six!’ calls from Poite. Turned over a few times and his twisting recovery turnover in the Lions 22 will be one to savour. One of the players instrumental to winning the last game and drawing this one.

Sean O’Brien – 8
Covered in behind Sexton well, particularly with his fellow Leinster team mate taking the ball into contact so often. Removed after the break due to an injury, and the pack suffered for it.

Toby Faletau – 7.5
Plenty of tackles including a crunching one to put Barrett on his back. Had buckets of intensity and did well to overcome his shackling by the All Black back row.


Ken Owens – N/A
It would be harsh to have blamed the final scrum on Owens. Wasn’t on long enough to justify a rating. Replaced George 70′

Jack McGrath – 7
Scrum improved by his introduction. Replaced Vunipola 60′

Kyle Sinckler – 7
Am beginning to wonder if these highly visible performances may just mean he’s an incredible tighthead… Replaced Furlong 60’

Courtney Lawes – 7.5
Whilst the majority of his carries are good, I feel his long body doesn’t help him and his top half often looks to get isolated. Brought some much needed intensity following AWJ’s star gazing. Replaced Alun Wyn Jones 50′

CJ Stander – 7.5
O’brien is a hard act to follow, but Stander did not shirk the physicality and instead thrived off it. An added handful for the All Black pack.

Rhys Webb – N/A
There was a moment when sparky Webb looked like he might just win the series by himself. Sadly not to be. Roll on 6N. Could not justify a rating. Replaced Murray 70′

Ben Te’o – N/A
Came on for HIA briefly and replaced a battle battered Sexton 73′

Jack Nowell – N/A
Given orders to find space and make something happen. Didn’t see any of the ball to make any impact. Replaced Watson 73′

Last thoughts and collated results
Overall team rating – 7.84
First XV rating – 8.00

Individual nation ratings

Scotland player rating – N/A
England player rating – 7.81
Wales player rating – 8.00
Ireland player rating – 7.70

And another Lions series is concluded. Many predicted doom and gloom and a thrashing at the hands of the All Blacks in their front yard. A final win to nip the series would have been a cheeky cherry on top, but a draw was fair. The Lions can take so many positives from this tour and have shown how a northern hemisphere style of play can shackle the All Blacks.

By Dave Beach

46 thoughts on “Lions Player Ratings Versus All Blacks Final Test

  1. Both captains should be scored 10 for the way in which they both conducted themselves both on and off the pitch, role models for all sports men and women.

    1. Well said BigDia, totally agree! It was a beautiful thing, this tour, and I found it very special to see the players all mixed up together for that great photo. And you just know that lots of terrific friendships have been made, which – hopefully! – evern the 6 Nations won’t blow apart. The best aspect of sport. And how about the fans? Not even a whisper of trouble – could that happen in football? Congrats to all who went, a credit to Ireland and UK.

      1. Exactly why every effort should be made to continue the Lions tours and give them a reasonable chance of success.
        With sport so much about cash these days, it’s great and I think important, to keep a tradition going that puts the emphasis on the game rather than the gate receipts (not that they aren’t pretty good for the hosting nation!)

  2. Must admit I think you’re being very generous to Farrell. His passing game was sloppier than usual and his first 20 in particular included more errors that you typically see from him in a season. That being said, it demonstrates his character that his second half performance was a lot better, as well as the fact is play around the park didn’t affect his goal kicking.

    Davies, Itoje and Warburton came out of Saturday with a huge amount of credit I thought, all three could have had 9s.

    1. must agree with you about Farrell, apart from his kicking he looked sloppy, maybe nerves. passing was shocking, also nearly giving away an interception try if it hadn’t been for JD. For me a 7 or 7.5.

      1. I’m not sure it’s nerves with him, but some players can have an off day. The miss pass for that intercept was totally unnecessary too, very out of character for him.

        There’s a good chance we’d have lot the test without him on the park though so that shouldn’t be underestimated.

        1. Possibly, Jacob. Interesting that Sean Fitzpatrick thought that some of the All Black errors came from just trying a bit too hard; and I think it was the same with Farrell. Trying so hard he was forcing it a bit, which you can’t afford to do against these people. But thank God he had his kicking boots on with a vengeance! He was still a hugely important element in this tour and the achievement.

    1. Really? And how many takles did he miss. Nor did i see him making line breaks or supporting runs. Im not saying farrell was rubbish just didnt have his best game. Kicked excellently and linked pretty well but thats about all

  3. Too high for Liam Williams whose performance under the high ball was atrocious and could have been much more damaging.

    Saracens are going to have do a lot of work on that front…

    1. He is a replacement for Ashton and, with Goode still the 15 option I think Williams will be used on the wing. Ashton going and Wyles nearing the end of his career, Williams is there to partner Maitland and Goode in the back three and, Goode is no winger.

    2. Yes, but at least people will talk to Liam. Lovely guy, great character. Ashton? Often hear the ‘c’ word used.

      1. I am not a fan of Chris Ashton, but you will find that he is VERY popular with his team mates.

  4. Interesting combined team from the 3 tests chosen by an Aussie sports site:
    15. Jordie Barrett
    14. Israel Dagg
    13. Jonathan Davies
    12. Owen Farrell
    11. Anthony Watson
    10. Beauden Barrett
    9. Connor Murray
    8. Kieran Read
    7. Sean O’Brien
    6. Jerome Kaino
    5. Brodie Retallick
    4. Maro Itoje
    3. Owen Franks
    2. Jamie George
    1. Mako Vunipola

    1. I don’t think I’d make one change to that team – it’s a very good selection.

      Maybe Daly/Dagg and Kaino/Warburton, along with the props as the only real marginal calls for me.

  5. JD sublime and that’s coming from an englishman (Man of the series imho)
    He could teach JJ a thing or two like ‘consistency’ for starters.
    ED what a weapon to have but needs to work on his defence as was responsible for two tries in consecutive tests.
    AWJ redeemed himself after the 1st test.
    Watson needs to bulk up a bit imo as there was less space for him at the top flight (hence partly why he was tryless).
    Murray was imperious! Best in the northern hemisphere (puts Young’s passing to shame)
    Williams marked too high. Did produce THE try but catching was a bit woeful. An area for Saracens to amend!

  6. As usual only 1 team’s rated. Bit insular or what? Mind you, funnily enough, the S. Times, which @ least marked the ‘other’ team too, rated the Lions slightly above NZ. This despite the fact that NZ dominated possession & territory & most other stats like scrums & line outs where the Lions were down by 23 & 29 %. So beats me how Itoje, e.g., rates quite so highly & as ‘the best lock in the world’ by Flatman? In the end it was played 10, won 5 drew 2 lost 3. When set against Gatland’s aim of winning the series, the Lions failed in their objective.

      1. GKDA
        Not my job.. or yrs? Don’t get paid. Happy to comment, if Hutch deems to opt for some AB balance, as per the reason for this site’s existence though.

    1. Uuuummmmm……! Let me think………!
      Maybe its just the Lions players because we’re in the UK!
      Talking about expecting SPECIAL TREATMENT or what!

      1. Alex,speaking as an Englishman you really do spout complete cobblers at times. Don P makes a perfectly valid point. Matches feature two teams who should be reported on without bias. Comment about those reports can be as one eyed as you like, which is lucky for you. Don’t agree with you about Itoje Don. I think he has made huge strides this tour and is now up there with Retallick Whitelock and Joe Launchbury.

        1. Andy
          Regrds. AlexD seems happier spending much time in his child ego state. It’s why I suggested therapy to him! Ha, ha. Anyway, I believe everyone comes from some degree of angle (NPI), or take, on issues within articles posted here. I’m likely somewhat defensive @ times, but then I’m also bound to have an alt take on rugby views in England coming from a diff rugby mindset & imbibed yrs of, IMO, Murdoch subjectivity within rugby reportage . My belief is that Itoje (& others, esp e.g. Farrell) are talked up too much before they have ‘done it’. Itoje seems to be the all singing, dancing master of all trades, yet stats v NZ in the last test for instance, don’t bear out his seeming dominance. I know it’s not a 1 man thing. There were 7 other fwds involved too. I see him as decent, but not as the No.1. lock in world rugby either.. yet. He needs to absolutely dominate his opposites to be that. NZ won 100% of their line outs & scrums last Sat. If Itoje had been in a pack with those figures, I’d be more inclined to agree with you. Not to say that he won’t reach this status, but for me the jury’s still ruminating.

  7. I think these scores show a bit of pride at the result of series, a little too high in a few cases imo.

    Thought Farrell was poor, particularly in 1st 20 but, fair play to the lad, kicked very well and LW wasn’t great – his aerial ability worries me. Warbs, Itoje and Davies played very well again. A good series altogether and, hopefully, enough to quiet the discontent at the Lions schedule.

  8. Whoever wrote this article is either blind or an idiot
    Farrell 8.5 is a joke yes he kicked his penalties well but this is not NFL you do not run on and off when there is a kick to be taken you have to be able to play the game and Farrell was awful
    In the 1st 20 mins he missed his 1st two tackles butchered a try opportunity kicked out on the full knocked on. Be honest in the 1st half he had a nightmare improved a little in the 2nd half but still a poor performance
    Yes he place kicked well but who is to say Daly or Sexton would not have slotted them.
    Perhaps we may have scored or prevented a try if Teo had been playing at 12 Farrell gave them the 1st one
    There are to many sacred cows players who are above criticism
    Stand out Lions

    1. Objectively speaking you may be correct about Farrell’s performance but there is no need to make personal comments or name-call at the writer…

    2. Re test sides,I think its easier to call the under-performers , for me = Mako, Sexton,Farrell,Murray,…why waste time, only Davies would make it in the ABs squad on that showing ,..the forwards deserve the glory and praise for holding the AB forwards to limit possession to their backs to around 55-60% was it? , over the series , anyway … lets be honest ,the creativity of the lions backs was woeful , without Williams moment of enterprise what attacking moment/s will we remember ?, Davies’ breaks? ,…cant remember anything worth mentioning from Sexy or Faz , as 10s they struggled to create anything that sticks in the mind , JD did more from the center,.. how much longer do we have to wait for another Jiffy, Bennet ,john?, .. the most exciting 10s were ignored , if i was selecting i would have picked Cipriani , Sam Davies , players who can create something from what seemingly is nothing , but with Gats ,…it ain’t gonna happen , look what he did to Wales !, we were an exciting open and fast team goin’ places under Ruddock, ? ,…zzzzzzzzz

      1. I would much rather Farrell took the late penalties in tests 2 and 3, than Cipriani.

        I would also rather him and/or Sexton defending against Williams and Maulape than Cipriani, Davies or Ford.

        Ford, Russell, Carberry, (Sam) Davies play the game along the lines of the afore-mentioned Welsh greats, but there is a very good, pragmatic, reason that Farrell, Sexton and Biggar were the Lions 10’s. The add to the defence and they play to the teams’ strengths, mitigating the risks.

        You’re a harsh critic Osiboy; Murray was average in the first test but excellent in 2 and 3. Apart from his odd period in the 2nd test, when he had some issues of discipline (which did not affect the result), Mako was superb on both sides of the ball.

        1. Blub
          Surely these comments echo yr (NH) defensive nature. Looking @ what a player CAN’T do! If Cip had played, he may have created more opportunities for tries/pts, so the BILs may NOT have needed ‘late penalties’ to have pulled their fat out of the fire.

    3. Sevegolf
      Tend to agree regarding Farrell & the ‘sacred cow’ thing, but you forgot to mention that he was also charged down trying to kick through the AB pack early on. ha, ha. He’s a competentIsh player, a goal kicker (although he missed a few in earlier games) & a tackler. Reliable & solid, he suits a certain mold, but a Bev Risman, Jack Kyle, Cliff Morgan, Barry John, Phil Bennett… or Danny Cip, he ain’t. How he was voted Euro player of the yr beats me. Passing the ball, tackling & kicking the pill (his jobs)? OTOH I think George is not a sacred cow either. Missed TOO many line outs. The others had decent tours, esp Davies (although even he ran sideways @ times), Furlong in the fr. row was shunted once or twice, Itoje was part of a pack bettered territoriality & possession wise last up & Falateau was a sound & constant rather than spectacular as, presumably, a sacred cow should be? Conversely, Warburton & the much maligned AWJ, e.g., did their bit too, surely?

  9. Pablito just read your combined team you have Farrell at 12 over the likes of the minibus Sonny Bill etc you are quite mad there must be 50 better 12,s in New Zealand he is a 10 and not a very good one apart from his place kicking

    1. Sevegolf. A few points.
      1. Calm down. You’ll do yourself an injury
      2. That team was chosen by a writer on an Aussie sports site – so an unbiased observer
      3. Farrell – with 2 Six Nations wins, a Grand Slam, back to back premiership titles, successive European Cup wins, a whitewash of Australia in Australia and now a tied Lions tour in NZ, to his credit – is quite clearly both an excellent 10 and an excellent 12

      1. I would also add that Sonny Bill did not play well in the time he was on the pitch across a game and a bit.

      2. Spot on Pablito.The best players are the ones who make mistakes but are not fazed by it and come to the to the table when the chips are down. Farrell did that in spades.

        1. As a Wales fan I agree Farrell didn’t always play at his best. But I’d always select him because of his attitude. Great competitor, test match animal – winner!

        2. Andy
          He kicked goals in 1 test which resulted in a DRAW v a team which, according to many observers, butchered plenty. He also missed tackles, other shots @ goal on tour, was charged down & kicked out on the full, ‘in spades’; ‘when the chips are down’ indeed!

      3. Pablito
        You’re attributing all in 3. to Farrell? There were 14 others in those teams presumably? Perhaps you could also define ‘excellent’. Sevegolf (& other commentators have) has valid points. Esp under pressure, Farrell was ordinary @ times on tour & unless you deem only his goal kicking in the last test as excellent, he certainly fell short of ‘excellence’.

    2. I think his European Champions team mates might disagree with you there. If he is so bad, why would the best coaches in the NH keep picking him to play for club, country and the Lions?

      1. Dazza
        Because they don’t trust invention & innovation. They see these attributes as ‘flaky’. When did England last have a truly creative fly1/2? It’s not that Farrell is so bad, it’s just that he’s nothing special. That he has a good penalty rate, doesn’t equate to his being an exceptional player. It’s a (esp an English?) weakness to hype certain players up & beyond their station. I mean how many tries does he score, e.g.? Additionally, under ‘best coaches’, maybe you could reappraise whet defines the ‘best’. Gatland for instance, only won 5 of 10 in NZ & his Wales can’t beat the SH for toffee… & even Eddie got put to the sword in Dublin after avowing that this wouldn’t happen. Maybe the best should do it, then talk about it after they’ve done it?

  10. I think one of the Lions that really impressed me was Sexton. Not just in attack, where he is a big threat ball in hand, but in defence. He put his body on the line the entire game, putting in some big tackles. Even when he looked down, he got back up and soldiered on. A lot of respect for him.

  11. I think one of the Lions that really impressed me was Sexton. Not just in attack, where he is a big threat ball in hand, but in defence. He put his body on the line the entire game, putting in some big tackles. Even when he looked down, he got back up and soldiered on. A lot of respect for him.

    1. Agreed he had a great game until he picked up that ankle injury after which he struggled. Should have been replaced at halftime but i can understand why he would have wanted a chance to prove his fitness when he was in such good form

    2. Jake
      He must have impressed you J, as you posted it x2! Agree he had a decent tour. I (& a few others?) thought he might not stand up to the rigours of same.

  12. Incredibly brave player. And kept the ABs honest in defence becaue he mixes up the game so well.

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