Reds v Lions: Lions player ratings

lions
15. Stuart Hogg: 6
Looked solid in defence, including one try-saving tackle on Tapuai, but has yet to dazzle the way he did in a Scotland shirt in the Six Nations. Plenty more to come, you sense, but time is running out.

14. Alex Cuthbert: 6.5
Made 94 metres from nine carries, which is an impressive return, but would have been very disappointed not to have finished after Bowe’s superb break in the first half. Was also caught out rushing up in defence for Morahan’s try.

13. Manu Tuilagi: 5.5
Didn’t have sufficient time to influence proceedings before being forced off with a ‘stinger’ to the shoulder.

12. Jonathan Davies: 6.5
Looked comfortable at 12, where he made his tackles and distributed well. Didn’t do anything to really press his claims ahead of the other three contenders, however.

11. Tommy Bowe: 8
Bowe was simply sublime before suffering the cruelest of fates and being forced off not just the field but the tour itself with a broken bone in his hand. Looked so dangerous with ball in hand, and is a real blow to the Test team.

10. Owen Farrell: 7
Much better from Farrell, who managed to get flat and attack the opposition more than usual – four clean breaks is testament to this. It was great to see him cutting the sort of lines off Youngs that Flood has become renowned for – this speaks of a much better understanding between the pair.

9. Ben Youngs: 7.5
His first start of the tour and there was plenty on show to suggest he would push Phillips all the way for the test jersey. Sniping runs kept the Reds defence honest around the fringes of the contact area, while aggressive defence effectively forced the error that allowed him to pounce and score the crucial try. His box-kicking – an area that has come on hugely this season – was exemplary.

1. Mako Vunipola: 7.5
Vunipola is having an incredible tour – this was his third outing in a week, but you could not tell. More than solid in the scrum once again, if a little quieter in the loose than normal, it was another performance that would have filled Gatland with hope after losing his other two loose-heads to injury.

2. Tom Youngs: 7.5
100% at the line-out speaks for itself, and after Best struggled in that area during the week Youngs has confirmed himself as the only man likely to be challenging Hibbard for the test spot.

3. Matt Stevens: 7
More solid stuff from Stevens who continues to back-up Gatland’s controversial call to include him. Scrum looked good and there were a couple of nice touches with the ball too.

4. Richie Gray: 6
Still not finding the form that made a name for himself, and is running out of chances to do so. Gave away three penalties and was not as obvious in the loose as he should be with that shaggy blonde mane.

5. Geoff Parling: 8
The line-out master lived up to his name once again, as the tourists’ set piece was faultless and the Reds lost a third of theirs. Will push all the way for a test spot.

6. Dan Lydiate: 7
Almost the first 6.75 to be handed out, Lydiate’s performance was on the border of good and very good. Made an impressive 15 tackles and counter-rucked til his heart was content, but one metre made from six carries is pretty average. A completely different player to Croft or O’Brien, it will all come down to how Gatland wants his test team to play.

7. Sam Warburton: 7
A quietly impressive performance from the skipper, who did not set the world alight in the way that Tipuric and O’Brien had before him. He impressed with ball in hand, however, and was another to tackle his heart out.

8. Toby Faletau: 6.5
Before the tour Faletau was nailed on at eight, but after Heaslip’s heroics during the week it is now a much more closely-fought battle. Did not do anything special agains the Reds, but to be fair to him it was a different sort of game with the Lions not enjoying nearly the same kind of dominance.

Replacements:

George North: 9
Missed a quarter of the match but you cannot tell from his stats. Made 138 metres in just eight carries, and seemed to break tackles every time he got the ball. A complete performance is a bit of a cliché, but it is entirely apt here. Now, if you weren’t clichéd out already, he is one of the first names on the test team sheet.

The rest of the subs added impetus late in the game, and O’Connell’s experience was especially important in closing the match out. Dan Cole managed on the wrong side of the scrum very well, while in his preferred position Adam Jones was more obvious in the loose and at the breakdown than normal.

By Jamie Hosie
Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jhosie43

11 thoughts on “Reds v Lions: Lions player ratings

  1. Think marks for Hogg, Cuthbert, Lydiate and Warburton are too high

    Hogg was nowhere near as assured as Halfpenny, his decision-making looked off and he ran up blind alleys a couple of times

    Cuthbert’s defence was poor and not just for Morahan’s try where I thought he’d been blocked. His positioning was out and he was turned a few times by kicks from Cooper

    Lydiate offered nothing beyond some good tackles, but at this level you need more than that.

    Warburton was outplayed at the breakdown. What will happen if he comes up against Hooper or Gill?

    1. 100% agree with what Pablito has said.

      Also, 1m from 6 carries is “average” – thats being generous Jamie.

      I dont expect Lydiate to be making 50m a game, but of 6 carries he should be making more than 1m. Christ, he wasnt even making 20cm per carry!

      If Lydiate plays in the tests, he will be thanking God that Higgenbotham picked up an injury. Dennis is not the same animal as big Scotty.

  2. Cuthbert’s defensive play worries me significantly, every performance confirms to me more and more what I have suspected for a while, that he is more of an athlete than rugby player. Similarly with ball, he doesn’t do anything, just runs at people.

    His physical tools are exemplary but he doesn’t have much of a feel for the game. However, it looks like he’s going to start the tests as Maitland doesn’t seem very popular with Gats (a mistake I feel) and Zebo will be coming in too late to really stake a claim without some heroics.

    1. I think on current form and natural ability and feel for the game, Zebo could walk straight into the test 14 shirt. I think Gatland is looking at Maitland as a potential utility back for the bench (hence being tested at FB tomorrow), especially with Kearney out as well. Cuthbert runs hard with the ball but offers little else, and some of his defensive positioning makes Ashton look good.

  3. Warburton was handed off by a winger! For someone who has been sitting in the gym and working on their guns that is pretty disappointing.

    1. Bol-locks to Mr B’s comments about Gray, he was all over the field making a serious number of tackles as well as good line-out work along with Parling. More to come from both locks I think.

      1. Fair enough have your opinion but no need to use profanity like its a football blog, if you disagree with me thats fair enough but leave out the the childish stuff like bol-locks as I am entitled to my opinion too, I just don’t think he has lived up to his first season hype!

  4. Indeed, Robbie. The stats say Gray made 11 tackles and didn’t miss any. HE won a couple of lineouts, but more than that, his prowess and height at the lineout mean the opposition try to throw away from him, leading to errors. Parling was brilliant at snapping these up against the Reds. But make no mistake, he was getting the chance because the Reds were trying to avoid Gray in the line.
    Note that Lydiate gave away 3 penalties too and missed tackles, yet he got a 7/10.
    You gave Tuilagi a 5.5 and he was barely on the pitch at all.
    Hogg, for his 6, was hideously exposed by his 3/4s many times, but stayed cool under the pressure and played on thru a leg knock.

    1. agree with Jeepy and Robbie, i think Gray was better than given credit for here. i definitely think that he warranted a better rating than all the backrowers. they had pretty poor games in my mind.

  5. Lydiate, Warburton, Faletau, Hogg and Curthbert had pretty ordinary to bad games. Lydiate did end well though in terms of tackles.

    Glad Parling is scoring high, as his lineout excellence is essential given how shaky it has been in the past two games.

    North was devestating, best game i’ve ever seen from him.

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