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Lions Tour Ratings

After 16 long years the British and Irish Lions have finally done, a Test Series victory! Not only that but it rounded off in the most magical of ways, a 41-16 3rd Test victory.

As part of our end of tour summary, here are our tour ratings for each of the 44 players that Warren Gatland used.* We would love to hear your thoughts, who was your favourite Lion, who impressed you the most, who would you have liked to see more of, who will star in four years time?

Leigh Halfpenny

 

Halfpenny had a magnificent tour and was rightly named player of the series. His kicking was immaculate, his positioning perhaps even better, while in the 3rd Test he also showed us his ball skills – none too shaby!

10

 

Rob Kearney

Injury prevented us from seeing the best of Kearney, he only appeared in the week leading up to the 1st Test. What we did see of him was as solid as ever though and you can see why they kept him on.

6

 

Stuart Hogg

For one so young his maturity in just accepting his fate as he was asked to play at fly half was impressive. He may not have excelled there but what he did he did with a smile and with authority. Had he complained it could have undermined the tour. An unsung hero.

8

 

Tommy Bowe

 

Bang in form and then a tour ending hand injury struck, or so we thought. Bowe returned for the second Test and without doing anything spectacular he proved what a valuable asset he is with some lovely touches, not least the move which led to Sexton’s try in the 3rd Test.

8

 

Alex Cuthbert

 

Cuthbert can consider himself highly unfortunate to have been dropped after scoring in the first Test. His finishing is sublime but defensive frailties ultimately cost him his place.

7

 

Christian Wade

Wade only played one game after flying over as injury cover and he had a bit of a stinker. He will learn though and without any doubt he added a lot to the touring party. Top bloke as the Aussies say.

5

 

Shane Williams

Called in as an emergency 3 day replacement and did what was asked, though he was rather anonymous on the field, a torn groin might explain that though! A sensational story regardless of the result.

5

 

Sean Maitland

Had his good moments and bad moments on tour but he certainly silenced any that questioned his right to be there. Was unlucky not to get on in the 1st Test.

7

 

George North

 

Sensational. North is now a global superstar and rightly so. His performances were outstanding and his mix of pace power and footwork is going to frighten defenders for years to come. Still only 21…!

10

 

Simon Zebo

Called up as injury cover and nearly played himself onto the Test bench. He looked as lively on the field as he was off it and he made a significant contribution in both areas. Perhaps should have been there from the start.

7

 

Jonathan Davies

 

You would have got long odds on Davies being the best centre on tour but that is exactly what he was. ‘How good was Jonathan Davies’ is a line being trotted out everywhere after O’Driscoll said it of his colleague after the Waratahs game and it sums Davies’ tour up perfectly.

9

 

Brian O’Driscoll

 

Whistled off the park in the 1st Test O’Driscoll was desperately unlucky not to be involved in the 3rd. He is now, if he ever was not, without doubt a Lions legend. His defence defies belief at times.

8

 

Manu Tuilagi

 

Looked good early on in the tour before a stinger rather curtailed his progress. Will have enjoyed his stroll out in the 3rd Test though!

6

 

Jamie Roberts

 

We should know by now, Roberts is a big game player. Average in the early parts of the tour and then ruled out of the first two tests with a hamstring injury. Most would have sent him home but Gatland kept the faith and Roberts repaid the faith in the 3rd.

7

 

Brad Barritt

Dragged away from holidaying in the USA Barritt played twice and without doing anything spectacular he also didn’t do much wrong.

6

 

Billy Twelvetrees

After being called up from Argentina as injury cover ‘36’ soon realised that the Lions is a whole different kettle of fish to a second string Puma’s side. Could be a star next time though.

5

 

Owen Farrell

 

Copped some flak for retaliating to Schalk Brits’ punch but then who wouldn’t retaliate? Grew as the tour went on though and ended the tour with praise ringing in his ears as he began to play on the gainline. Really good tourist.

8

 

Jonny Sexton

 

If Sexton’s play was a little quiet at times his attitude certainly was not. He is a real leader in the backline and demands excellence form those around him. We saw some of the best of him on Saturday but regardless, he was a key player.

8

 

Ben Youngs

 

Young generally played well and deserved his start in the 2nd Test. A more classic 9 than the other two Youngs perhaps suffered in selection for the 3rd for not fitting the game plan.

7

 

Mike Phillips

 

Never quite looked himself on this tour. He was good in Hong Kong before the management then protected him for much of the warm up period due to his knee. Was shackled by Mowen in the Tests.

6

 

Conor Murray

 

Came into the Tour as very much the third choice and ended it possibly as the best of the lot. Still needs to work on some of his decision making at times and he could be snappier but definitely a player who thrived in the Test environment.

8

 

Cian Healy

So unfortunate to have his tour cut short by injury, would almost certainly have started the Test otherwise. A bulldozer of a man.

5

 

Mako Vunipola

 

He was one of the stars of the early part of the tour but when push came to shove, almost literally, he was found wanting at scrum time. A better scrummager than some would have you believe though and truly outstanding around the park.

7

 

Alex Corbisiero

 

Called up as a replacement and turned into a star. Corbisiero may never play as well again as he did in the 3rd Test but only because he was that good. Emphatic at scrum time.

9

 

Tom Court

Proved that basing yourselves in the same country as the Lions when they tour is a clever ploy. Only played a few minutes.

5

 

Ryan Grant

 

Many thought that grant should have been in the initial squad and he didn’t do much to suggest otherwise when he did arrive. Rather unfortunate not to get on in the 2nd Test.

6

 

Richard Hibbard

 

If there is an accolade for the world’s hardest man then Hibbard must get it. He struggled with his throwing all tour but when it counted in the 3rd Test he had it under control. Scrum work was immense.

8

 

Tom Youngs

 

Tom Youngs is a special player. His transformation from centre to hooker will become the stuff of legends and he had an outstanding tour. Outstanding.

9

 

Rory Best

Many questioned why he was not in the initial touring part, unfortunately Best rather showed them why with some truly awful lineout throwing. Such a shame as he really is an excellent player.

4

 

Dan Cole

 

Good but not great. Cole played well throughout most of the tour but never seemed likely to oust the beast that is Adam Jones. Wobbled a little at the end of the 1st Test but came back admirably for the rest of the tour. Rather hoped for more though.

7

 

Matt Stevens

A surprise selection but that was where the surprises ended. Stevens was undoubtedly a great tourist and you suspect that was why he was really selected. Nothing wrong with that though and he barely put a foot out of line on the field bar one dropped pass.

6

 

Adam Jones

 

Jones was absolutely crucial to the Lions success. He was picked to scrum and scrum alone and that is exactly what he did, brilliantly. A world class tighthead.

9

 

Paul O’Connell

This man is an inspirational colossus, playing on with a broken arm rather sums him up. Had an excellent tour before it was cruelly cut short by injury but he was still vital.

8

 

Geoff Parling

 

Came on tour with many imagining him as the 4th or 5th choice out of 5 and ended it as one of the key leadership figures in the series. His tap tackle on Jesse Mogg will be remembered for a long time, while on a personal level a new baby and a Lions series win will make it about the most memorable period anyone has ever been through!

8

 

Richie Gray

 

Gray impressed at time throughout the tour and he deserved his Test appearance on Saturday but he never quite hit the heights that we all know he can. This experience will take him far though.

7

 

Ian Evans

Cracking midweek player who pushed hard for a Test spot. Reportedly one of the funniest men on tour too. Unfortunate to be in a position with so much quality.

7

 

Alun Wyn Jones

 

Had an excellent tour up to and including the 2nd Test but being named captain seemed to take his game up to a new level. He was truly outstanding on Saturday and absolutely justified his selection as captain. Brilliant.

9

 

Tom Croft

 

That try against the Waratahs was unspeakably good but aside from that he never quite hit the heights he can. That said, he was still pretty good and was unlucky not to be involved in the final Test.

8

 

Dan Lydaite

 

Took a lot of criticism early in the tour as he was seen as unfit and a gamble but he more than repaid the faith Warren Gatland put in him. Lydiate was outstanding in the Test series. The sort of guy that you want to play with because he makes life easy.

9

 

Sean O’Brien

 

Toured well and was unlucky to be 24th man in the 1st Test and on the bench in the 2nd. He was astounding in the 3rd Test though, particularly in the first half where is work rate was out of this world.

8

 

Sam Warburton

 

Took a lot of criticism and many questioned his right to be in the team but when the Test series came along he was magnificent. It was no coincidence that the wheels came off in the 2nd Test when Warburton went off injured. Captained very well too under immense pressure.

9

 

Justin Tipuric

 

Tipuric had a very good start to the tour and then tailed off somewhat but you suspect that was only due to the ridiculous amount of quality available in the back row. He deserved his chance off the bench on Saturday and performed admirably all tour.

8

 

Jamie Heaslip

 

Colossal tussle between Heaslip and Faletau for the number 8 shirt saw Heaslip nick it 2-1. Heaslip had a good tour without truly excelling in the Test series. That said, in the first two Tests there was hardly a lot of opportunity to.

8

 

Toby Faletau

 

Finally got his start in the 3rd Test and boy did he take it. He does dirty work brilliantly well and makes a lot of hard yards. Hard to believe that he is only 22, he plays like a man ten years older.

8

*Gethin Jenkins not included as he did not play a game before returning home through injury.

By Angus Savage

@AngusSavageXV

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