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How the Lions rated in their narrow win over the Wallabies

The tourists did just enough to edge a terrific game down under.

Image: INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Leigh Halfpenny – 8

He is human. A missed kick on the stroke of half time, but apart from that he was once again flawless off the tee and quietly efficient in every other facet of the game.

Alex Cuthbert – 7

Limited contribution in first half. Dropped one high ball, but more assured defensively when marshaled by O’Driscoll. Took his try superbly off a set move made for Tommy Bowe.

Brian O’Driscoll – 8

Frustrated by Chris Pollock’s odd interpretation of the breakdown early on, it was typical of him to lead the charge back into the game. Held nothing in reserve and popped up everywhere in defence. Didn’t miss one of his 11 tackles.

Jonathan Davies – 6

Understandably, not as impressive as his outings in his favoured outside centre role, but carried effectively and allowed his midfield partner freedom to go and influence the game.

George North – 9

Magic.

We’ll forgive a little taunt towards Will Genia, because he showed why so much hope began to rest on his shoulders as the tour wore on towards this point. Until he broke three tackles en route to a spectacular score the tourists looked like a side struggling to come up with an idea of how to breach the golden wall. His one-man counter-attack changed the face of the game and the series.

Jonathan Sexton – 8

Difficult to be too critical of him for buying a sensational Folau dummy. His highlight was the execution of Cuthbert score, exploiting the space where Michael Hooper was filling in as a centre. But his all-round contribution was the touchpaper for almost everything good about the Lions attack.

Mike Phillips – 6

Not often overshadowed by his opposite number, but completely burnt off by Will Genia’s genius for the opening try and struggled to dominate the game’s tempo in the manner he is used to.

Alex Corbisiero – 6

An early scrum penalty promised a set-piece dominance that never really materialised as the Wallabies earned a level of parity at the coalface.

Tom Youngs – 8

Kept his darts simple and got them right. Justified his selection as a bolter, but his lack of international experience perhaps showed in the manner he waned as the game wore on. No reason to change the starting front row next weekend.

Adam Jones – 7

Made several carries in the build-up to Australia’s opening score – a sequence which should have given the Lions a 3-0 lead – to no avail.

Alun Wyn Jones – 7

Terrific work at the breakdown in the opening 40 and worked well in tandem with O’Connell, a partnership that should endure throughout the series.

Paul O’Connell – 8

Lasted the pace impressively in a game far removed to the grappling style that would suit him best, gave the pack the grunt that should have laid the platform for a more convincing win.

Tom Croft – 7

Struggled with injury in the lead-up and was certainly less effective than his usual self as he had to focus on some of the more basic elements of his job rather than stretching his legs in space.

Sam Warburton – 7

Some timely interventions in the contact zone, but still looked like a captain-in-waiting rather than the man in possession of the role. Must grow in confidence from this result, however fortunate it was in the end.

Jamie  Heaslip – 8

The most effective of the Lions back-row, but on his watch the tourists passed up a golden opportunity to wrap the game up with a scrum in front of the posts.

Replacements:

Mako Vunipola (on for Corbisiero after 52 mins) - 3

Supposed to add a carrying threat off the bench, but made little impact and weakened the scrum.

Dan Cole (on for Jones after 52 mins) – 4

Like his England front row partner, uncharacteristically contributed to a weakened scrum which handed the hosts opportunities to win a game that should have been over.

Ben Youngs (on for Phillips after 62 min) – 4

His introduction was needed with Phillips looking flat, but the impetus was tailing out of the Lions as a collective foot was taken off the pedal and he struggled as a result.

Richard Hibbard, Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Owen Farrell, Sean Maitland – not on long enough to be rated.

Here’s genius of Genia and North from the Lions’ tussle with Australia

As it happened: Lions v Australia, 2013 Tour

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TheScore Team

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