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The winners and losers from the Lions' win over the Waratahs

47-17, another convincing win for the Lions and the Test XV is beginning to look a little clearer.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Winners

WE COULD HARDLY start without a nod to Simon Zebo. His performance in Sydney showed just how odd his omission from this squad was in the first place.

With a doubt over George North, and Alex Cuthbert and Sean Maitland looking out of form, Zebo was given every opportunity to blaze a trail into the Test side. In the first half he could scarcely have done more to bend Warren Gatland’s ear.

He tapered off after running out of steam in the second half. But whether it was his first touch in a Lions jersey – where we was denied a try by the most slender margin after a superb cover tackle from Drew Mitchell – or his general threat in open field, looking for work and keeping the defence guessing when at first receiver; Zebo looked as much at home in the red of the Lions as he does in Munster. Bolter?

The tour captain, Sam Warburton, continues to divide opinion with an axe. But with a solid – yet, by no means spectacular – performance in Sydney, Gatty’s head boy looks to have done just about enough to lead the side out for the first Test next week.

With questions still hanging over him, Gatland may well opt to play him on the blindside with Justin Tipuric at number seven. But after Tom Croft’s brilliance in his curtailed second half today, it leaves the exact make-up of the back row open for much discussion before the team is announced later this week.

More than any back against the Waratahs, Jonathan Davies, laid down a very solid claim for a test jersey. The Welsh centre was terrific in attack and defence, scoring one and assisting in three tries on top of Zebo’s early effort that was chalked off.

With his hands and work-rate, Davies looks the best option in the number 12 shirt. He and Brian O’Driscoll will surely chop and change midfield roles with one another as the situation demands.

Davies logs onto TheScore.ie app to see if he made the grade. ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Losers

Not to add insult to injury, but Davies’ form peaked just as his countryman, Jamie Roberts, experienced a dip. The good doctor picked a bad time to look thoroughly one-dimensional, but today was that day.

Injury struck at an even worse time. Manu Tuilagi (shoulder permitting) will offer a greater, more varied threat off the bench than even a fit Roberts, so the Racing-bound centre must hope of regaining fitness for Tests two and three along with the other breakthrough Lions of ’09, Tommy Bowe and Rob Kearney.

Like Zebo, Sean Maitland, had an opportunity today. Unlike the Corkman, he fell short.

Poor in defence for the ‘Tahs’ opening try and for the most part ineffective in attack. A lovely, skillful footballer, but his lack of international experience is being exposed.

Aussie paper unveils Lions Slab-O-Meter ahead of Waratahs match

As it happened: Lions v Waratahs, 2013 Tour

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About the author:

Sean Farrell

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