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Dublin: 4°C Friday 5 March 2021

How the Lions rated in their 2nd Test against Australia

That was tough going for all concerned.

Image: ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

Leigh Halfpenny – 7

Did the basics to satisfaction and was unfortunate to come up an inch short with his opening kick. Struggled to contribute in open play and the last-gasp kick was always a touch out of his range.

Tommy Bowe -6

Exactly three weeks since his last outing in a season where injury was never far away he looked a little short on match practice. However, in the second half he showed his big match temperament with critical take on the high ball and then drifting over to wrap up Tomane before he had a chance to profit from Genia’s cross-kick in the final 10 minutes.

Brian O’Driscoll – 7

Laid down a marker with big hit on his opposite number. Limited part to play in attack and that frustration showed in delaying pass to Jon Davies which was intercepted by Israel Folau as a result.

Jonathan Davies – 6

In a tight game his attacking threat was almost null. Poor attempted grubber in first half ended attack when tourists threatened to raid on the left wing. Long kick chase in second half was better and deserved better than an instant turnover after he robbed Folau. Couldn’t stop Cooper crossing for the winning score.

George North – 8

One iconic moment in taking Israel Folau for a ride across the gain-line, but wasn’t given the opportunities of last week. Physicality is still invaluable as he also showed when flooring James Horwill on a 50-50 high ball.

Jonathan Sexton – 7

Bad missed touch at the end of fourth quarter and was frustrated throughout by the stifling pressure. Gatland asked for better game management after Brisbane and that perhaps stunted his normal heads up style.

Ben Youngs – 6

Did well with zippy service from the base, but could not exert control on the flow of the game and the Lions made few inroads in attack. Replaced by Murray just after 50 minutes as Gatland hoped to turn the screw.

Mako Vunipola – 4

His scrummaging was known to be his weak point, but the dry turf was expected to limit the number of scrums. Instead, the Wallabies happily targeted the set-piece and squeezed early penalties out of the rattled prop. Got away with some questionable late scrums to help the Lions lead at half time.

Second half was better but still had a nightmare moment to turn the ball over after Davies had moved play forwad 60 metres and won possession in the Australian 22.

‘Mako, what are ya at?’ ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

Tom Youngs -7

Another excellent shift from the Leicester man on the field with his brother. Hit his targets on the set-piece, but was replaced before the hour as the Lions needed extra oomph in attack.

Adam Jones – 8

Won a vital penalty to level matters at six apiece. Persevered despite the loose-head side crumbling and won vital penalties when the tide looked to be turning the home side’s way in the first half.

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Alun Wyn Jones – 7

Another Trojan effort in the engine room where all the action was being played out in dark corners of rucks. MIssed his partner, but was a huge part in helping the Lions into a winning position.

Geoff Parling – 6

Had big shoes to fill in Paul O’Connell’s absence, but was never going to have the same contribution as the Munster man. Still a solid outing, but the lack of second row cover on the bench told for both him and Jones in the end.

Dan Lydiate – 8

His trademark work rate and tackle count were present. Crucial in combining with Warburton to make this game into a dogfight rather than a shoot-out which the Wallabies hoped. Only starting back row to last the 80.

Sam Warburton – 9

Forced the early (missed) penalty from Michael Hooper. The captain has grown into the role as his form and fitness come back. Justified his selection today with excellent work in the tight. was carried off after making 13 tackles and three turnovers and was sorely missed as Australia laid siege to the line.

Jamie Heaslip – 7

Made some hard yards and as ever contributed his weight to the forward effort in an attritional contest that needed every last kilo. Replaced by Sean O’Brien after the hour.


Conor Murray (On for Youngs 53 mins) - 5

Instant contribution winning breakdown penalty in his own 22 and initially gave the tourists an extra impetus before the tide turned.

Richard Hibbard (On for Youngs 56 mins) 3

Showed why Youngs is first choice with some scrappy throws in the line-out, but was unable to have any real impact.

Dan Cole (On for Jones 60 mins) 4

Managed to improve the scrum  in his time on the field. Only let down by slow reactions on the back of a loose line-out, but you’d always back a flanker act faster than a tight-head.

Sean O’Brien (on for Heaslip 64 mins) – 4

Was given a short run from number eight but Warbuton’s injury pushed him to the openside. Brought in for impact that switch hampered his carrying chances, but looked lively on loose ball.

Tom Croft. Not on long enough to be rated.

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TheScore Team

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