Saturday 4 February 2023 Dublin: 3°C
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# out of 10
Player ratings after the Lions lose in Dunedin
Who shone through the defeat for you?

THE LIONS LOST their second match on their tour of New Zealand at the home of the Highlanders. Find our match report from Dunedin here, or find some snap player ratings below.

Jared Payne: 6

Kiwi attacks might fancy their chances exploiting a not-as-quick-as-he-used-to-be fullback, but Payne continually shows the defensive nous to prove the first five metres are all in the head.

Acquitted himself really well without the ball, particularly when faced with the onrushing steam train of Waisake Naholo in the opening quarter, Payne set himself in a strong position and smashed the All Black wing to stop him in his tracks.

Jack Nowell: 5

Had the bit between his teeth after looking off the pace earlier on this tour, started brilliantly and attacked with real intent. But his fade from the game in the second half matched that of his team.

Jonathan Joseph: 7

His drop to signal the end of the game will be on all the newsreels today, but the English centre was a bright attacking threat throughout, showing quick feet to keep defenders guessing. Took his try extremely well too, backing his pace to take him to the line.

Jonathan Joseph scores his sides first try Billy Stickland / INPHO Billy Stickland / INPHO / INPHO

Robbie Henshaw: 8

A real stand-out performance through the defeat. Henshaw delivered a massive opening to set an uncompromising physical tone. Saved a certain try by hounding after Malakai Fekitoa, Highlanders did well to block him off for Waisake Naholo’s try.

Tommy Seymour: 7

Perhaps unlucky not to get early try when he was stopped millimetres short of the try-line and brilliantly telegraphed Lima Sopoaga’s cross-field kick to run in a second half intercept try. Scotland needs all the big performances they can get with Hogg gone off the tour.

Dan Biggar: 7

Kicked his goals well and showed he has the running game to finish off opportunities when given front foot ball.

Rhys Webb: 5

Every scrum-half not named Conor Murray is playing for a back-up role and Webb did little to change that state of play. Showed plenty of willingness to attack with ball in hand and made sure to land a big hit on Malakai Fekitoa when the opportunity arose, but he can’t afford to put passes on the ground.

Joe Marler: 4

Needs big performances in the loose to earn a place in any Test team and, on a fast track, made little impact. Jack McGrath replaced him in the second half and again proved himself a much more solid option to solidify games through the set-piece.

Rory Best: 5

Worked tirelessly around the breakdown and kept the line-out functioning at a high standard. Played little more than a half though with a blood injury and an early replacement call in the second half.

Kyle Sinckler: 5

The Harlequins prop is one of the stories of this tour, but wasn’t able to impose himself today. Made a big break in attack, but took the odd decision to pass to Jared Payne and tuck in behind rather than crash up into the outside backs that stood in front of him.

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Alun Wyn Jones: 7

Introduced midway through the first half after Courtney Lawes was concussed by Naholo’s bullish try-scoring finish. As ever, he delivers that hard edge in the tight and also exacted fitting retribution on the Highlanders by blocking for Warburton’s try.

Iain Henderson: 7

Looks back to himself after a sluggish opening to the tour, constantly made good headway through contact and helped convert slow rucks into go-forward ball. Playing with Alun Wyn Jones for extended stints like today will give him invaluable experience that could aid his game long after this tour is done and dusted.

James Haskell: 5

A former Highlander, Haskell didn’t have many happy returns to Dunedin. Made 10 tackles, but didn’t offer enough help either as a carrier or at the ruck to help out his fellow back rows.

Sam Warburton scores a try Dan Sheridan / INPHO Dan Sheridan / INPHO / INPHO

Sam Warburton: 6

The captain got himself on the score-sheet to temporarily give the sense of momentum about the Lions on this tour. Without being spectacular up to that point, the openside was pretty industrious. The big score under the posts will still be important for him and his coach when it comes to Test selection.

CJ Stander: 7

CJ is a marked man. Found himself closely watched today, so every yard to his name was extremely hard won. However, that never deterred his hunger for work in other aspects and his efforts at the ruck was important for the tourists, not least when completing the Iain Henderson-led turnover on his try-line.

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