Lions player notes: How tourists fared in the South African series | British and Irish Lions


Stuart Hogg (Exeter, Scotland) Glad to finally be part of the Test team on his third Lions tour. Will not remind me of the second Test with immense pleasure, unfortunately. ★★

Anthony Watson (Bath, England) Looked good in provincial games but had limited impact in the first two tests. Not the easiest series to be a winger. ★★

Liam Williams (Scarlet, Wales) Eventually picked to start the final test and had its moments, without being quite at its best. His decision not to go unmarked Josh Adams was a defining moment for the series. ★★

Josh Adams (Cardiff, Wales) He ripped him apart in the provincial games and earned his tryout selection. First Leo to witness the birth of his first child on the Internet. ★★★

Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) If he had arrived on the field in the final test, he would have participated in all matches on the tour. With Jamie George, I spent almost as much time brewing coffees for the guys. ★★★

Chris Harris (Gloucester, Scotland) Has justified his selection of tour and rightly chosen for the second test. It’s not his fault that he barely received a pass. ★★★

Robbie Henshaw (Leinster, Ireland) The touring team didn’t create enough behind the scrum but, once he got over a hamstring pain, the Leinster cross was the Lions’ most consistent three-quarterback. ★★★★

Bundee Aki (Connacht, Ireland) The Lions have never been able to be entirely satisfied with their ideal midfielder. Aki and Henshaw ended up being their most menacing offensive combo. ★★★

Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester), Scotland) By no means perfect, but underlined in the third test why Gatland chose him. Physically resisted anything thrown at him. ★★★

Dan Biggar (Northampton), Wales) Great communicator and a Gatland favorite who started all three tests. But would a more positive game plan have produced a better result for the series? ★★★

Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) The England captain would have hoped to play a much bigger role on the pitch. A tireless team man as always, but his omission of the third test team was stung. ★★

Owen Farrell has remained a peripheral figure Photograph: Gallo Images / Getty Images

Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) Chosen to add something different and showed his range of skills in the final test. Also kicked his goals and was almost the star of the entire show on Saturday. ★★★

Ali Price (Glasgow, Scotland) Perhaps the ascending history of the tour. He took off as a likely number three scrum-half, only to establish himself as the undisputed number one. ★★★

Conor Murray (Munster, Ireland) More ups and downs than a bustling fairground attraction. He was expected to be one of the Lions conductors, but too often he struggled to pick up the pace. ★★


Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter, England) A constant ball of dynamic energy and deserved to start the first two Tests. Scorer for one of the Lions’ two tries in the series. ★★★

Ken Owens (Scarlet, Wales) “The Sheriff” was the Lions’ other try-scorer and put his body on the line like never before. Did well to keep Jamie George out of 23 for the entire series. ★★★

Wyn Jones (Scarlet, Wales) Too bad the injury limited the Welsh farmer’s contribution. Was excellent against South Africa’s “A team” and the Lions scrum has always been better for his presence. ★★★

Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh, Scotland) Propelled into the limelight by Wyn Jones’ untimely injury, but mostly found life difficult against seasoned scrummers from South Africa. ★★

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) Back in shape and pulling, he contributed a lot during his time on the pitch. If it hadn’t been for the line-up on Saturday, the Lions might have won the series. ★★★

Tadhg Furlong (Leinster, Ireland) Solid as a rock and a key member of a lion pack that has never lacked wit. DJ skills, in tandem with Tom Curry, apparently still need work. ★★★★

Kyle Sinckler (Bristol, England) Showed why it should have been an original choice for the tour. One day he will win a decisive match against South Africa. ★★★

Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) Probably the best Lions player on tour. He faced off against the great Springboks forwards and came away with a solid reputation. ★★★★

Maro Itoje escapes tackle from Eben Etzebeth
Maro Itoje was the Lions’ best player. Photograph: Ashley Vlotman / Sportsfile / Getty Images

Alun Wyn Jones – captain (Ospreys, Wales) Earn an extra star just for coming back from his injury that was supposed to end the tour. Well run on his side, he will be absolutely devastated by the result of the series. ★★★★

Adam Beard (ospreys, Wales) Another late call that grabbed the chance with both hands. Almost started the first test and earned the full respect of South Africa. ★★★

Tadhg Beirne (Munster, Ireland) Unlucky not to play more but the competition for his position was particularly fierce. The final test, less stifling, could have suited him. ★★★

Courtney Lawes (Northampton, England) Another to start the three tests and added to the Lions lineup options. If anyone deserves a transatlantic trip, they do it. ★★★

Tom Curry (Sale, England) It’s easy to forget that Curry just turned 23. Must cut back on penalties he concedes but a decent bet to be England’s next captain. ★★★

Hamish Watson (Edinburgh, Scotland) The Six Nations player of the tournament had to sit patiently behind Tom Curry. Fortunately not to have received a yellow card during the first test. ★★

Jack Conan (Leinster, Ireland) A remarkable effort to establish himself as the starting No. 8. Stable if not particularly spectacular. ★★★

Taulupe Faletau (Bath, Wales) The spirit remains strong-willed, but the hugely influential and dynamic Leo of 2013 and 2017 was barely seen. Not chosen to start one of the test matches. ★★

Sam Simmonds (Exeter, England) It would have been nice to see him on the pitch from the start on Saturday. Fastest advance on each side. ★★★

Louis Rees-Zammit, Jonny Hill, Iain Henderson, Jamie George, Josh Navidi, Zander Fagerson, Gareth Davies, Marcus Smith, Justin Tipuric and Ronan Kelleher were not featured in the Test series.

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