Lions player ratings: Tom Curry empties the tank

Date published: July 14 2021 - Adam Kyriacou

Take a look at the British and Irish Lions player ratings following their 17-13 defeat to South Africa ‘A’ in Cape Town on Wednesday.

15 Liam Williams: Lasted just 14 minutes and had to be replaced by Elliot Daly following a head injury assessment. 6/10

14 Anthony Watson: Produced a try-saving tackle on S’busiso Nkosi early on and prospered both under the high ball and in open play. 7

13 Chris Harris: Like most of his colleagues, saw little of the ball in attacking play during the early blitz, but was instrumental in a major improvement thereafter. 6

12 Bundee Aki: Punched his weight as the Lions tried to take the game to South Africa ‘A’ after a difficult start. 6

11 Louis Rees-Zammit: Agonisingly short of the line when stretching out to try to give his side the lead and pinned Cheslin Kolbe on his own try-line with the screw turning. 6

10 Owen Farrell: Kicked poorly out of hand in the early stages and was charged down by Eben Etzebeth for the opening try on a night when he took several big hits, but kept going. 5

9 Conor Murray: Struggled to establish a relationship with his half-back partner early on, but gradually worked his way into the game. 6

Increasing threat

8 Taulupe Faletau: Grew into the game as the Lions fought back and was an increasing threat with the ball in hand. 6

7 Tom Curry: A thorn in the hosts’ side throughout as he foraged for the ball and repeatedly exploited the space ahead of him with ball in hand, and also charged down a Faf de Klerk kick. 8

6 Josh Navidi: As busy as ever in the heat of the back-row scrap and made a series of telling surges forward. 6

5 Iain Henderson: Helped to turn the tide as the Lions’ maul started to make an impact and earn them a greater share of the ball. 6

4 Maro Itoje: A constant nuisance at the breakdown and dominant at the lineout, he drove the Lions forward throughout. 8

3 Kyle Sinckler: Gave no quarter in a brutal front-row battle and was never found wanting as the Lions’ pack hammered away deep inside the South African 22. 6

2 Ken Owens: Solid on his lineout throws and industrious in the forward battle to help the tourists claw their way back into the game. 6

1 Wyn Jones: Forced an early scrum collapse from the South Africans and worked tirelessly in the loose, getting his rewards with a first Lions try before being forced off with a shoulder injury. 6

Replacements

An entirely new front-row freshened the Lions for the final assault, but it was Daly, who replaced the injured Williams early on, who caught the eye with a combination of committed defence, intelligent kicking and impressive line breaks. 7