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03rd Jul 2021

Perfect Josh Adams tops Lions player ratings after eight-try triumph

Patrick McCarry

Josh Adams


A flying start and a merciless end. In between, the Lions had a much-needed scrap. Our Lions player ratings have one 10/10.

It only took the Lions three minutes to open the scoring, with Chris Harris teeing up Gloucester teammate Louis Rees-Zammit for his first try with a dink over the top. Four minutes later and Hamish Watson was over, and the Lions led 14-0.

The home side showed some fight after that slow start and really should have pegged the Lions back when they were awarded a string of penalties. The Lions survived, though, and added to their lead when Ali Price scored a fine try off the back of a smart lineout set-play.

A fine Vincent Tshituka score for the Sigma Lions gave them hope, and the Lions went in 21-7 ahead at the break after Courtney Lawes foul play led to a Wyn Jones score being chalked off.

Stuart Hogg of British & Irish Lions is tackled by Rabz Maxwane of Sigma Lions at Emirates Airline Park in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

It was the same old story for the hosts, after the break, as they conceded early to another flying Welshman. This time it was Josh Adams and it was off another attacking set-play off a lineout.

Rabz Maxwane gave his side, and the match as a whole, a jolt when he ran a great support line and turned on the afterburners to score under the posts. Indeed, a Stuart Hogg try-saving tackle was the turning point of the whole game. The score stayed 28-14 and when Finn Russell set up Adams for his second try, that was game over.

It truly was, in the final quarter, when sub scrumhalf Gareth Davies nipped over for a try and Adams blazed up the left touchline for his hat-trick. Not long after, he scored his fourth as the tourists showed no mercy.

Here’s how we rated Warren Gatland’s Lions:

Stuart Hogg – 8

Some nice aerial takes and went on a lovely, jinking run on 28 minutes. Darted back, on 48 minutes, and emptied the tank to make a try-saving tackle on Sibusiso Sangweni.

Louis Rees-Zammit – 7

Only took him three minutes to get his first Lions try. Most of the action unfolded on his opposite wing, but he can be pleased with that debut.

Chris Harris – 8

His chip over the top teed up Rees-Zammit for the Lions opener. Very assured in attack and defence. Sam Warburton, on Sky, called his performamce “Quietly brilliant”. Did his Test chances no harm at all.

Owen Farrell – 8

Chased full blaze to make a big kick-chase tackle that put the hosts in trouble. Nice swivel and pass to tee up Price’s try. Chased back to mop up after a missed tackle, but Sigma Lions kept the move alive and scored soon after. Switched to outhalf for the final 20 minutes and pinged all eight of his conversions.

Josh Adams – 10

Beat three defenders and showed lovely feet to score, just after half-time. His grubber for Jamie George should have led to a try. Grabbed his second when Russell found him out wide with a sublime kick. Bagged his hat-trick with a tasty snipe up the left touchline. Wasn’t finished yet and danced in for try number four, late on. Did everything that was asked of him, so gets a 10.

Finn Russell – 9

Pulling the strings and having lots of fun out there. His partnership with Owen Farrell showed promise, but they were not fully clicking. His dinked kick to Adams for his second try was one of the highlights of the game. One kick from hand that went out on the full. Would have been handy to see him do some goal-kicking, even in the second half.

Ali Price – 6

Scored his first Lions try off a well-worked lineout set-play. Kept his team ticking over well but did miss a couple of tackles in defence.

Wyn Jones – 7

Denied a try with his quarterback sneak when Lawes’ neck-roll was spotted. Made eight tackles and enjoyed the scrummaging challenge.

Jamie George – 7

All of his lineout darts were on target. Almost had his first Lions try but a cruel bounce did him in.

Kyle Sinckler – 7

Penalised for a dangerous tackle as the Lions were forced to dig deep when 14-0 up. Stuck all 12 of his attempted tackles and made 21 metres off five carries.

Maro Itoje – 7

Called his lineout expertly. Was slow to the breakdown on a couple of occasions. Did secure his team a turnover at the breakdown in the second half. Needs another game or two before the Test Series, especially if Gatland is planning on starting him.

Jonny Hill – 6

Not the only one out there to misplace a pass, but he did it twice to cough up possession. Made some hard carries as the Lions wrung out the game in the second half.

Courtney Lawes – 6

Pinged for a neck roll, which saw a Lions try scrubbed out. Decent shift, that penalty aside.

Hamish Watson – 8

Bullocked over from close range for the Lions’ second try of the night. Conceded a penalty just outside his 22, at the breakdown, to give the home side their first attacking foray.

Toby Faletau – 6

Solid outing from the Wales No.8. Stuck all 12 of his tackles and made a number of carries that got his side over the gainline.


Sam Simmonds (for Faletau ’58) – 5

Was penalised for a rough clean-out on a Lions scrumhalf.

Mako Vunipola (for Jones ’58) – 6

Carried with intent when he came on.

Zander Fagerson (for Sinckler ’58) – 6

Gareth Davies (for Price ’60) – 7

Scored his first Lions try, five minutes after coming on.

Elliot Daly (for Russell ’60) – 6

Iain Henderson (for Itoje ’69) – 6

Luke Cowan-Dickie (for George ’69) – 5

Bundee Aki (for Harris ’69) – 5