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24th Jun 2017

New Zealand press go easy on Lions player ratings… just about

Two players copped some flak

Patrick McCarry

We’ve got to admit, when we saw ‘Ben Smith – 4’, we got worried for the Lions.

The All Blacks fullback lasted only 25 minutes before going off with a head knock but he left with his side 10 points to the good.

It was with trepidation that we scrolled down for the New Zealand Herald and Stuff player ratings after the All Blacks’ 30-15 victory over the Lions.

Warren Gatland’s men made a right fist of it for 55 minutes before Rieko Ioane’s two tries ended the contest and gave the hosts a 1-0 series lead. Jonathan Davies, Liam Williams and Sean O’Brien rated highest in the JOE player ratings with Alun Wyn Jones [4/10] getting the worst.

The Kiwi press did not hand over any 4s but there were a couple of 5/10 ratings.

Stuff gave Davies and Williams 8/10 but their Welsh compatriot, Jones did not fare as well. Awarding him 5, Tony Smith wrote:

‘Struggled with the pace of the game and shelled a first-half pass with a promising move beckoning. Will be under threat from Maro Itoje for a second test start.’

Over in the Herald, Lions outhalf Owen was rated the same as his JOE mark – 5/10. Andrew Alderson wrote:

‘Struggled to make an impact, given Lions lack of possession at times. Set backs free on occasion but verve absent.’

Elsewhere, there were 6s and 7s all around with O’Brien and Conor Murray being absolved of most of the play. As for the local lads, Brodie Retallick, Israel Dagg and All Blacks captain Kieran Read all rated very highly.

Read even got 8.5 in Stuff. High praise indeed.