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Player Ratings: Lions Lose First Game Of Tour In Exciting Game Vs Blues

Player Ratings: Lions Lose First Game Of Tour In Exciting Game Vs Blues
By Balls Team Updated
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The Lions suffered the first defeat of their New Zealand tour as they went down 22-16 to the Blues at Eden Park.

It was, however, a far more encouraging performance than Saturday's against the Provincial Barbarians. Also, it should come into consideration that this was a Blues side featuring eight All Blacks.

On the night, the Lions defence looked mostly solid. That was until the New Zealand side cut through for the winning try through replacement out-half Ihaia West.

Encouragingly, the Lions' scrum and lineouts both very solid.

Leigh Halfpenny - 5

As you'd expect, the Wales fullback kicked well from the tee. Though, that is the least you expect from Halfpenny.

Jack Nowell - 4

The England winger was caught out badly for the Blues' first try. Nowell came far too narrow allowing space for the electric pace of Rieko Ioane.

Jared Payne - 6

Payne came agonisingly close to scoring the Lions' first try of the game when he touched down in the corner but his foot was judged to have been in touch.

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Worryingly left the game injured early in the second half with a calf injury which has already troubled him on this tour. He was replaced by Liam Williams.

Robbie Henshaw - 6

After a fairly anonymous first half, he started the second well with some intelligent use of the ball through the boot. Offered himself up for plenty of work. Carried 11 times.

Elliot Daly - 6

Started the game on the wing but then moved to centre eight minutes into the second half when Jared Payne was forced off through injury.

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Dan Biggar -6

The Wales out-half lasted just 35 minutes before having to leave the game for a HIA. He was replaced by Johnny Sexton and did not return to the game.

Looked assured during his time of the pitch.

Rhys Webb - 7

The scrum-half looked sharp throughout. Directed the maul well for CJ Stander's try.

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Cemented his position in the test pecking order above Greig Laidlaw.

CJ Stander - 8
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The Munster backrow was one of the standout performers for the Lions, particularly in the opening half.

Scored a try off a well-worked rolling maul in the first half.

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Made more carries than any other Lions player with 17. Also ran for 41 metres and put in 14 tackles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cFg6CndSkxM

Justin Tipuric - 7

The Wales openside had an outstanding first half but was one of those culpable for Lions indiscipline as the penalty count mounted up in the second 40.

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James Haskell - 6

Tackled nine times during his 53 minutes on the pitch. Was replaced by Peter O'Mahony.

Courtney Lawes - 7

The England second row will certainly have inserted himself into Warren Gatland's thoughts as a second row test option with one of the Lions' standout performances against the Blues.

Tackled nine times and carried eight times. Also caused disruptions in the Blues line, stealing off one of the New Zealand side's throws.

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Maro Itoje - 6

Put in seven tackles as he played the full 80 minutes. Though he did also miss three, the joint most of any Lions player.

Dan Cole - 6

A huge part of a solid Lions scrum. Didn't offer much beyond the set piece.

Ken Owens - 7

Lions captain on the night.

The lineout looked reliable during his 68 minutes on the pitch. Though did throw one dodgy dart towards the end.

Jack McGrath - 8

Played well during his 53 minutes on the pitch. The Lions scrum looked solid providing a good attacking base. Also put in some immense work defensively with 12 tackles.

Notable replacements:
Johnny Sexton - 6

Entered the game after 35 minutes as a HIA replacement for Dan Biggar. Looked to be in better form than we saw on Saturday against the Provincial Barbarians.

Got badly beaten by Blues replacement out-half Ihaia West for the winning try.

Liam Williams - 4

Yellow carded in the 56th minute after a second mid-air collision in the space of five minutes.

See Also: Warren Gatland Snaps At Criticism From New Zealand Media

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