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Player Ratings: Lions Beat The Crusaders With Immense Defensive Performance

Player Ratings: Lions Beat The Crusaders With Immense Defensive Performance
By Balls Team Updated

On a greasy night in Christchurch, it was the Lions' defence which ground out a 12-3 win against the best Super Rugby team in New Zealand.

The Crusaders are unbeaten in Super Rugby this season and went into the game as favourites. It was certainly a novelty for the Lions to go into a Test warm-up game as underdogs.

Just like on Wednesday against the Blues, the Lions set piece was once again very solid, especially at scrum time.

If there's one worry for Warren Gatland, it was the failure to convert the try-scoring opportunities which were created.

Stuart Hogg - 6

Looked good early in attack. Went off after 20 minutes following an unfortunate collision with Conor Murray's elbow.

George North - 6

Got very little opportunity in attack. Looked solid on defence when questions were asked. Chased hard off Conor Murray's box kicks.

Jonathan Davies - 5

The Wales centre was only on the pitch for 27 minutes. He departed the game due to a head injury.


Had a pass intercepted in the opening minutes when just metres from the try line. Knocked the ball on for another try scoring chance just before leaving the game.

Ben Te'o - 7

Started the game at 12 but moved to 13 due to Jonathan Davies' first-half injury.

Carried well. Looked like the Lions' best attacking option. Beat more defenders than any other Lions player.

Liam Williams - 7

Strong performance from the Wales winger. Ran for more metres than any other Lions player. Also produced two clean breaks.

Owen Farrell - 8

Kick well from the tee apart from one opportunity early in the second half to put Lions ahead by nine.

Moved to 12 when Jonathan Davies went off for HIA. Combined well with Jonathan Sexton and Conor Murray.

Conor Murray - 8

A performance which made certain his position as the Lions starting scrum-half for the first test.

Box kicking was imperious. On a night where the Lions executed the basics very well, Murray was crucial.

Mako Vunipola - 8

Put in an immense effort during his 60 minutes on the pitch.


One of the Lions best performers in terms of both carries and tackles. Forced a knock on late in the first half with the Crusaders in a dangerous position off a lineout.

Has given Warren Gatland a real headache over who to start at loosehead in the first test.

Jamie George - 7

Lineout worked well with the Saracens man on the pitch apart from one dodgy throw. Also put in some solid work defensively.


Cemented place as the Test option off the bench.

Tadhg Furlong - 7

Part of a scrum which won some crucial penalties. Also looked good in the loose in some challenging conditions.

Alun Wyn Jones - 7

Led a Lions pack which put in a crucially immense defensive performance.

George Kruis - 7

Made the lineout calls for a very solid set piece. The Lions number one lineout target.

Peter O'Mahony - 7

Huge performance from the Munster man. If Warren Gatland is looking for a backrow lineout option, O'Mahony would be the man to provide it. Produced one superb steal off a Crusaders throw in the first half.

Also showed himself to be a real leader on the pitch.

Sean O'Brien - 7

Looked back to his best physically. That was particularly noticeable as he chased down Crusaders out-half Richie Mo'unga as he headed for the try line.

Replaced by CJ Stander after 55 minutes.

Toby Faletau - 8

The Lions' top ball carrier on the night. Also put in tremendous work defensively.

Undoubtedly Warren Gatland's starting number eight for the first test.

Notable replacements:
Anthony Watson for Stuart Hogg - 8

Entered the game after just 20 minutes for the unfortunate Stuart Hogg.

The England back counter-attacked very well. Created a great opportunity after an hour with a brilliant run that unfortunately finished with a CJ Stander knock on.

Johnny Sexton for Jonathan Davies - 7

Made his third Lions appearance in a week after coming off the bench to replace the injured Jonathan Davies.

Combined well with Owen Farrell. Gave his Test starter credentials an immense boost.

CJ Stander for Sean O'Brien - 5

Made an unfortunate knock on for what would have been a huge try after an hour.

Photo by Stephen McCarthy/Sportsfile

Watch: Conor Murray And Sean O'Brien's Pissing About In New Zealand Will Make Your Day

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