British Lions player ratings: Dan Biggar stars but forwards lost the physical battle
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CAPE TOWN - The British and Irish Lions were able to defuse the Springboks’ ‘Bomb Squad’ in the first Test victory last week, but the South African substitutes came out on top in their 27-9 win at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday night.
But to be fair to the home side, the Lions lost the physical battle in the first half already, while their kicking game was well handled by their opponents.
Here’s how we rated the Lions players…
Stuart Hogg: 6
Tried hard to find gaps in the Springbok defence, but didn’t really make any breakthroughs on attack. Was solid in defence, but had to scramble a few times to cover the Bok kicks on the ground.
Anthony Watson: 5
Gave away a penalty for taking Handre Pollard out in the air, and didn’t get many chances to run with the ball.
Chris Harris: 5
Was impressive in the tour matches, but this is Test-match rugby, and he was overshadowed by Bok centres Damian de Allende and Lukhanyo Am.
Robbie Henshaw: 6
Didn’t have the same impact as a runner as he did in the first Test. Nearly scored a vital try just before halftime, but lost the ball as he went over the line as Siya Kolisi got underneath him.
Duhan van der Merwe: 3
The South African-born left wing was yellow-carded for tripping Cheslin Kolbe. Hardly got the ball on attack, and when he did, was well-marked by the Bok defence.
Dan Biggar: 7
One of the best Lions on the day. He mixed up his kicking game cleverly, and launched a few extra high up-and-unders that had the Boks waiting an eternity. Missed a crucial penalty in the second half that would’ve put the Lions back in front.
Conor Murray: 4
Was supposed to dictate play with his boot, but lacked the accuracy that Ali Price had last week. Boks dealt with his box-kicks well, and he didn’t offer a threat on attack either.
Jack Conan: 5
Was industrious last week with his strong carries, but while he tried hard this time around, the Bok forwards kept him in check.
Tom Curry: 4
Got involved in a few off-the-ball scuffles that was unnecessary, and the Boks cleaned him out well at the breakdowns.
Courtney Lawes: 5
One of the stars of the first Test, Lawes didn’t have the same impact this week as he was knocked back in the tackle.
Alun Wyn Jones (captain): 6
Still as hard-working as ever around the pitch, and did the hard yards. Tried to get into the referee’s eye again, but Ben O’Keeffe wasn’t as easily influenced as Nic Berry.
Maro Itoje: 6
Last week’s Man of the Match was again busy as usual, pushing the boundaries around the breakdowns and mauls, and got high into the air to contest the Bok lineouts.
Tadhg Furlong: 3
Had issues in the scrums from the start, and was luckily not to be penalised at the mauls either as he tended to swim around to the Bok side.
Luke Cowan-Dickie: 5
Scored a try last week, and got stuck into tackles in the second Test, but not as visible, with Bongi Mbonambi getting the better of his direct opponent.
Mako Vunipola: 5
After he earned a few vital penalties in the second half last week, the England No 1 lost his scrum battle with Frans Malherbe this time around, and didn’t carry as much ball either.
None of the Lions substitutes could stem the tide as the marauding Bok ‘Bomb Squad’ fired some heavy shots, especially in the scrums.