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South Africa 27-9 British & Irish Lions: second Test player ratings

·5-min read

South Africa

15 Willie le Roux Made a couple of errors, but kind of inevitable for a full-back in a kick-fest. No prospect of his subtler skills getting an airing. 5

14 Cheslin Kolbe This Test will be remembered for his ugly tackle on the airborne Murray, even though he had his eyes on the ball at all times. 4

13 Lukhanyo Am Question marks over his try, but he read it perfectly. Tackled and chased throughout, causing problems at the breakdown. 8

12 Damian de Allende Willing carrier and tackler, as all the best Springbok centres must be. See Etzebeth and imagine the equivalent in the three-quarters. 7

Related: Lukhanyo Am seals South Africa victory on painful night for British & Irish Lions

11 Makazole Mapimpi Took his try very well and is maturing into a fine winger. Insatiable appetite at the breakdown. 8

10 Handré Pollard Was a little shaky at times in the first half but came through when it mattered. In the second half he was quite masterful. 7

9 Faf de Klerk Like his partner, not at his best in the first half, but that doesn’t really matter when you find your feet in the second. 7

1 Steven Kitshoff Won the scrum penalty that preceded South Africa’s first try. Busy around the park on 50th cap, high on tackle and carry count. 7

2 Bongi Mbonambi Less punishing than his opposite number off the back of the maul and had a couple of lineouts picked off. Scrum tight, though. 5

3 Frans Malherbe One of the more willing tacklers in the front five and a key man in the scrum, which secured South Africa a very slight edge. 7

4 Eben Etzebeth Never going to win rugby’s equivalent of a beauty contest, but rugby has room for ugliness too – and, boy, he delivers. 8

5 Franco Mostert Not as nasty as his partner in the engine but the nuts and bolts of his game are tight. Lost one at the lineout but stole one too. 6

6 Siya Kolisi (capt) In the spotlight this week and produced a performance of real intensity and meaning. At the heart of most things. 8

7 Pieter-Steph du Toit Few touches out wide but seemed to struggle from his first contact, a tackle that will no doubt feature in an Erasmus compilation. 5

8 Jasper Wiese Couldn’t quite break out as he does weekly in the Premiership. Busy tackler but a couple of mistakes take the sheen off. 5

REPLACEMENTS

Kwagga Smith (for Du Toit, 21) Strong and fast 7; Lood de Jager (for Wiese, 55) Fabulous 8; Vincent Koch (for Malherbe, 55) 6; Malcolm Marx (for Mbonambi 55) 7; Trevor Nyakane (for Kitshoff, 59) 6; Herschel Jantjies (for De Klerk, 63) n/a; Damian Willemse (for Mapimpi, 67) n/a; Marco van Staden (for Kolisi, 72) n/a

British & Irish Lions

15 Stuart Hogg This really wasn’t his sort of game, which might have been foreseen. He took some balls well, but he was more often wobbly under the bombardment. 4

14 Anthony Watson Really next to no chance for him, after his excellent first Test. This was a vice, and he never looked as if he might break out, until once at the very end. 5

13 Chris Harris His performance in the first half was excellent, his physicality much in evidence. But he faded in the second and was replaced on the hour. 6

12 Robbie Henshaw Desperately unlucky not to score the try that might have changed things, but stopped by his own arm. His was the only clean break of the first half. Top tackling back. 7

11 Duhan van der Merwe Too much emotional investment for him, perhaps, but he was lucky to escape censure for one tackle and could have no complaint about the yellow card. 3

10 Dan Biggar Forget about any thoughts of playmaking against this lot. But he was tidy under pressure. Did miss touch a couple of times and the posts once, when it mattered. 5

9 Conor Murray Physical in the early exchanges and so-so with his kicking from hand, a little long on a couple of occasions. The Lions leaders were not quite what South Africa’s were. 5

1 Mako Vunipola Played the first half as if he had a point to prove, which he did. Carried and tackled like a trooper. Not so dominant at the scrum. 7

2 Luke Cowan-Dickie Another in the Lions front row to excel in the loose, he also punched hard off the base of the driven mauls. Is having a fine tour. 7

3 Tadhg Furlong He was penalised at a crucial scrum in the second half. Plenty of work with ball in hand, particularly in the first half. 5

4 Maro Itoje Fascinating battle with Etzebeth, which, after his triumph last week, he would have to concede he lost. No doubt he will respond. 6

5 Alun Wyn Jones (capt) Lions top tackler, which pretty much goes without saying. Could not impose himself on opponent or referee. One last challenge awaits the old campaigner. 6

Related: South Africa 27-9 British & Irish Lions: second Test – as it happened

6 Courtney Lawes First-half masterclass, but he started to fade, like his mates, in the second. He stole lineouts and worked furiously until his opposite numbers found their mojo. 7

7 Tom Curry Another who played with aplomb in the first half, carrying and handling, as well as the usual work where the sun don’t shine. But his sun set in the second. 5

8 Jack Conan It has been a good tour for the Ireland No 8, and he looked comfortable in this company again. But the edge was wrested away from him. 6

REPLACEMENTS

Kyle Sinckler (for Furlong, 55) No chance to make mark 4; Ken Owens (for Cowan-Dickie, 55) Lineout errors 4; Rory Sutherland (for Vunipola, 55) Struggled at set piece 4; Ali Price (for Murray, 57) n/a; Owen Farrell (for Biggar, 57) n/a; Taulupe Faletau (for Conan, 59) n/a; Elliot Daly (for Harris, 61) n/a; Tadhg Beirne (for Lawes, 70) n/a

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