sport news LIONS RATINGS: Courtney Lawes is never fazed but Maro Itoje pips him to Man of ...

sport news LIONS RATINGS: Courtney Lawes is never fazed but Maro Itoje pips him to Man of ...
sport news LIONS RATINGS: Courtney Lawes is never fazed but Maro Itoje pips him to Man of ...

The Lions produced a superb second-half performance to overcome a nine point deficit at half-time to win the first Test against South Africa 22-17.

Handre Pollard's boot punished the ill-discipline of Warren Gatland's side early on, but Luke Cowan-Dickie scored the first try of the match just four minutes after the break.

Faf de Klerk put the hosts back in front, but the kicking of Dan Biggar and Owen Farrell was enough to help their side hold on for a massive win.

Sportsmail's Mike Brown rated the players as the Lions drew first blood in the series. 

The Lions drew first blood in the series with a battling 22-17 win in the Test with South Africa

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The Lions drew first blood in the series with a battling 22-17 win in opener against South Africa

The Boks took control early on due to Lions ill-discipline but second-half response was strong

The Boks took control early on due to Lions ill-discipline but second-half response was strong

JACQUES NIENABER - 6.5

South Africa controlled the game the game in the first half but then tired in the second, which may become a theme after their Covid problems. Their centres and wingers are dangerous, so they need to get them on the ball more – especially Cheslin Kolbe.

15 WILLIE LE ROX - 7

Brilliant chemistry with Pollard, with the skills of a No 10, working as a second distributor and as the fly-half’s extra eyes and ears but with the speed and step of an outside back. Great last-ditch tackle on Henshaw before half-time. Unlucky to have his try disallowed.

14 CHESLIN KOLBE - 6

Good in the air, especially as he is only 5ft 7in – but did not touch the ball for an hour, so was well shut out by the Lions. None of the usual flashiness, but chased like a mad-man and did his job well.

13 LUKHANYO AM - 6

Bone-crunching hit on Daly in the first half set the tone but was stifled in attack – making just one carry and only making two thirds of his tackles in defence too.

Lukhanyo Am was stifled in attack but set the tone with a massive hit on Elliot Daly early on

Lukhanyo Am was stifled in attack but set the tone with a massive hit on Elliot Daly early on

12 DAMIAN DE ALLENDE - 6.5

He and de Allende know each other inside out as one of the experienced combinations in the Boks team – in stark contrast to the unfamiliar Lions who had hardly played together. Carried hard 13 times, making 38 powerful metres.

Insurance Loans Mortgage Attorney Credit Lawyer 11 MAKAZOLE MAPIMPI - 6

He and Kolbe were very quiet – with Mapimpi only making one carry – but he hit a smart and well executed kick down the line and de Klerk’s try.

10 HANDRE POLLARD - 6.5

Plays in the Saracens mould, of squeezing the life out of teams. Hit all of his goals and managed the game well, but then cramped up and was forced off – possibly lacking match fitness after a year out injured before he contracted Covid recently.

9 FAF DE KLERK - 7

Kicked so well to find space in the back-field, and scored a try too. We used to get our replacement scrum-half to wear a blonde wig to replicate Faf in England training before South Africa games! The Lions will probably want to target him more in the second Test.

Faf de Klerk's kicking was impressive throughout - the Lions need to target him more next time

Faf de Klerk's kicking was impressive throughout - the Lions need to target him more next time

1 OX NCHE - 8

Huge shoes to fill after The Beast Tendai Mtawarira retired, but had a great first-half against Furlong in the tight. Replaced by Kitshoff at half-time, as the Boks brought on their supposedly superior scrummagers.

2 BONGI MBONAMBI - 8

The Boks’ top scrummaging hooker was a menace up front, and is so physical in defence and attack, as South African dominated the first half scrummaging. Possibly he came off too early for Marx at half-time.

3 TREVOR NYAKANE - 8

Part of the short starting front-row and went for Sutherland in the scrum before he was taken off at half-time with the rest of the front-row.

4 EBEN ETZEBETH - 7.5

From my experience, you do not want to mess with him. Nasty lock – an absolute animal, who is their physical talisman. Smashed in the Lions all day.

Eben Etzebeth is an absolute animal and relished the chance to smash into the Lions all day

Eben Etzebeth is an absolute animal and relished the chance to smash into the Lions all day

5 FRANCO MOSTERT -  6

The Boks front-five physically dominated the Lions in the first half, but visibly tired in the second. Mostert was solid, and the South African lineout was far tidier than Lions’.

6 SIYA KOLISI -  6.5

Emotional lightning rod for South Africa but they tired as the game went on, as his 10 days of Covid isolation started to catch

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