24 Jun 2017

All Blacks v Lions: Who rated the best in NZ's 30-15 win

10:44 pm on 24 June 2017

By Matt Richens* @MattRichens

LIONS TOUR: The All Blacks have taken a one-nil lead in their Test series against the Lions, winning 30-15 in Auckland. Matt Richens rates the players.

Sonny Bill Williams makes a break.

Sonny Bill Williams makes a break. Photo: PhotoSport

British and Irish Lions v NZ All Blacks, Eden Park, Auckland

First Test

ALL BLACKS 30 (Rieko Ioane 2, Codie Taylor tries, Beauden Barrett 3 conv, 3 pens )

LIONS 15 (Sean O'Brien, Rhys Webb tries, Owen Farrell pen, comb)

HT: 13-8

Read the full match report here, and see how it all went down with Jamie Wall's live blog here.


3 - Brodie Retallick

2 - Kieran Read

1 -Jonathan Davies

Watch match highlights here:



Had more ball than expected by many. Took their chances more than the Lions and it showed on the scoreboard. Looked well-drilled and slick with the ball in the first spell and retained well.

Big impact from the bench, especially when both props came on and from a big scrum Ioane scored in the corner and wrestled back momentum. Did well to manage injuries to the backline.

Scary thing for the Lions is they can get a lot better. One-nil Hanson.


They created far more opportunities than they have in some tour games, but lacked that clinical nature the ABs have when it counted. They did a lot of things well especially their counter attack, but were easily the second best team when it comes to execution and basics.

They did come out fizzing in the second half but, again, some poor decisions and poor mistakes halted the Lions' chances.


1- JOE MOODY - 6/10

Plenty of carries with the ball in his time on the field. Lots of work in the mucky stuff and will be sore tomorrow.

2 - CODIE TAYLOR - 6/10

How good were his hands? Outstanding to score the opening try of the series, following on from other great All Black hookers and scoring on the wing. Will be disappointed with his lineout throwing, missed his mark a couple of times and one not straight.

3 - OWEN FRANKS - 6/10

Plenty of hard work in the collision. Part of an even forward battle in the first half and early part of the second. Typical AB prop game.

All Black Brodie Retallick is tackled by British and Irish Lions player Alun Wyn Jones

All Black Brodie Retallick is tackled by British and Irish Lions player Alun Wyn Jones Photo: AFP


How big is his motor? Massive work rate and is quite simply world class. Was into everything, carried the ball well and made his presence felt at the breakdown.

5 - SAM WHITELOCK - 7/10

Didn't do a lot of the flashy stuff, but just got his job done and got it done well. His late steal with 12 to go wrecked one of the Lions' best chances.

6 - JEROME KAINO - 8/10

So, so strong. Electric start and easily bundled over the advantage line. Carried well and was the first-up tackler in the tight stuff plenty of times before being benched in the 46th minute for a concussion test, which he passed.

7 - SAM CANE - 8/10

Great strip of Kruis, followed up shortly after by another to win a penalty. Had one of his better games, especially considering the loosies he was up against.

8 - KIERAN READ - (C) - 9/10

Captain fantastic. Led from the front, especially with ball in hand. You wouldn't have known he hadn't played since April. Did a power of work with the ball in hand and made the second most metres of the ABs, behind only Ioane. Outstanding.

9 - AARON SMITH - 8/10

Did his basics well and his quick decision to tap an early penalty led to Taylor's try. All the talk was about Murray's boot, but Smith's was superb. Justified his selection.


Early dinky kick charged down by Murray, but gave him a chance to show off his one-handed pick-up. Was solid, but the Lions' suffocating defence gave him few opportunities to spread his wings. Replaced Ben Smith at fullback and did nothing wrong defensively.

Rieko Ioane goes in for his try.

Rieko Ioane goes in for his try. Photo: PhotoSport

11 - RIEKO IOANE - 8/10

Quiet start and though he did little wrong, he didn't stamp his mark until try. Proved his worth with his second, justifying his selection ahead of Julian Savea with an opportunist try he was only able to score because of his gas.


Ran straight and hard. Didn't have the opportunity to get many offloads away. Big battle with fellow league convert Te'o and played a more sensible game than some expected.

13 - RYAN CROTTY - 6/10

Gutted, was looking good until he blew his hammy. His series appears over after just 32 minutes.

14 - ISRAEL DAGG - 8/10

Early try-saver on Daly to save the ABs facing a deficit within the opening two minutes. Bullet pass to Taylor for first try. Looked good, created space for those outside him that led to Ioane's try. Was simply brilliant in the air and led the match for line breaks.

15 - BEN SMITH - 4/10

Tough start with Murray's impressive box kicks then took a head knock before failing his concussion test. Not a good sign and only got 26-minutes.


16 - NATHAN HARRIS - 6/10

Had a quiet 14 minutes as the game opened in the final quarter.

17 - WYATT CROCKETT - 7/10

Great first scrum once coming on in the build up to Ioane's try. The Lions bench isn't bad, but now knows there's no let-up when the bench is emptied.


Like Crockett, came on to play his part in the scrum that was the turning point of the game.

19 - SCOTT BARRETT - 4/10

Was disappointed to get beaten on the inside for Webb to score a consolation try and in only four minutes on the park, he ran out of time to make up for it.

20 - ARDIE SAVEA - 5/10

Came on with more than half an hour to go, replacing Kaino, but never forced his impact on the game.

21 - TJ PERENARA - 6/10

Carried on from Aaron Smith and gave his backs quick ball. No trademark snipes that we often see.

22 - AARON CRUDEN - 6/10

Good pass to put Ioane away in the corner. Got beaten on the outside by Williams in the led up to their great counter attacking try. He played nearly an hour after coming on as a replacement for Ben Smith and, though he was pretty good, Barrett deserves to be known as No 1.


Got more game time than expected due to Crotty's injury. Did his job without making the impression that he did against the Samoans


1 - MAKO VUNIPOLA - 6/10

Had plenty of carries in the first half but, like the rest of his mates in the pack, wasn't used to be forced backwards so quickly.

2 - JAMIE GEORGE - 7/10

Made a heap of tackles and hit his targets in the line-out. Just popped up everywhere on defence.

3 - TADHG FURLONG - 5/10

Would have loved a few more scrums and battled a bit with the speed of the game.

4 - ALUN WYN JONES - 4/10

Looked to be struggling with the pace of the game in the first half. The Lions go-to man in the lineouts and, on that form, could easily find himself replaced by Itoje next weekend.

5 - GEORGE KRUIS - 6/10

Lots of tackles and used as a battering ram. Did a power of work, too, but wasn't able to dominate.

6 - PETER O'MAHONY (C) - 7/10

Was the visitors' main lineout target grabbing five off his own throw and one from the ABs. Will need to lead his side to a more clinical effort if they are to push the ABs in the next two tests.

Sean O'Brien scores the Lions' first try.

Sean O'Brien scores the Lions' first try. Photo: PhotoSport

7 - SEAN O'BRIEN - 6/10

Put the finishing touches on the Lions' 85m late first half try and made a few metres himself.


Didn't make an impact, and clearly outplayed by the All Blacks captain. Will have plenty of pressure on him for the No 8 jersey from CJ Stander.

9 - CONOR MURRAY - 7/10

If he had looked for support following Davies' break the Lions may have scored. Early Box kicks even better than expected.

10 - OWEN FARRELL - 5/10

While most were expecting him to lead the Lions' attack with his boot, he passed more than some thought. He never really got a chance to shine, though did little wrong either. Made a couple of half breaks.

11 - ELLIOT DALY - 6/10

Did little wrong when Dagg stopped him scoring in the second minute. Important link in the Lions great counter attacking try.

12 - BEN TE'O - 7/10

Tried to bash Williams, including one huge hit when he was unlucky to be penalised. Blew a huge chance out wide for the Lions when he cut back and slipped when passing outside looked the better option.


Good early line break, that almost led to a try then played a big part in his side's long range 36th minute five-pointer. Looked dangerous every time he touched the ball, made line breaks and passed well. Was his side's best.

Anthony Watson in action for the Lions.

Anthony Watson in action for the Lions. Photo: PhotoSport

14 - ANTHONY WATSON - 6/10

Great hands to take a mark from a Barrett chip. Showed great feet and speed when he got chances. Looks better from open play than from a set-play where the Lions looked under-done.

15 - LIAM WILLIAMS - 6/10

Impressive turnover from Aaron Smith when the All Blacks had got on the front foot following some great offloads. Repaid the faith from Gatland, backed himself and sparked the Lions to score a sensational 85 metre try. Ruined his night by dropping Perenara's box kick for Ioane to swoop and score his second try.


16 - KEN OWENS - 5/10

Didn't make an impact during his 12 minutes on the field.

17 - JACK MCGRATH - 4/10

Will be disappointed with his scrumming, didn't add anything when he came on.

18 - KYLE SINCKLER - 6/10

Good with ball in hand, including one big run.

19 - MARO ITOJE - 7/10

Good lineout steal ending an AB's 65th attack after the hosts turned down a shot at goal. Made an impact once he came on, possibly should have started and should in a week.

20 - SAM WARBURTON - 4/10

Took the field in the 53rd minute, did nothing to suggest he will win back the starting jersey. Will be disappointed that he came on and the game was still in the balance only to see it slip away.

21 - RHYS WEBB - 6/10

Scored a cheeky try to finish the game. Clearly the number two halfback but a very good back-up.


Came on 23-8 down, moving Farrell to 12. Wasn't going to spark the Lions enough to win from there.


Replaced Williams after 71 minutes. Didn't make an impact.

Previous ratings

* LIONS 34 Chiefs 6

* LIONS 32 Māori All Blacks 10

* HIGHLANDERS 23 Lions 22

* BLUES 22 Lions 16

* LIONS 13 NZ Provincial Barbarians 7

* Matt Richens has been a sports journalist for more than a decade, has never seen a All Blacks' loss live and is president of the Codie Taylor fanclub. He was helped with these ratings by former New Brighton Under-10 first five Nick Bates.

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