21 Jun 2017

Lions v Chiefs: Who rated the best

6:08 am on 21 June 2017

The Lions have won their match 34-6 against the Chiefs in Hamilton, but how did the individual players do? Matt Richens rates them all.

Watch match highlights here:

British and Irish Lions v Waikato Chiefs, FMG Stadium, Hamilton

Tour Match 6

LIONS 34 (Jack Nowell 2 tries, Jared Payne try, penalty try, Dan Biggar 2 conv, 2 pens)

CHIEFS 6 (Stephen Donald 2 pens)

HT: 13-6

MVP

3 Jack Nowell

2 Dan Biggar

1 James Haskell

Lions player Jack Nowell celebrates scoring their third try as Chiefs players gather themselves.

Lions player Jack Nowell celebrates scoring their third try as Chiefs players gather themselves. Photo: Photosport NZ

TEAM RATINGS

BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS - 8/10

Easily the best mid-week game on tour. Strangled and frustrated the Chiefs and earnt the right to spread the ball wide. Took a while to make it look natural, but once they'd worn the Chiefs down they dominated all over the park.

Stopped any Chiefs attack and offload and were far too strong for an understrength Chiefs.

CHIEFS - 4/10

Tried a few different things to counter rushing defence and while they made too many handling errors trying to do too much with the little ball they had, they stayed in touch with the tourists in the first half. But they also paid the price for trying to spread the ball without getting any stability up front.

PLAYER RATINGS - BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS

1 - JOE MARLER - 3

Dumb haircut and dumb play. Late and no arms tackle on Nepo Laulala and was lucky to only see yellow. Was coward move off the ball and one that would cost the Lions plenty in a test so deserves to have a line through his name by Gatland. The rest wasn't bad as he and his front row mates played big minutes.

2 - RORY BEST (C) - 7

Carried lots, but didn't gain many metres. Pushed the limit when it came to "straight" throws. He led well again

3 - DAN COLE - 6

Is a solid, but very slow ball runner. Did a lot of work in the tight. Still has more huff than puff.

4 - IAIN HENDERSON - 7

Made lots of tackles again and while he's not as flashy as Lawes, wouldn't be the worst option on the bench for test one.

5 - COURTNEY LAWES - 7

Stamped his mark stealing the first lineout and helped earn a second lineout turnover inside the first 25. Won his own ball easily and was another battering ram option in tight. Went off after a headknock with Marler and his health will be a concern for Gatland and co.

6 - JAMES HASKELL - 7

Helped earn early turnover through strength. Another who who got plenty of carries, especially early in the game, though had to take a break when Marler was yellow carded. Led the Lions' tackle count despite his break.

7 - JUSTIN TIPURIC - 7

Helped earn early turnover through strength. Linked well, but unfortunately second best player with blue head gear on the field and third best open-side on the tour. Tackled well and won three line-outs.

8 - CJ STANDER - 5

Carried strongly though was quieter than in his performances against the Blues and Highlanders.

9 - GREIG LAIDLAW - 6

Played okay, but not well enough to put pressure on Murray and Rhys Webb. Did nothing wrong and with plenty of ball, had lots to do. Will be looking forward to the Hurricanes game because, injury aside, he's not getting a test.

10 - DAN BIGGAR - 8

Took the ball to the line more, either passing or taking the tackle. Put a heap of pressure on Donald limiting his time and space with the ball. Lucky not to get a yellow for big swinging arm on Tom Sanders which cost him an 8. Ran the cutter well.

11 - ELLIOT DALY - 6

Went looking for plenty of work early. Great run down the sideline from turnover ball that led to Jack Nowell's second try. Was outshone by Nowell, though may have done enough to be backline cover for Gatland.

12 - ROBBIE HENSHAW - 4

"Don't kick it, pass it", wasted an attacking opportunity kicking the ball away when ball in hand could have been more effective. Expected more.

Lions' Jared Payne makes a break with the ball, scoring the team's fourth try of the match.

Lions' Jared Payne makes a break with the ball, scoring the team's fourth try of the match. Photo: Photosport NZ

13 - JARED PAYNE - 7

Cameo appearance on the side of the scrum when the Lions were down to 14 men. Will claim that it was presence that won the scrum penalty on defense. Got up to make some effective tackles. Another one who had his best performance and did pop up a lot. \

14 - JACK NOWELL - 9

Possible try saver on Pulu. Made a couple of little runs early, then pounced from the base of the ruck over the traffic to score the game's first try. His second was the end of a slick Lions' attack. Still had plenty to do when he got the ball and did it well. His best game of the tour and surely played himself into Gatland's thinking. Showed good finishing skills.

15 - LIAM WILLIAMS - 6

Reasonably quiet game, but did set up Payne's try with a good run. Made Nanai-Williams looks silly before offloading to Payne. Made the most metres, but did get kicked to in space a couple of tims.

RESERVES

16 - KRISTIAN DACEY - no rating

Not used. He and the rest of the new recruits were clearly only brought in by Gatland so he didn't have to use test players in the 23-man squad at all.

17 - ALLAN DELL - 5

Got nearly 10 minutes replacing Haskell when Marler was off.

18 - TOMAS FRANCIS - no rating

Not used.

19 - CORY HILL

20 - ALUN WYN JONES - 4

Didn't do enough to upstage Lawes or Henderson in the race to be on the test bench, but still a good chance based on his experience.

21 - GARETH DAVIES - no rating

Not used.

22 - FINN RUSSELL - no rating

Not used.

23 - TOMMY SEYMOUR - 5

Showed gas and an eye for a gap when he came on, but poor pass to Payne cost them a try. Made 40-odd metres in his 21 minutes and came on as the Lions looked to expand.

PLAYER RATINGS - WAIKATO CHIEFS

1 - SIEGFRIED FISI'IHOI - 6

Needless push and shove at the start of the first line-out, a whole lot of huff to lose it anyway. Made the most metres by a starting Chiefs forward, but was beaten at scrum time and in the tight across the park.

2 - LIAM POLWART - 5

Played 59 minutes and made eight tackles. The Lions looked to disrupt the Chiefs lineout and would be happy to only give away one lineout steal.

3 - NEPO LAULALA - 5

Got smoked illegally by Marler, but it seemed to have little effect. Beaten at scrum time which would have hurt especially being part of a scrum that gave away a penalty to seven Lions forwards and an outside back filling in. Outplayed around the park.

4 - DOMINIC BIRD - 6

Was likely the man that gave away the penalty that led to the penalty try and Brown being yellow carded. Wasn't the presence that he has been in Super Rugby. The Chiefs go-to man in the lineout and made plenty of tackles.

5 - MICHAEL ALLARDICE - 4

Wasn't a big performance from Allardice. Two lineout wins and four tackles. Part of a pack that was overpowered by the Lions forwards and couldn't assert himself.

6 - MITCHELL BROWN - 7

Textbook tackle knocking the ball free stopping one Lions raid and led the first half tackle count. Earned a couple of turnovers too. The player picked from the lucky dip for the yellow card when the French ref wasn't sure who brought the maul down. Was one of the Chiefs better forwards, especially on defense making plenty of tackles.

7 - LACHLAN BOSHIER - 7

Good pinch late in the first spell when Lions looked good on attack from broken play. Did a lot of work and grabbed three steals though came up against a handy Lions loose trio.

8 - TOM SANDERS - 4

Very quiet and made just four tackles in a side who spend most of the night defending. Was benched after 54 minutes for Messam.

9 - FINLAY CHRISTIE - 7

Chirped too much at referee Jérôme Garcès "It was to the forwards" was his excuse when the Frenchman took exception. Gained more confidence as the game went on, one good break that led to points late in the second half. Led the Chiefs metres made in the first half.

Stephen Donald of the Chiefs gets an offload away during the Rugby Union match - Chiefs v British & Irish Lions at FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand

Stephen Donald of the Chiefs Photo: Photosport NZ

10 - STEPHEN DONALD (C) - 6

Kicked well early. Had limited space. Tried to find space behind the Lions backs with his short kicking game, not his strength. Did plenty of work, but struggled to stamp his mark as his side never had good front-foot ball.

11 - SOLOMONA ALAIMALO - 5

Pretty quiet game as the Chiefs' backs had to survive on scraps. Looked to have damaged an ankle late in the game and hobbled off.

12 - JONATHAN FAAULI - 6

Tad unlucky to be called for a blocking penalty that he might have got away with before Gatland whinged blocking last week. Not a lot with ball in hand in the first half, but more chances in the second half.

13 - TIM NANAI-WILLIAMS - 5

The Lions line speed cut down his opportunities to get his twinkle toes going. Looked for a lot of work when Chiefs did have the ball, but never stamped his mark. Solid on defence.

14 - TONI PULU - 5

One good break, but unfortunately that was his lot for the night as it led to him being stretchered off after 12 minutes.

15 - SHAUN STEVENSON - 6

First kick was yuck. Looked okay under the high ball and his game, like most of the Chiefs backs, was heavily weighted to defence over attack. Did break the line late - one of the few Chiefs who could boast that.

RESERVES

16 - HIKA ELLIOT - 6

Strong off the bench and showed some good touches, trying to run through and around the Lions. Was again impressive in the haka.

17 - AIDAN ROSS - 5

Not quite the forward battle it was by the time he took the field. Another to be none from two against the Lions.

18 - ATUNAISA MOLI - 5

Not a big chance to shine. All about the backs and quick ball during his time on the field.

19 - LIAM MESSAM - 6

Unable to inspire the young Chiefs in his 26 minutes. No doubt disappointed to be winless against the Lions. Came on when the game was already lost. Involved in a bit of niggle.

20 - MITCH KARPIK - 6

Looked to get busy when he came on. Game had opened up and plenty of opportunities for ball in hand.

21 - JONATHAN TAUMATEINE - 6

Gave quick ball to free up his outsides to have more chances to run late in the game.

22 - LUTERU LAULALA - 7

Showed some spark in his 15 minutes off the bench. Good metres and a couple of clever passes.

23 - CHASE TIATIA - 7

Always special to make your debut, but even more so against the Lions and got involved a heap after being introduced in just the 12th minute as injury cover for Pulu. Impressive debut and ran hard, plenty more to come from this young man.

Previous ratings

Tour Match 5 Ratings here LIONS 32 Māori All Blacks 10

Tour Match 4 Ratings here HIGHLANDERS 23 Lions 22

Tour Match 2 Ratings here BLUES 22 Lions 16

Tour Match 1 Ratings here LIONS 13 NZ Provincial Barbarians 7

* Matt Richens has been a sports journalist for more than a decade, and was helped out doing these ratings by his mate, Christchurch's "Eastside Eye", Nick Bates.

We have regular online commentary of local and international sport.