Lions player ratings: how the tourists fared in South Africa series

Stuart Hogg (Exeter, Scotland) Thrilled to make the Test team – at last – on his third Lions tour. Will not recall the second Test with massive pleasure, unfortunately. ★★

Anthony Watson (Bath, England) Looked sharp in the provincial games but had a limited impact in the first two Tests. Not the easiest series in which to be a winger. ★★

Liam Williams (Scarlets, Wales) Finally picked to start in the final Test and had his moments, without being entirely at his best. His decision not to pass to the unmarked Josh Adams was a series-defining moment. ★★

Josh Adams (Cardiff, Wales) Ripped it up in the provincial games and deserved his Test selection. First Lion to witness the birth of his first child over the internet. ★★★

Elliot Daly (Saracens, England) Had he made it on to the field in the final Test he would have featured in every tour game. Along with Jamie George, spent almost as much time making coffees for the lads. ★★★

Chris Harris (Gloucester, Scotland) Justified his tour selection and deservedly picked for the second Test. Not his fault that he barely received a pass. ★★★

Robbie Henshaw (Leinster, Ireland) The touring side did not create enough behind the scrum but, once he had overcome a sore hamstring, the Leinster centre was the Lions’ most consistent Lions three-quarter. ★★★★

Bundee Aki (Connacht, Ireland) The Lions could never entirely settle on their ideal midfield. Aki and Henshaw ended up being their most threatening attacking combo. ★★★

Duhan van der Merwe (Worcester, Scotland) By no means perfect but underlined in the third Test why Gatland picked him. Stood up physically to everything thrown at him. ★★★

Dan Biggar (Northampton, Wales) Great communicator and a Gatland favourite who started all three Tests. But would a more positive gameplan have yielded a better series outcome? ★★★

Owen Farrell (Saracens, England) The England captain would have hoped to play a much bigger on-field role. Unstinting team man as always but his omission from third Test squad will have stung. ★★

Finn Russell (Racing 92, Scotland) Picked to add something different and showed his range of skills in the final Test. Also kicked his goals and was almost the star of the entire show on Saturday. ★★★

Ali Price (Glasgow, Scotland) Perhaps the upwardly mobile story of the tour. Flew out as the probable number-three scrum-half, only to establish himself as the undisputed number one. ★★★

Conor Murray (Munster, Ireland) More highs and lows than a busy fairground attraction. Had been expected to be among the Lions’ chief conductors but too often struggled to raise the tempo. ★★

Luke Cowan-Dickie (Exeter, England) A constant ball of dynamic energy and deserved to start the first two Tests. Scorer of one of the Lions’ two tries in the series. ★★★

Ken Owens (Scarlets, Wales) “The Sheriff” was the Lions’ other Test try-scorer and put his body on the line as ever. Did well to keep Jamie George out of the 23 for the entire series. ★★★

Wyn Jones (Scarlets, Wales) Such a shame that injury limited the Welsh farmer’s input. Was excellent against South Africa’s “A team” and the Lions scrum was always the better for his presence. ★★★

Rory Sutherland (Edinburgh, Scotland) Thrust into the spotlight by Wyn Jones’s untimely injury but mostly found life tough opposite South Africa’s seasoned scrummagers. ★★

Mako Vunipola (Saracens, England) Back fit and firing, he contributed plenty during his time on the field. Had he not been held up over the line on Saturday, the Lions might have won the series. ★★★

Tadhg Furlong (Leinster, Ireland) Rock solid and a key member of a Lions pack who never lacked for spirit. DJ-ing skills, in tandem with Tom Curry, apparently still need work. ★★★★

Kyle Sinckler (Bristol, England) Showed why he should have been an original pick for the tour. One day he will win a final decider against South Africa. ★★★

Maro Itoje (Saracens, England) Probably the Lions’ best player on tour. Stood toe to to toe with the big Springbok forwards and emerged with his reputation enhanced. ★★★★

Alun Wyn Jones – captain (Ospreys, Wales) Gains an extra star simply for making it back from his supposedly tour-ending injury. Led his side well, will be absolutely gutted by the series outcome. ★★★★

Adam Beard (Ospreys, Wales) Another late call-up who grabbed his chance with both hands. Came close to starting the first Test and earned South Africa’s full respect. ★★★

Tadhg Beirne (Munster, Ireland) Unlucky not to play more but competition in his position was particularly fierce. The less suffocating final Test might just have suited him. ★★★

Courtney Lawes (Northampton, England) Another to start all three Tests and added to the Lions’ lineout options. If anyone deserves a deckchair stint he does. ★★★

Tom Curry (Sale, England) It is easy to forget that Curry has only just turned 23. Needs to reduce the number of penalties he concedes but a decent bet to be England’s next captain. ★★★

Hamish Watson (Edinburgh, Scotland) The Six Nations player of the tournament had to sit patiently behind Tom Curry. Fortunate not to be shown a yellow card in the first Test. ★★

Jack Conan (Leinster, Ireland) Outstanding effort to establish himself as the starting No 8. Steady if not particularly spectacular. ★★★

Taulupe Faletau (Bath, Wales) The spirit remains willing but the hugely influential, dynamic Lion of 2013 and 2017 was barely sighted. Not picked to start any of the Test matches. ★★

Sam Simmonds (Exeter, England) Would have been good to see him on the pitch from the start on Saturday. The quickest forward on either side. ★★★

Louis Rees-Zammit, Jonny Hill, Iain Henderson, Jamie George, Josh Navidi, Zander Fagerson, Gareth Davies, Marcus Smith, Justin Tipuric and Ronan Kelleher did not feature in the Test series.

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