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Simon Austin | 14:56 UK time, Saturday, 20 June 2009

Kings Park, Durban

Lee Byrne - rating 6: Solid under the high ball and booming with the boot, as usual. Also made a couple of nice breaks, before he was substituted shortly before half-time because of an injury. But failed to put enough pressure on Frans Steyn with his kicking.

Tommy Bowe - 6: One of the stars of the tour, but didn't have the chances he has had in the warm-up games.

Brian O'Driscoll - 8: Has developed an excellent partnership with Roberts, which gives the Lions hope in the remaining two Tests. Showed excellent awareness and strength to play Croft in for his first and was always a danger.

Jamie Roberts - 9: The Lions' man of the match cemented his reputation as a world-class centre with this performance. A constant threat who seemed to ask questions of opposite number Jean de Villiers whenever he had ball in hand. There were several memorable moments - showing the strength to stand up in the tackle and offload in the run-up to Croft's first try; driving Pietersen back in the tackle shortly after the interval and then making an excellent break before the second try.

Ugo Monye - 6: Two great chances to score, which could have swung the result the Lions' way. Can be forgiven for not getting the first, when the video referee took an age to make a decision before the interval. But should have taken Frans Steyn on the outside to score the second. Would Shane Williams have taken these chances?

Stephen Jones: 6 Missed two penalties in the first half, which was in stark contrast to Ruan Pienaar's excellent place kicking. Some of his kicking out of hand was also poor, although he has forged a good understanding with O'Driscoll in attack.

Mike Phillips - 7: Service was sometimes imprecise and a little laboured, yet always a threat round the fringes and took his try very well, with a clever dummy.

Jamie Heaslip - 5: Not a conspicuous presence, either in the loose or at the base of the scrum. His opposite number, Pierre Spies, had a quiet afternoon as well though.

David Wallace - 6: Lions struggled at the breakdown, which is obviously one of the number seven's primary duties. Went close to scoring in the first half before being substituted after the interval. Replaced by Martyn Williams and it will be interesting to see who starts at open side in the second Test.

Tom Croft - 8: How could he have been left out of the original squad? A superb performance. Often the first Lions player to the breakdown, great work-rate and took his chances very well. World class.

Paul O'Connell - 6: The captain must take some credit for the way the Lions came back late in the game. Sometimes looks lumbering in the loose though.

Alun Wyn Jones - 6: Perhaps his lack of bulk had something to do with Vickery's problems at scrum time. Lively in the loose and made one great tackle in the first half.

Phil Vickery - 3: Sad afternoon for the World Cup winner, who was dominated by Tendai Mtawira at scrum time. Gave away numerous penalties and was inevitably substituted early in the second half, although perhaps he should have gone off sooner. The resigned look on his face when Bismarck du Plessis threw him to the floor shortly after the interval seemed to sum up his performance.

Lee Mears - 4: His throwing into the line-out was poor, with several long efforts snagged by the Boks. Also part of a malfunctioning front row and looked lightweight in the loose.

Gethin Jenkins - 5: Part of a poor front row and not quite as prominent in the loose as we are used to, although he has admittedly set very high standards.


Rob Kearney - 6: Made no mistakes after coming on and attacked with purpose. Doesn't have the attacking threat of Byrne though.

Adam Jones - 6: Helped to steady the scrum after coming on for Vickery and will surely start the second Test.

Martyn Williams - 6: Some good link-up play after he came on. Might now start his first ever Lions Test next weekend.

Matthew Rees - 6: Scrum improved when he and Jones came on and his throwing to the line-out was better than Mears'.


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