As the dust settles on another Lions series, Chris Bailey assesses the performances of Warren Gatland’s 41-man squad in New Zealand.
What do you make of our ratings?
Mako Vunipola – 6: No prop gets through more work in the loose than him, but marked down for second Test horrorshow
Jack McGrath – 6: That he could not displace a shaky Vunipola tells you that the Irishman was not at his best.
Joe Marler – 5: A distant third in the pecking order at loosehead. Liable to lose his head
Dan Cole – 6: Performed his job admirably, limited but one of the biggest grafters on tour
Tadhg Furlong – 7: Not as effective around the park as Vunipola, but kept his side of the scrum solid enough
Kyle Sinckler – 8: Many were questioning why the England rookie was called up. Not anymore. Destructive finisher
Rory Best – 7: Powers are waning at age of 34 but an impeccable mid-week leader
Ken Owens – 6: Still looks a little lightweight at Test level. Lucky not to cost Lions right at the end.
Jamie George – 8: If he can start for the Lions, he can start for England. Still room to improve.
Maro Itoje – 8: Was a little overexcited in the second Test, a behemoth in the third. The sky may not be the limit.
Alun Wyn Jones – 7: A mid-tour scapegoat who can now hold his head high. Nine Lions Tests, some going.
Courtney Lawes – 8: Fully over his mid-career slump. Left bruises all over All blacks with his carries.
George Kruis – 6: Unlucky to be second-row fall guy after the first Test. Didn’t take his chance though.
Iain Henderson – 7: Possibly never been a stronger set of Lions locks, the unfortunate victim.
Peter O’Mahony – 6: Led by example all the way up until the first Test, in which he was sadly dominated
Sean O’Brien – 9: The Tullow Tank, after four years of nearly constant injury, delivered his best form
Sam Warburton – 8: Even tour place had been in question, but the skipper came in for second Test and slowed All Blacks ball right down
Justin Tipuric – 6 Solid performer and did not miss a tackle, but Test place blocked by O’Brien and Warburton
James Haskell – 5 Abrasive as always but too often on wrong side of the line in this tour
CJ Stander – 6 Usually a bulldozer in an Ireland shirt, at best a mini-van for the Lions
Ross Moriarty – 5 Highly promising start to tour cruelly ended by a back injury early on
Taulupe Faletau – 8: One of the big winners, stopped most talking about the injured Billy Vunipola
Rhys Webb – 7: Best compliment you can pay to him is that no one would have been worried if he started Tests
Conor Murray – 8 Expert box kicker and deadly sniper, his duels with fellow No9 Aaron Smith were a highlight
Greig Laidlaw – 5 Late call-up and looked one or two classes apart from master scrum-halves Webb and Murray
Dan Biggar – 8: Could do nothing more to prove himself in tour games, but Sexton and Farrell were immovable
Jonathan Sexton – 8: Gatland put his faith in the Irishman when most others had lost theirs. Brought edge to attack.
Owen Farrell – 7: Did not see vintage Farrell yet generally linked with Sexton well and grew into his kicking boots
Ben T’eo – 7: Lung-busting breaks caught the eye but ultimately his ball skills were not up to scratch at inside centre
Jonathan Davies – 9: Named Lions’ player of the tour and deservedly so. Gave every ounce of energy for the cause
Jonathan Joseph – 6: Had no chance up against the in-form Davies at No13 and was not a standout regardless
Robbie Henshaw – 5: Touted to make Test impact before tour, but disappointing summer ended in injury
Jared Payne – 5: Weighed down by injuries and is currently under observation for spate of migraines
Elliot Daly – 8: Is wing his position? Maybe not – but he makes things happen. Humongous boot a real boon for the Lions
Tommy Seymour – 6: Started slowly and that counted against him, but finished Lions’ top try-scorer
Anthony Watson – 8: A shame that play was often narrow and Lions did not make more use of his dancing feet
George North – 5: Looked almost lethargic at times and his best could already be behind him at age of 25
Jack Nowell – 7: Very shaky in tour opener v Blues, but grew in stature and gained Test bench spot
Liam Williams – 7: Sparked one of Test rugby’s great tries in the first All Blacks clash, unsure under high ball
Leigh Halfpenny – 6: Never the most electric of backs, but has regressed since 2013. Still one of world’s best kickers.
Stuart Hogg – 5: Conor Murray’s elbow will haunt him for years to come. Scarcely been an unluckier injury.