Josh Adams (centre) and Duhan van der Merwe (left) scored hat-tricks against the Sharks


The off-field Covid chaos threatening to destabilise the Lions’ tour of South Africa did little to hamper the tourists as they hammered the Cell C Sharks 54-7

With nine players self-isolating, Warren Gatland was forced to select a bench containing just one back – fly-half Finn Russell – but the Lions made it three from three in 2021, with two consecutive wins on South African soil.

Wings Josh Adams and Duhan Van der Merwe scored a hat-trick apiece, but who else stood out with the first Test just over two weeks away?

15. Josh Adams

Another hat-trick – his Lions record is already remarkable. Sharp angle for the first try of the night, while his second was gloriously scrappy. Fine assist for Rees-Zammit, too. 9

14. Louis Rees-Zammit

Wearing 10, confusingly, and set Adams up very well inside three minutes. Missed tackle led to one Sharks break by Kok and pinged for not releasing, but raced home for one try. 7

13. Elliot Daly

Perhaps this is his best position. One great break but hunted down (and then cynically impeded). Quality one-handed pass for Van der Merwe’s hat-trick. 7

12. Bundee Aki

Soft penalty – offside then marched back 10 metres – but made amends later with a try, too strong from five metres out. Pounced for a turnover on a good night’s work. 7

11. Duhan van der Merwe

Easy run-in for the Lions’ second try and his own second was simple enough, showing raw speed and good footwork to control the ball. Grabbed a hat-trick in the end. 8

Van der Merwe seals his hat-trick


10. Owen Farrell

Playing without a number on his shirt. Good link-up with Rees-Zammit to put Adams over and produced an excellent grubber for Van der Merwe’s second. 8

9. Ali Price

Maybe a touch rusty at the start but few errors of note. One superb clearance kick upfield forced the Sharks back and produced a needed turnover after Kok’s break. 7

1. Mako Vunipola

The usual sharp passing, but gave up a couple of scrum penalties where he seemed to get his initial set-up wrong, slipping to ground. Had his revenge later on. 6

2. Luke Cowan-Dickie

Knocked on a try-scoring chance over the line from a maul. Can threaten at the breakdown, winning penalties, and was one of the Lions’ top carriers before he went off. 7

3. Zander Fagerson

Good start squeezing a scrum penalty out of the Sharks and kept up that pressure. Strayed offside but unrelenting at the set-piece.  7

4. Iain Henderson (c)

The captain disrupted the Sharks’ lineout constantly and made an impressive nine tackles in the first half alone. Looks like a Test starter and adds leadership. 8

5. Adam Beard

Wrecks mauls for fun and poached one early turnover. With his height and ability to disrupt set-pieces, the Wales lock is an interesting option for Gatland. Made 14 tackles. 7

6. Josh Navidi

One great choke tackle to force a turnover and produced an outrageous offload, too. The Lions’ top tackler with 16 and unlucky to have a try disallowed on a bright debut. 8

7. Tom Curry

Cracking turnover deep in his own 22 and then produced a nice carry and offload for one attack. Quality player but maybe a touch quiet. 7

8. Sam Simmonds

Fine pass out wide to set up Van der Merwe and one lineout move had him carving through with this speed. Couldn’t stop one Sharks try as the last tackler. 7

Sam Simmonds made one piercing break in the first half



16. Ken Owens

Good defensively with eight tackles and will no doubt rue the one lineout which went wrong. 6

17. Rory Sutherland

Brought good pressure at the breakdown, counter-rucking, and to finish with a dozen tackles is great work. 7

Scotland prop Rory Sutherland made 12 tackles off the bench


18. Tadhg Furlong

Pity we didn’t see him running the ball at outside centre but thrived as the game loosened up. 6

19. Maro Itoje

Swipe at a ball disallowed a try for Navidi in a brief cameo. N/A

20. Jack Conan

Keeps impressing on this tour, a good counter-ruck forcing a turnover and full of aggression. 6

21. Hamish Watson

On briefly but long enough to win one of his customary turnovers. N/A

22. Finn Russell

The only reserve back had half an hour, with a nice chip for Daly opening the Sharks up. Finished with eight tackles. 6

23. Taulupe Faletau

Notably won a turnover in front of the Lions posts not long after coming on. Hands that a back would have been proud of at times. 6