Marcus Smith looked at home in a British and Irish Lions shirt
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In their final warm-up match before next weekend’s first Test, the British and Irish Lions put on a show as they convincingly beat the Stormers 49-3.
Warren Gatland and his coaching staff must now work out their starting XV for the eagerly anticipated showdown with South Africa but who impressed and who faltered this evening?
15. Stuart Hogg – 7
Hurled a rushed pass into touch but laid on Hill’s try with a deft offload. Even on a slippery surface, his footwork was effective.
14. Josh Adams – 5
Loose with two first-half carries, coughing up a breakdown penalty and fumbling in a tackle from Swiel. Subdued until winning a second-half turnover.
13. Elliot Daly – 7
His flick sparked the Lions’ first try and a falling offload, after a spearing run had pierced the defensive line, released Conan much later. Untested defensively, though.
12. Robbie Henshaw – 8
Settled gradually before stripping the ball from Stormers full-back Sergeal Petersen. Exudes a calm in defence that emboldens teammates and has more to offer in attack. No wonder Warren Gatland has been patient with the centre.
11. Duhan van der Merwe – 8
If this game was a head-to-head with Adams, the Scotland wing was far more conspicuous. Continually stood tall to shrug off would-be tacklers and offload, eking out momentum from tricky positions
10. Marcus Smith – 8
Began a tidy game with a 50-metre clearance and was assured outside of from one wobble under a high ball. Committed in defence, kicked goals and distributed neatly, releasing Rees-Zammit and goose-stepping twice to sign off.
9. Ali Price – 8
After a slightly unconvincing and frantic start, Price’s snipes troubled the Stormers around the fringes and energised the Lions’ attack. Has certainly done enough to be considered for a Test start.
Ali Price impressed for the Lions
1. Rory Sutherland – 6
Conceded an overeager penalty for offside and was collared for an offence at a first-half scrum, too, which frustrated him. Willing to carry in crowded areas, though.
2. Luke Cowan-Dickie – 9
This was a compelling case for Test selection, underpinned by insatiable breakdown scavenging. Cowan-Dickie also threw accurately and bolted off the tail of a maul to score.
3. Tadhg Furlong – 8
Robust tackling, powerful scrummaging and rumbling carries, including a pick-and-go in the build-up to Beard’s try. A sure-fire Test starter at tighthead prop.
4. Adam Beard – 7
His maul defence is a significant attribute, but this game showcased the lock’s skilful passing with a lovely, slicing running line bringing a try.
5. Jonny Hill – 7
A nuisance to the Stormers at defensive mauls and a go-to jumper for clubmate Cowan-Dickie. Held his width, as we have seen for Exeter, to score before half-time.
6. Tadhg Beirne – 8
Another of the Lions’ breakdown spoilers was also intelligent in attack. Will the Lions somehow get him and Courtney Lawes on the field at the same time?
7. Hamish Watson – 8
Disciplined and tough in defence, aside from the penalty that brought the Stormers’ only points. There were also punchy carries that scattered tacklers.
8. Jack Conan – 8
Understated yet impressive once again. Held up Stormers runners to buy time for the Lions defence and became more influential in attack, capping his afternoon with a try.
Jack Conan scores a try for the British & Irish Lions
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16. Jamie George (on for Cowan-Dickie, 48) – 6
Not as potent as Cowan-Dickie but did find some space off the back of driving mauls.
17. Mako Vunipola (on for Sutherland, 48) – 8
Eye-catching off the bench once more. It will be difficult to leave out either Wyn Jones or Sutherland, but Vunipola’s energy and passing suits a role among the replacements.
18. Zander Fagerson (on for Furlong, 53) – 7
Gave up a scrum penalty on arrival but responded with some bustling carries and a close-range try.
19. Alun Wyn Jones (on for Beard, 53) – 8
The bionic man returns. Bar a lineout that he could not quite haul in him, this was as credible a return as the Lions could have hoped for. Three offloads tied together a strong finish.
20. Sam Simmonds (on for Conan, 57) 7
Finally, the marksman had a chance to stretch his legs and finished a sweeping move to score the Lions’ seventh try.
21. Gareth Davies (on for Price, 57) – 6
It would be a surprise to see him during the Tests, but Davies was lively enough here.
22. Chris Harris (on for Henshaw, 57) – 7
Typically sturdy in defence at inside centre, drawing a turnover with one clattering tackle.
23. Louis Rees-Zammit (on for Adams, 57) – 7
The pacey predator picked up his try from Smith’s break. He only needs a sniff.