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Lions and All Blacks player ratings after the tourists are tamed in the first Test at Eden Park

Mirror logo Mirror 24/06/2017 Alex Spink
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Sean O'Brien scored one of the greatest tries in British and Irish Lions history - but world champions New Zealand still won a pulsating first Test in emphatic fashion.

Ireland flanker O'Brien pounced four minutes before half-time, finishing off a spectacular 80-metre move that was started by full-back Liam Williams' dazzling running.

New Zealand, though, held firm in the face of some outstanding rugby by the Lions as they triumphed 30-15 and made it 39 successive games unbeaten at Eden Park.

Hooker Codie Taylor scored a first-half try, before wing Rieko Ioane added two second-half touchdowns - full Test debutant Ioane's first try came after a suspicion of a knock-on before All Blacks skipper Kieran Read brilliantly off-loaded possession - while fly-half Beauden Barrett kicked 15 points.

Owen Farrell added a penalty for the Lions, and replacement scrum-half Rhys Webb claimed a try deep into injury time that Farrell converted, but they will now head to Wellington knowing that victory is required next Saturday to keep the three-match series alive.

Here is how Alex Spink rated the players' performances


Liam Williams: Played a huge part in what may yet be remembered as the try of the century. But at badly fault for Ioane’s second try. 7

Anthony Watson: Looked sharp all night, a young player saving his best display of the tour for the biggest occasion. 7

Jonathan Davies: Shredded the ABs early on and had a hand in O’Brien’s wonderful try. Very assured at this level. 7

Ben Te'o: Ran hard and tackled harder. Terrific performance from a man with only England start to his name. 8

Elliot Daly: Might have scored in second minute, claimed fine assist for O’Brien’s try. But won’t be happy with Ioane scoring twice. 7

Owen Farrell: Started well but needed to find more when the game started going away from the Lions. Not helped by forwards getting bossed. 6

Conor Murray: Made a marvellous start, with pin-point kicking and movement. But, as with half-back partner, could not sustain that control. 7


Mako Vunipola: Part of a forward pack enjoying its first significant reversal on this tour. 6

Jamie George: Held up his end of the bargain at the lineout and generally acquitted himself well around the field. 7

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Tadhg Furlong: Visible in the loose going forward early on but once the All Blacks pulled clear in the third quarter. 6

Alun Wyn Jones: Took an early knock and was never effective thereafter. Likely to lose place to Itoje next week. 6

George Kruis: Did his job at lineout time but the Lions needed to make a greater impact at contact point and he must share blame. 6

Peter O'Mahony (capt): Was the early go-to man at the lineout, maintaining his reputation for leading by deed rather than word. 6

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Sean O'Brien: Scored one of the great tries but outplayed by Sam Cane and his Kiwi pals at the breakdown. 6

Taulupe Faletau: Excellent early on but again faded as the Black Machine powered into gear later on. 6

Replacements: Disappointing impact from bench. All Blacks enjoyed much the better of the final quarter.

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Ben Smith: One of New Zealand's most exciting talents lasted just 27 minutes before a head injury saw him depart the action. 6

Israel Dagg: Denied Elliot Daly an early try through some superb defensive work, and relished the contest throughout. 7

Ryan Crotty: Did not make half-time, as a leg injury forced him off before he could make any real impact. 6

Sonny Bill Williams: Offered a considerable presence in New Zealand's midfield, making a tireless contribution. 7

Rieko Ioane: Scored two tries on his first Test match start, having also touched down earlier in the Lions tour for the Blues. 7

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Beuden Barrett: Spectacular display by the All Blacks playmaker, who dazzled in attack and kicked majestically. 9

Aaron Smith: A typically high-class contribution from probably the world's best scrum-half. 8

Joe Moody: A solid contribution, especially in the scrums, where New Zealand gained dominance. 6

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Codie Taylor: Scored a try as the result of a brilliant pick-up off the ground, and ran himself to a standstill. 7

Owen Franks: Showed all the experience of his 92 All Blacks caps, and the Lions could not get any change out of him in the scrum. 7

Brodie Rettallick: A memorable all-round display from the workaholic lock, who also possesses the handling skills of a threequarter. 8

Sam Whitelock: Strong and committed in the engine room of New Zealand's scrum. Fine performance. 7

Jerome Kaino: Departed early in the second period as New Zealand head coach Steve Hansen made a first tactical substitution. Hard-working as ever. 7

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Sam Cane: Gave as good as he got, and was a consistent presence at the breakdown. 7

Kieran Read: Brilliant performance by the All Blacks captain on his first appearance since breaking his thumb eight weeks ago. Magnificent. 9


Aaron Cruden: Took over from Ben Smith early in the action. 6

Anton Lienert-Brown: Went on for Crotty to resume his midfield partnership with Sonny Bill Wiliams. 6

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Ardie Savea: Joined the action early in the second-half. 6

Wyatt Crockett: Went on to reinforce New Zealand's scrum dominance after 54 minutes. 7

Charlie Faumuina: Joined Crockett in giving the Lions scrum more to worry about. 7

TJ Perenara: Took over from Aaron Smith during the final quarter. 6

Nathan Harris: Replaced the impressive Taylor 14 minutes from time. 6

Scott Barrett: Gained a late run instead of Read. 6

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