Lions Squad - Tour Ratings
July 10, 2005

Games played and ratings for each of the 51 Lions players named for the rugby tour of New Zealand (* indicates came on as a reserve):

FULLBACKS:

Josh Lewsey (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty, NZ Maori, Wellington, 1st test, 2nd test, 3rd test

Points: 10 (2 tries)

Consistent and versatile performer who took his few opportunities well. Flies home with reputation intact.

Rating (out of 10): 8.5

Geordan Murphy (Ireland)

Played: Taranaki, Otago, Southland, Manawatu, Auckland, 3rd test

Points: 15 (3 tries)

A quality midweek stalwart, rewarded with belated test callup. Showed some nice attacking touches but defence questionable.

Rating: 7.5

Ian Balshaw (England)

Never even left England because of injury. No rating.

WINGERS:

Jason Robinson (England)

Played: Wellington, 1st test, Manawatu, 2nd test

Points: 5 (1 try)

Arrived late because of wife's health and never got into the form he's renowned for. Zip missing when few chances arose.

Rating: 5.5

Shane Williams (Wales)

Played: NZ Maori, Otago, Manawatu, 2nd test

Points: 30 (6 tries)

Wizard-like elusiveness to score five tries against Manawatu. But tiny frame a liability when tackled and on defence.

Rating: 6

Shane Horgan (Ireland)

Played: Taranaki, NZ Maori*, Wellington*, 1st test*, 2nd test*, Auckland*, 3rd test*

Points: 5 (1 try)

Apparently a substitute specialist. Came off the bench six times but made just one start. Big, strong runner.

Rating: 6.5

Tom Shanklin (Wales)

Played: Bay of Plenty, NZ Maori, Southland*

Points: 5 (1 try)

Physical back who appeared threatening. Could have figured in tests if tour not ended with injury against Southland.

Rating: 7

Mark Cueto (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty, Southland, Manawatu*, Auckland, 3rd test

Points: 15 (3 tries)

Replaced the injured Ian Balshaw. Few early chances but showed late in the tour he was quick and dangerous in space.

Rating: 7.5

Denis Hickie (Ireland)

Played: Taranaki, Otago, Southland, Auckland

Points: 0

Always earmarked as a midweek man, delivering honest, toiling efforts.

Rating: 5.5

CENTRES:

Brian O'Driscoll (Ireland)

Played: Bay of Plenty, NZ Maori, Wellington, 1st test

Points: 5 (1 try)

Defining moment of the tour when captain and best attacking hope was injured in the opening moments of the first test. Subsequent outcry dominated headlines for another week. Only snippets of his brilliant best seen before then.

Rating: 7

Gareth Thomas (Wales)

Played: Wellington, 1st test, 2nd test, 3rd test

Points: 10 (2 tries)

Filled in ably for O'Driscoll as skipper and centre. Led with passion although out of position.

Rating: 7.5

Ollie Smith (England)

Played: Taranaki, Otago*, Southland, Manawatu

Points: 5 (1 try)

Nondescript tour. Did the basics but little more against provincial foe before injury ended things.

Rating: 5.5

SECOND FIVE-EIGHTHS:

Gavin Henson (Wales)

Played: Bay of Plenty, Wellington, Southland, 2nd test

Points: 10 (2 tries)

Captured plenty of headlines but only lived up to the hype with a brace against Southland.

Rating: 7

Will Greenwood (England)

Played: Taranaki, Otago, 1st test, Auckland, 3rd test.

Points: 5 (1 try)

Impressive game against Otago but largely off the pace. England form of old is gone.

Rating: 6

Gordon D'Arcy (Ireland)

Played: Bay of Plenty*, NZ Maori, Otago, Southland*, Manawatu, Auckland

Points: 10 (2 tries)

Disappointing tour. A test chance before arriving but blew it with average early form.

Rating: 5.5

FIRST FIVE-EIGHTHS:

Jonny Wilkinson (England)

Played: Wellington, 1st test, 2nd test

Points: 24 (6 penalties, 3 conversions)

Huge pressure to be a Lions hero after so long out injured. Courageous but obviously wasn't ready for this. Out of position in first test and eclipsed by Carter in second before another injury.

Rating: 7

Stephen Jones (Wales)

Played: NZ Maori, Wellington*, 1st test, 2nd test*, 3rd test

Points: 22 (6 penalties, 2 conversions)

Didn't exert the influence needed. Clearly more comfortable with freedom of the Welsh style.

Rating: 7

Charlie Hodgson (England)

Played: Taranaki, Otago, Manawatu, Auckland

Points: 53 (1 try, 8 penalties, 12 conversions)

Much maligned but the best of the high-profile No 10s. Controlled play well with accurate kicking and option-taking.

Rating: 8

Ronan O'Gara (Ireland)

Played: Bay of Plenty, NZ Maori*, Otago*, Southland, Manawatu*, Auckland*, 3rd test*

Points: 49 (2 tries, 7 penalties, 9 conversions)

No smoother punter of the ball but fell down in general play and goalkicking, so wasn't a test chance.

Rating: 7

HALFBACKS:

Dwayne Peel (Wales)

Played: Bay of Plenty, Wellington, 1st test, 2nd test, 3rd test

Points: 5 (1 try)

Always a threat with sparky running and aggression but error-prone at times.

Rating: 8

Matt Dawson (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty*, NZ Maori, Otago*, 1st test*, Auckland, 3rd test*

Points: 0

Veteran spent plenty of time on the bench but showed he still has class, especially against Auckland.

Rating: 7.5

Chris Cusiter (Scotland)

Played: Taranaki, Wellington*, Otago, Southland*, Manawatu

Points: 0

Nice passer who has some genuine talent. Close to test team.

Rating: 7

Gareth Cooper (Wales)

Played: Taranaki*, Southland, Manawatu*

Points: 5 (1 try)

Must have seemed like a long six weeks. Just one start and didn't look that flash in it.

Rating: 4.5

NO 8s:

Ryan Jones (Wales)

Played: Otago, 1st test*, 2nd test, 3rd test

Points: 5 (1 try)

Flown in to replace Simon Taylor, instantly starring against Otago with size and speed before a decent showings in the tests.

Rating: 8.5

Martin Corry (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty*, Taranaki, Wellington, 1st test, Manawatu, 2nd test*, Auckland*, 3rd test

Points: 10 (2 tries)

Iron man of the tour, appearing eight times. Bags of strength and experience but lacking dynamism.

Rating: 7.5

Michael Owen (Wales)

Played: Taranaki, NZ Maori, Otago*, Southland, Manawatu, Auckland

Points: 0

Highly skilled but that wasn't enough for test selection. Another better off in the free-flowing Welsh game. At least got home to see his daughter's birth.

Rating: 7

Lawrence Dallaglio (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty

Points: 0

Oh the misery. A long-held goal crashed with an innocuous slip at Rotorua. Lions pack never recovered.

Rating: 4

Simon Taylor (Scotland)

Never played, succumbing to early hamstring injury.

OPENSIDE FLANKERS:

Lewis Moody (England)

Played: Taranaki, Southland, 2nd test, 3rd test

Points: 5 (1 try)

Finished solid tour with a couple of lively test performances.

Rating: 7

Neil Back (England)

Played: Wellington, 1st test, Manawatu*

Points: 5 (1 try)

Sad end to an illustrious career. Saw out suspension and then looked every bit the oldest ever Lion in his brief appearances.

Rating: 5.5

Martyn Williams (Wales)

Played: Bay of Plenty, NZ Maori, Otago, Southland, Manawatu, Auckland, 3rd test*

Points: 5 (1 try)

Outshone against NZ Maori but otherwise had a busy and impressive tour. Most like a NZ No 7 and unlucky to win test spot.

Rating: 7.5

BLINDSIDE FLANKERS:

Simon Easterby (Ireland)

Played: Wellington, Otago, Southland*, 2nd test, 3rd test

Points: 5 (1 try)

Replaced Dallaglio early in tour and stood out for his toughness and work rate. Why wasn't he picked to start with?

Rating: 8.5

Richard Hill (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty, NZ Maori, 1st test

Points: 0

Veteran looked good against BOP but knee blow early in first test knocked him out of tour. Lions looked better with younger blood among the loosies.

Rating: 6

Jason White (Scotland)

Played: Auckland

Points: 0

Flew out to replace Hill and played 50 minutes against Auckland. What was the point?

Rating: 6

LOCKS:

Paul O'Connell (Ireland)

Played: Bay of Plenty, NZ Maori, 1st test, 2nd test, 3rd test

Points: 0

Big reputation but fizzled in the first two tests while better in the third. Hugely passionate, which got him in trouble with the refs and ball-handling was a liability.

Rating: 6.5

Donncha O'Callaghan (Ireland)

Played: Taranaki, Otago, Southland, Manawatu, 2nd test, 3rd test

Points: 0

Busy tour. Well-performed against the provinces with adept lineout skill. Handled himself fine when thrown into tests.

Rating: 7

Ben Kay (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty, Wellington, 1st test, Auckland

Points: 0

Hugely disappointing tour. Ended on worst possible note when penalised for punchup versus Auckland in which he came out second best.

Rating: 4.5

Danny Grewcock (England)

Played: Taranaki, Wellington, Otago*, 1st test*

Points: 0

Found guilty of biting in the first test. Went home in disgrace, again.

Rating: 3

Simon Shaw (England)

Played: NZ Maori, Otago, Southland, Manawatu, Auckland

Points: 0

Early replacement for Malcom O'Kelly. Turned in some strong, physical showings.

Rating: 7

Brent Cockbain (Wales)

Played: Manawatu*, Auckland*

Points: 0

Replaced Grewcock and looked assured in two outings.

Rating: 6.5

Malcolm O'Kelly (Ireland)

Never played because of a mystery groin injury. Left early

TIGHTHEAD PROPS:

Julian White (England)

Played: NZ Maori, Wellington, 1st test, 2nd test, 3rd test

Points: 0

Wasn't the scrummaging behemoth some believed. Steady enough there but lacking around the field.

Rating: 6

Matt Stevens (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty, Wellington*, Otago, Southland, Manawatu*, Auckland*

Points: 0

Promising player with few chances. Watch for him on 2009 tour to birthplace South Africa.

Rating: 7

John Hayes (Ireland)

Played: Taranaki, Southland, Manawatu, Auckland

Points: 0

The least impressive scrummager. Was never in test calculations.

Rating: 5.5

LOOSEHEAD PROPS:

Gethin Jenkins (Wales)

Played: Bay of Plenty, Taranaki*, NZ Maori*, Wellington, 1st test, 2nd test, 3rd test.

Points: 5 (1 try)

Excellent, adaptable talent and the pick of the tight forwards. Strong scrummager and vigorous around the park.

Rating: 8.5

Graham Rowntree (England)

Played: Taranaki, Otago, 2nd test*, Auckland, 3rd test*

Points: 0

Experience and scrum nous was influential. Solid finish to distinguished career.

Rating: 7.5

Andy Sheridan (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty*, NZ Maori, Otago*, Southland*, Manawatu

Points: 0

Injuries curtailed the appearances of immensely strong man. Stood out with his power against NZ Maori but hampered thereafter.

Rating: 7

HOOKERS:

Steve Thompson (England)

Played: Bay of Plenty*, NZ Maori, Otago*, 1st test*, 2nd test

Points: 0

Big, feisty figure who revels in the tight but limited mobility. Abrasive in the tests.

Rating: 7

Shane Byrne (Ireland)

Played: Taranaki*, NZ Maori*, Wellington, 1st test, 2nd test*, 3rd test

Points: 0

Will be remembered for first test lineout shocker. Otherwise workmanlike.

Rating: 6

Gordon Bulloch (Scotland)

Played: Bay of Plenty, Otago, Southland*, Manawatu, Auckland, 3rd test*

Points: 0

Hard grafting figure in the midweek side. Performances warranted a test berth, which he got in the final minutes.

Rating: 7

Andy Titterell (England)

Played: Taranaki, Southland, Manawatu*

Points: 0

Low key tour, was clearly not on the test radar.

Rating: 4.5

NZPA

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