The pride of Lions

Skysports.com looks back on who was hot and who was not on the tour to South Africa

By Tony Curtis.   Last Updated: 07/07/09 1:44pm

  • Share:
Williams and Phillips: Celebrate success in the final Test

Williams and Phillips: Celebrate success in the final Test

Sky Bet

    • Retrieving latest Sky Bet odds

The British and Irish Lions may have lost the series to the Springboks, but a number of players will return home with their reputations enhanced.

And as the dust settles on the tour to South Africa, skysports.com looks back on who was hot and who was not.

Remember to let us know your views via the form below...

Lee Byrne: Injuries ended the Wales full-back's tour early, with Byrne confined to just 38 minutes of Test action. Had impressed during the warm-up games, but struggled during that opening half in Durban..... 6/10

Rob Kearney: Started the tour in the shadow of Byrne but emerged to write his name alongside some of the great Lions No.15s. Was rock solid in defence and potent in attack. One of the stars of the tour.....9

Ugo Monye: Perhaps harshly singled out for criticism in the first Test, the Quins wing responded in fine fashion with a try in Johannesburg. Ended the tour as the Lions' leading try-scorer.....7

Leigh Halfpenny: The Welsh wing won't have many happy memories of the tour. His arrival was delayed because of injury - and when the same problem flared up again he was flying home early......5

Tommy Bowe: Looked unstoppable in the warm-up games - and although he was quiet in the first two Tests, he came good in the final match in the unaccustomed role in the centres.....7

Luke Fitzgerald: It is a shame that Fitzgerald's tour will be best remember for Schalk Burger's gouging in the second Test. Showed moments of class and will surely return with the Lions to Australia in 2013.....6

Shane Williams: Failed to live up to his pre-tour billing as the best player in the world, however he shook of the shackles in the final Test with a blistering display.....7

Brian O'Driscoll: Was simply a class act on and off the pitch. He may not have the speed in his legs any more, however he was able to create the openings for those around him. His partnership with Jamie Roberts was a pleasure to watch......9

Keith Earls: Having endured a Lions debut to forget in Rustenburg, the Irishman responded well and showed glimpses of his talent. However he struggled at full-back, particularly under the high ball..... 6

Jamie Roberts: One man the South Africans will be glad to see the back of. Was simply immense in attack and defence. His partnership with O'Driscoll was one of the best centre pairings I have ever seen...... 9

Riki Flutey: Injury and the pairing of O'Driscoll and Roberts hampered his chances, however he took his opportunity when it came along. Fearless in defence, while his flick inside set Shane Williams away for a crucial try in the third Test...... 7

Stephen Jones: Was rock solid throughout the tour. The timing of his passes helped release the backline, while he kicked well. He kept his cool to land the match-equalling kick in Pretoria from out wide, only for Morne Steyn to deny the Lions..... 8

Ronan O'Gara: The tour never really came to life for the Irishman. He kicked well in the warm-up games, but couldn't displace Jones from the Test XV. A rush of blood in the second Test also proved costly as he needlessly conceded the penalty for Steyn to win the match..... 6

James Hook: A late inclusion into the touring party, however he looked to have played his way into Test contention with some eye-catching displays. He was incisive in attack, while his kicking is up there with the best. Shame injury ultimately ended his Test hopes..... 7

Mike Phillips: Arguably the No.1 scrum-half in the northern hemisphere. Refused to take a backward step against the Boks - and Bakkies Botha in particular - and scored two memorable tries.....8

Harry Ellis: Never really got a look in as Phillips continued to put in class displays. However the England No.9 stepped up to the mark when needed.....6

Mike Blair: The Scotland captain sadly failed to reproduce the form that earned him a nomination for the IRB player of the year. Started the tour badly and never really recovered.....5

Gethin Jenkins: Looked world-class in the front-row battle before injury ended his tour. Was rock-solid in the scrum, while he was still tackling hard in the 80th minute of games......8

Andrew Sheridan: Another who came good as the tour went on. Fell behind Jenkins in the pecking order, however relished the physical battle of the Tests...... 6

Adam Jones: It is a shame his Test involvement was limited to little over two halves of rugby. His taming of the Beast - Tendai Mtawarira - earned him respect the world over......8

Euan Murray: It was not a good tour for the few Scots involved, with Murray on the way home after suffering an ankle injury against the Southern Kings. Failed to catch the eye, though, early in the tour......5

Phil Vickery: The former England captain had performed well in the warm-up games before he came unstuck against the Beast in the first Test. Recovered well, though, to settle the score against Mtawarira in Johannesburg.......7

Matthew Rees: The Wales hooker went from strength-to-strength as he got stuck into the Boks. Made an immediate impact off the bench in the first Test to establish himself as the Lions' first-choice hooker.......8

Lee Mears: Earned his place in the Test side after some impressive display at the start of the tour, however he came unstuck against the Boks front-row and never recovered......5

Ross Ford: The pick of the Scottish contingent. He did little wrong early on the tour and earned his place in the Test 22 for the second and third Tests.......6

Simon Shaw: Blotted his copybook with his yellow card in the final Test, but otherwise an immense display from the tour veteran. He relished the physical confrontation, with his defence around the breakdown a different class.......9

Alun-Wyn Jones: Failed to gel with the captain Paul O'Connell in the second row and was unable to impose himself on Victor Matfield or Bakkies Botha in the first Test.......6

Donncha O'Callaghan: Was on the bench for the first Test and captained the midweek side. Valuable squad member although he failed to seriously threaten for a Test start........ 6

Paul O'Connell: Although his form may not have reached the same heights as in previous seasons, he captained the side well and helped instil the spirit into the side........7

Nathan Hines: Committed throughout the tour but lacked the consistency in his performances. A week's ban effectively ended his Test hopes.......6

Stephen Ferris: Injury ended the Ulsterman's tour just when he seemed to be pushing for a Test place. Looked a quality operator in the warm-up games and scored a superb breakaway try.......7

Tom Croft: Looks every part a world-class flanker. Scored two tries in the first Test and was superb in Pretoria. Almost certain to be back for the 2013 tour - as well as the 2017 trip to New Zealand........8

Joe Worsley: Rightly given his chance in the third Test after a solid tour. Perhaps doesn't receive the credit he deserves, however he always got stuck into the task in hand and was a Trojan in defence........7

David Wallace: Was unable to shake off the shackles of the Boks back-row in the Tests as he failed to reach the same levels as the warm-up games.......6

Martyn Williams: Injury hampered the Wales flanker early on the tour - and you were left wondering what could have been as he shone in the final Test. Won the match up against Heinrich Brussow hands down........7

Andy Powell: Went to South Africa with a big reputation, but failed to make an impact. His trademark charges may have caused a stir but too often he was left isolated and lost possession........5

Jamie Heaslip: Was solid, if unspectacular, in the first two Test, but really rose to the occasion in Johannesburg.........7

Replacements - Gordon D'Arcy: Arrived early on the tour but never really got a chance to shine. 5; Tim Payne: Despite only arriving the day before, Payne acquitted himself well against the Emerging Springboks. 6; John Hayes: Like Payne he only arrived ahead of the game against the Emerging Springboks and produced a solid display. 6; Ryan Jones: Barely touched down when he was heading back after failing to recover from concussion.

  • Share:

Related

Most Popular

Features

Wondrous Wilkinson

Wondrous Wilkinson

From Newcastle to Toulon, via Australia; Sky Sports looks back at the remarkable career of Jonny Wilkinson.

Raising the bar

Raising the bar

Mike Brown is looking to take his game to another level during the QBE Internationals.

Greatest Lions XV

Greatest Lions XV

The voting has been fierce but we can finally reveal our Greatest Lions XV of the modern era.