Roberts rips into hosts

Keo.co.za brings you the Lions’ player ratings from their second tour match at Ellis Park.

15 Rob Kearney (7/10) - The Irishman needed a strong showing after Lee Byrne set the standard on the weekend. He was quiet initially, but gradually began to carve holes in the suspect defence, although he seemed apprehensive in contact. Like Byrne he also has big left boot and was solid under the high ball as he soared through the air on a number of occasions.

14 Tommy Bowe (6/10) - Ran a good line for O’Driscoll’s try, while the offload was also classy. He didn’t have any chance to show his kicking game last week as he was under instructions to run it back, and again he didn’t have to as the hosts kicked poorly. He capped off a solid display as he intercepted to score, highlighting the tourists’ tight defence.

13 Brian O’Driscoll (7/10) - The captain set up his centre partner for the first try and exhibited his tireless support play with the second. It was not just on attack that he excelled, but also in his marshalling of the rush defence, capped off with his hit on Jannie Boshoff. Not that it needs any reminding, but he is a definite for the Test team.

12 Jamie Roberts (9/10) - After being one of the standouts in the tour-opener he scored two tries and broke the line repeatedly, setting up Ugo Monye’s first try. It must be remembered this was the worst defence in the Super 14 he was up against, but he drew two defenders onto him with his size and power, while he is also a danger as the decoy. He only played just over 50 minutes but that was good enough to be the standout in consecutive outings and he has staked a claim for a Test spot already.

11 Ugo Monye (7/10) - The Englishman ran good lines and always looked to get involved. He repeatedly beat the first tackler and finished well for his two tries, but is still unrefined for Test selection.

10 Stephen Jones (8/10) - Due to the hosts’ porous defence Jones had many shots at goal, slotting six from seven. He had a nervous start as he dropped the first up-and-under of the evening. However, his partnership with Phillips flourished. He is a much better attacking option than Ronan O’Gara as he created chances for the rest of the backs. He is also not a predictable pivot as he used inside runners to good affect and varied his game.

9 Mike Phillips (8/10) - With all the quality ball he bullied Jano Vermaak in their battle. His kicking game already gives him a massive advantage over the other contenders, while his size and physicality make him the obvious choice for the No 9 jersey. With his 103kg frame he even moved to the centres for the final quarter.

8 Jamie Heaslip (5/10) - He did the basics but was surprisingly quiet throughout this massacre. His defence was also not aggressive as Todd Clever bounced him to the ground. It was a disappointing first showing from the Irishman.

7 David Wallace (5/10) - He injured his knee in the act of charging down Louis Ludik’s kick after five minutes, but recovered quickly. It was Wallace’s second game in a row, but this time in his favoured position. Although he carried the ball well initially his impact at the contact points was minimal.

6 Tom Croft (7/10)- Cantered over for an easy try under the poles, but it was also his work around the park that impressed. The Leicesterman was a late call-up to the tour, but proved Ian McGeechan’s initial selection to be a mistake as he is their best lineout option. He won a lot of ball and disrupted the hosts’, and will come into the Test reckoning.

5 Alun-Wyn Jones (7/10) - He was industrious at the pick and go around the fringes early on and was a productive secondary lineout option.

4 Nathan Hines (6/10) - The affable Aussie-born Scotsman was the enforcer and he hit the rucks all day. Solid but not spectacular and there are better second row options for the big games.

3 Phil Vickery (5/10) - The veteran won a couple of scrum penalties early on in his first Lions start since 2001. Otherwise he had little effect and wasn’t as dominant as McGeechan would have hoped.

2 Lee Mears (6/10) - The diminutive hooker started poorly with his first throw to the lineout, but from there on grew in stature at the set-piece. His biggest asset is his mobility, but being a small guy at 96 kg, his most realistic goal would be to win a bench spot.

1 Gethin Jenkins (6/10) - The Welshman is in competition with Andrew Sheridan for the loosehead position and produced a strong showing with ball in hand. He was a willing battering ram and got around the park, but his scrumming wouldn’t have provided John Smit with sleepless nights.

16 Ross Ford - Not enough time to be judged.

17 Euan Murray - Not enough time to be judged.

18 Stephen Ferris (6/10) - His first appearance on tour was capped off with the final score.

19 Andy Powell – Not enough time to be judged.

20 Harry Ellis (6/10) - Came on with 20 minutes remaining and was industrious on defence especially.

21 James Hook (6/10) - This was his first appearance on tour after coming on after 53 minutes for Roberts. He was monstered twice in succession on his arrival and doesn’t have the physicality for the centre position. He looked more comfortable at flyhalf and coasted over after a gift interception from Andre Pretorius.

22 Shane Williams – Not enough time to be judged.

By Grant Ball, at Ellis Park