Heaslip, Shane shine for visitors

Keo.co.za brings you the Lions’ player ratings from the final Test at Ellis Park.

Ratings out of 10:

15 Rob Kearney (7) – Revelation of the tour for the visitors. Countering was brilliant again after repeatedly soaring through the air to gather high balls. Class all-round, but was aided by errant Bok kicking that was continually too far.

14 Ugo Monye (6) – Returned from his nightmare in the first Test and was quiet in the early stages. Read the play well to intercept when a Bok try was on as he ran 75m to score and seal the result.

13 Tommy Bowe (7) – Moved to centre from his preferred wing position and broke the line on occasions, but was confused in defence when the Boks ran at him. However, put in a brilliant cover defence tackle to stop Zane Kirchner from scoring, and then with four minutes to go he did so again on Odwa Ndungane.

12 Riki Flutey (7) – First Lions Test start  and had his best match on tour by far as he set up Williams’s second with a chip and great tap offload. Was brilliant on defence, one particular hit on Wynand Olivier defending their line in the closing stages of the first half proving inspirational for his team.

11 Shane Williams (8) – After a disappointing tour he scored the first of his South African sojourn after good support play on Heaslip’s shoulder. Made a poor decision on defence straight after however, that should have led to a Bok try if it not for Heaslip’s cover defence. Ensured the drought was well and truly broken by finishing for the second. His confidence soared and was more involved in open play.

10 Stephen Jones (6) – Missed two early attempts at poles after a 100% record last week. Played a good linking game but was susceptible on defence when the Bok pack ran at him – a pity they didn’t do it more often.

9 Mike Phillips (6) – Aggressive defence was especially impressive and had a solid display at the base of the rucks. Successfully got under the skin of his opponents as he was at the centre of most scuffles, which did the job of taking their minds off the game.

8 Jamie Heaslip (8) – Has been very quiet in the opening Tests but showed good awareness to stand up through the tackle and set up the first try for Williams. Also showed great positional sense to save a try after intercepting Odwa Ndugane’s pass. Was also more involved at the breakdown attempting to steal ball and carried with more purpose than previously.

7 Martyn Williams (6) – Struggled initially in the battle on the deck against Heinrich Brussow as the Bok flanker stole two early balls as Williams didn’t enjoy the frenetic pace.  Was prominent in open play with ball in hand, but could only be a minor nuisance with Brussow outplaying him.

6 Joe Worsley (5) – First Test start, playing in his preferred blindside position and enjoyed the outing. Played better - after an ordinary tour – roving the park in defence and attack in his favoured role.

5 Paul O’Connell (7) – The captain produced his best showing for the final match and did his job at the lineout. But his most telling impact came at the breakdown, where he stole and slowed down ball regularly.

4 Simon Shaw (5) – Was Man of the Match last week and was very vocal in the team talk before. Again successfully harassed at the breakdown and mauls. Was yellow carded after 37 minutes after a sickening intentional knee into the back of Fourie du Preez, which eventually saw the scrumhalf leave the pitch. Only cost his team three points as the inept Boks couldn’t crack the defensive wall.

3 Phil Vickery (6) – After the first Test mauling at the hands of Beast Mtawarira he benefited from having Matthew Rees and Andrew Sheridan alongside him. The referee was on his side this week as he won a couple of penalties at the scrum in the first half. When Bismarck du Plessis came on for the hosts, matters changed immensely and Vickery’s frailties at set piece were again exposed. Industrious in general play however.

2 Matthew Rees (7) – His hard edge proved again how Ian McGeechan made a grave mistake in picking Lee Mears for the first Test. Loved the set-piece against weak scrummager Chiliboy Ralepelle, but had to leave the park after 36 minutes after a head knock.

1 Andrew Sheridan (7) – First start of the series, and his scrummaging proved invaluable as that dominance set the tone for the rest of the match. One of those encounters where he pitched up and his side was the better for it.

16 Ross Ford (6)- On after 36 minutes for Matthew Rees and successfully found his jumpers and did solid work when the Boks were attacking.

17 John Hayes (6) - On after 55 minutes and was prominent at the scrum as the Bok pack got marched backwards.

18 Alun-Wyn Jones (7) – Came on with 12 to go and produced some thunderous tackles, notably one one on Juan Smith.

19 David Wallace – Not on long enough to be judged.

20 Tom Croft – As above.

21 Harry Ellis (6) – On after 57 minutes and successfully killed off the game as his distribution was crisp, while his tactical kicking was efficient.

22 James Hook – Was not used.

By Grant Ball