After a torrid game against the NZ Provincial Barbarians, the Lions were able to scrape a victory by 13 points to 7. Bryn Gatland showcased his superb skills, in a side that have been together for less time than the Lions.
This was certainly not the start that Warren Gatland, despite his son’s performance, would have been hoping for. Hopefully, by the time the Lions are playing the Blues on Wednesday, they will all be singing from the same hymnsheet and will be able to get that all-important end product which evaded them throughout the opening game.
1. Owen Farrell came on and showed he is a world class 10. Sexton really wasn’t at his best, and generally stood quite deep in a fairly passive position. Farrell made a huge difference in the back line by giving front-foot ball and producing slick flat passes. Greg Laidlaw going off probably aided Farrell, as Rhys Webb is much better at creating fastball than his more tactical Scotish counterpart. If Farrell keeps up this form and consistency then surely he has to start against the All Blacks.
2. Kyle Sinkler proved his worth with an inspired display. He is both a ‘unit’ but also very slick with his hands. He is one of the players for the future with England and if he keeps improving as he is, then there is no reason why he cannot play a vital role in the future… just don’t let him take quick tap penalties.
3. The Gloucester flanker Ross Moriarty showcased his skills, in the all-Welsh back row. Defensively he was a rock. He also managed to break through the game line multiple times, as you would expect from a player of his up and coming stature. There were multiple times when he tried to offload it too, but there is obviously some teething issues within this newly formed squad which lead to it not going to plan.
4. Toby Faletau continued the amazing form he had a Bath with a thundering performance. Not only was he carrying hard and well, he also saved what should have been a try from the Babas. This amazing tackle stood out as he managed to turn the opposing player over onto his back after tracking him from his own 22.
5. Ben Te’o the former league convert showcased some amazing lines. Often he found himself in a bit of space. If there were players there to run off him, as Tommy Seymour did try to do at one point but misread the game, then there certainly would’ve been more tries in this game.