Player Ratings: Wallabies vs Lions First Test - Green and Gold Rugby
British & Irish Lions

Player Ratings: Wallabies vs Lions First Test

Player Ratings: Wallabies vs Lions First Test

What a way to kick off this Lions series. A cracking Test that ebbed and flowed right to the end. Until Kurtley slipped it could have been either team going one up in the series.

Anyhoo, here are my Wallabies vs Lions player ratings for the first Test. We don’t usually do the reserves as well, but for the Wallabies so many got so much game time!



Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsBenn Robinson

Was industrious around the field including one dummy. Loses a mark for the pack at scrum time 6

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsStephen Moore

Really showed some starch. Worked hard all night. Top throwing had lineout purring. 6

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsBen Alexander

Not the tighthead we were looking for. Worked around the field but scrum was terrible. 4

horwill wallabies profileJames Horwill

Barn dancing aside, he led well. Was his usual energetic self around the field. Great to have him back. 6

Wallabies Headshots 140313Kane Douglas

Got through plenty of grunt work and wasn’t lost in a titanic breakdown battle. Carried well too. 6

Wallabies Headshots 140313Ben Mowen

Impact all night. A great debut and gave plenty to prove he is worthy of the gold jersey. 8

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsMichael Hooper

As an inside centre, he makes a great flanker. Good running game as usual but not helped by the positional mix-ups. 6

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsWycliff Palu

Drifted in and out of the game a little, not having the level of impact we’d hope. Is he really fit? 5

genia wallabies profileWill Genia

Fantastic. Could have been playing 9 and 10 as he created plenty. Ever so close to MOTM. 9

oconnor joc wallabies profileJames O’Connor

There were times I forgot he was on the field. No game management, added to kicking yips. 3

Australian Wallabies HeadshotsDigby Ioane

Hardworking all night but very heavily marked so limited spoils from that work. 5

lealiifano wallabies profileChristian Leali’ifano

Lasted exactly 42 seconds in his Test debut and only attempted one tackle. Sorry, too soon DNF

aac cooper douglas wallabies profileAdam Ashley-Cooper

Was strong in all he did until leaving the field, a rock in the backline. 7

folau wallabies profileIsrael Folau

Izzy put in a performance to silence the doubters. Did everything asked of him and more. 9

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsBerrick Barnes

Kicked poorly, one leading directly to North’s try. 3

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsJames Slipper

Hard to say if it was him coming on or the Lions’ changes, but the scrum improved. Worked well around the field as always. 7

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsSekope Kepu

Didn’t make the same impact as Slipper, though had more time to do it in. Busy but not hard enough. 5

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsRob Simmons

Had a decent amount of time to really make a claim to start, I don’t think he made enough of it. 5

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsLiam Gill

Played well in the limited time he had. Was hard at the breakdown. Never lets the team down when he’s on. 6

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsPat McCabe

Got a decent amount of time on the park and delivered what was expected. Nothing more. 5

Australian Wallabies Squad HeadshotsKurtley Beale

Made a difference the moment he came on. Almost did enough to win the match but for slipping over. Great return. 7



corbisiero lions profileAlex Corbisiero

Was busy around the park and contributed to the strength of the visitor’s scrum. 6

tom youngs lions profileTom Youngs

Played a good solid game throughout with plenty of grunt in the tight stuff. 7

adam jones lions profileAdam Jones

The hair bear delivered pretty much what was expected. The scrum was weaker for him being subbed. 7

alun wyn jones lions profileAlun-Wyn Jones

Typical head down, bum up performance you would want from your lock. Careless with his head. 7

oconnell poc lions profilePaul O’Connell

Always steps up for the Lions, even when not captain. Great work from the Irishman, lineouts especially. 8

croft lions profileTom Croft

Was quieter than I thought he would be. Worked hard at all times but effectiveness was lacking. 6

warburton lions profileSam Warburton

A captain’s knock from Saint Sam. Less pilfering that we would ask of our No.7, but hit hard and often. 8

heaslip lions profileJamie Heaslip

Quiet. Tough but quiet. I’m not sure he was effective enough to keep his starting spot given the Lion’s backrow riches. 5

phillips lions profileMike Phillips

Was dwarfed by his opponent, and given Genia’s stature that says plenty. Things looked up when subbed. 4

sexton lions profileJonathan Sexton

This is what a real flyhalf plays like. Directed his team wonderfully, made up for any mistakes. 7

george north lions profileGeorge North

Bagged one try, came close to two. Always trouble. The Lions MoTM 9

davies lions profileJonathan Davies

The charge that knocked Lilo out an example of his strong running. Didn’t quite click with BO’D. 6

bod odriscoll lions profileBrian O’Driscoll

Classy knock from a classy player. Defended well. Should have done more with the ad-hoc Wallabies centres 7

cuthbert lions profileAlex Cuthbert

Got himself a Lions try with a nice bit of support running. Probably needed to look for more work. 6

halfpenny lions profileLeigh Halfpenny

Packed his kicking boots, his kicking was the difference. Defended and countered well. 8

RaboDirect G&GR Man of the Match:

logo_rabofolau wallabies profileYou have to give a very solid mention to Will Genia but the popular choice was Israel Folau and it’s hard to argue against him. Just about everything he touched turned to gold – scored two tries and saved another.

The patented G&GR ratings guide:

10 – A legendary performance to go down in the history books
9 – Outstanding performance: Man of the match shoo-in
8 – Excellent all-round game
7 – Good game with a few sparkles
6 – Solid performance
5 – Average – ho hum
4 – Below par
3 – Had a bad game
2 – Tell your story walking pal
1 – A complete joke

  • fishook

    Think Healip deserves more than a 5 got through loads of work, made some strong carries close in, showed good hands, did well at the lineout and his rucking was very good. I’d bump him to a 7.

    • mxyzptlk

      That was Heaslip for most of the Leinster season as well. Because a lot of what he gets through is “unseen work,” he gets knocked a lot. And then if he gets a run into open space, he’s called a “show pony,” at least in Europe. The guy can’t win for losing.

      • fishook

        I’d say that’s more people from Munster though

  • Patrick

    Alright, I’ll bite. How on earth does Moore get only a 6, and AAC a 7? Also Corbisiero and Hair Bear probably deserve an extra notch just for scrummaging.

    And how does Simmons get a 5?? Maybe a 3, did he actually do anything in particular?

    But I agree with the rest and especially the MOTM.If Australia had won I would have given Genia a 10 I think. He was literally everything to us.

  • Seb V

    the 2 players playing out of position both with the worst scores. Not surprising. Barnes is just a terrible terrible kicker. JOC whilst a gifted player is not a 10.

  • jimmy wilde

    we escaped with a win.

    genia lucky folau bailed him out by stopping north in corner.

    and genia should have been penalised for tossing ball into crowd.

    and then binned for being off side only slightly less than mr richard hugh mccaw.

    i may be joking.

  • Duvstar

    Good god. That same return to mindless kicking from Barnes. Thought we might have finally moved past that. Obviously never nice to see players injured, but apart from AAC and perhaps Christian, could be a bit of a blessing in disguise with better players coming in. Very wishful thinking but maybe he’ll move Bieber a few spots outside 10??

    • josh123

      You know this means rob Horne rather than joc to centre and toomua or quade to 10 right? Not to knock Horne, good s15 player, but hardly a blessing

      • Duvstar

        Not the worst thing in the world, he’s a great defender. Then can leave the x factor to some of the other backs like Folau and Beale. Has had a very good S15 as well.

    • Graeme

      To be to Barnes, he didn’t kick mindlessly, just poorly. If Mogg had been playing in his place he’d have made exactly the same kicks, the only difference being he’d probably have got an extra ten meters on them and North would have been catching the ball on the back foot, not while at full forward acceleration.

  • Gus

    Interesting to see what mark Deans may have got, although it is kind of hard to grade his game plan given the all the center injuries on the night. I thought the marking of James O’Connor is fair but I do feel for the guy. He was picked into the team specifically for his running game and ball security. His role seemed to be attacking the line from 10 and short passes to forwards in phase play which he just about accomplished.

    Deans put Lealiifano at 12 to do the back line distribution and goal kicking and he only lasted 45 seconds. Barnes was picked for the tactical kicking which he did poorly and lasted 35 minutes. O’Connor isn’t a flyhalf and even though he was wearing 10 that’s not what he was put into the team to do. Within the first minute all of a sudden everything he had trained to do went out of the window and he had to step up and direct the backline (which he couldn’t).

    Who knows, maybe with Lealiifano on the pitch it would have all worked and that extra threat outside may have made JOC’s running game from 10 more effective. He still showed some quality, especially with his line running in the lead-up to the first try. I just hope he is played in a position where his natural talents are allowed to shine.

    • Rex Munday

      Deans should be put out to pasture. Who the hell loses a 12 and replaces him with a completely different sort of player??

      The correct decision would have been to bring Barnes up from fullback and put Beale on at 15. The more correct decision would to not pick his bumchum McCabe in the first place.

      McCabe in for Leali’fano totally changes the backline dynamics. JOC still had a shocker but I think it would not have been as bad except for this.

      • Mart

        Barnes and McCabe are 2 players severely underdone and should not have been anywhere near the squad.

  • mxyzptlk

    I’ll tune in to watch Folau vs North any day. No idea what Folau’s future holds, but if he stays with rigby, they make a match-up worth looking forward to in the coming years. Folau and Genia could teach a clinic on stepping an opponent. At times, they both made the defense look confused and slow and stuck in place.

  • Maxt

    Moore 7 at least

  • Pedro

    A bit harsh on Alexander. The scrum wasn’t terrible and to rank Simmons higher is nuts.

    • Steve Timms

      Yeah, sorry.

      Next time I would have put Simmons lower to match.

  • Mark

    Deans is the only person in australia who was surprised that picking an outside back at 10 and a S15 reserve inside centre at 15 let us down. The fact that we have Cooper, Toomua, Falou and Mogg all in form and with runs on the board at 10 and 15 against the lions, and robbie goes with the combo that he did, speaks volumes about the bloke. It’s just ridiculous.

    • Farva

      Mogg is not in form. Cooper has not been in form either, and Deans gave his reasons why he shouldnt select him. They were decent reasons. I tend to agree with his call. Others dont, fine, it is what it is. Toomua is in form, but was not picked as he has been deemed as not having the experience, and hence Deans made the call. I think he should have been there, but its a grey area and I can see the reasons for not selecting him Folou played. He was MoM. Not sure where you are going there. Equally, it was his first ever test match. Beale was coming back from a significant absense. Barnes has played at 15 for the Wallabies a number of times. I really cant see how you can criticise the selections.

      Equally, JOC has played 10 before, in the EOYT in 2011. He played 10 well then. He has also played 10 for the Rebels and played well. In this test he was supposed to have one of the countries best playmakers outside of him. But unfortunately injury prevented that.

      • Mark

        So you’re saying Barnes has better current form than the other full back contenders from super XV being Mogg and Falou? And that experience can be used not to select Toomua or Mogg, but Lifo has enough experience? And that JOC’s 2 EOYT games give him an edge in experience at 10 that our other options just don’t have… In summary you think deans selections at 10 and 15 were form based and correct. I’m sorry but I don’t agree and I think the performance on the weekend at those two positions probably speaks for itself.

        • Mark

          For the record, I can live with Deans non selection if quade. But not for a bloke who was clearly lost at 5/8

      • Patrick

        OK he were go:
        Folau: proven big game performer and champion, never looked in doubt in union. Easy pick.
        JOC: proven unable to play 5/8th at S15 level, talented line-hitter with great step and decent pass but has struggled to distribute all season (in just which Rebels game did he play well at 5/8th?). Extremely difficult pick at 5/8th!!
        Barnes: proven safe pair of hands but out of practise and also proven weak spot on accuracy of tactical kicking. Clearly an obvious choice against Lions…. !!
        Mogg and Cooper were not in form when??

      • brumby runner

        Are you sure he played well at 10 for the Rebels. As I recall, the Rebels lost when he played there, but won the next couple of games when he wasn’t on the pitch. Says a lot to me.

      • Farva

        Mogg in the Brumbies Lions game showed he is not ready for test match rugby. He made the wrong decisions at crucial times. White was of that opinion and so was Deans. Beale hasn’t played rugby for months. Selecting him to start would be a massive gamble. Folau was playing his first ever test after having only played 14 games of rugby ever. He is too much of a talent not to play but in a crucial position like fullback is again too big a risk. Barnes was the next option. You know what you are getting with Barnes. With the starting backline he brings balance. You have x factor players at 9, 10, 11, 12 and 14.

        At ten the options were JOC, Toomua or Cooper. Cooper has an attitude issue, is not playing well and still isn’t a strong defender. Equally Dean’s stated what he wanted in a ten for the game plan he wants. Cooper didn’t meet that criteria. In regard to Toomua I think he could be a long term ten. But I will trust the national coach if he thinks he is not ready to play one of the most crucial backline positions. Fact is we don’t have a ten that owns the position. Dean’s selected JOC who is an excellent ball runner with a playmaker like Lilo outside of him to create the space to run in. Unfortunately Lilo went down in the first minute and McCabe took over. McCabe has a completely different skillset to Lilo and that meant the game plan went to pieces. It might have been salvageable with Barnes stepping into the line but then he went off early too. Suggesting the wrong decision was made when all the support that would have made it the right call were carried off the field is a little unfair. Rugby is more than individual positions.

  • Younggun

    Thank god for some reasonable rating on GAGR, The SMH ones were atrocious. Mowen deserved his 8, his headgear was on the screen for most of the night unlike Palu who went missing for all but 10 minutes. I thing Robbie should play Gill at 7 and Smith at 8, the only thing though would be that Douglass would have to shoulder the brunt of the runs and the reserve backrower would have to be a big unit. Or play Sio on the bench with Slipper starting and dump Alexander.

    • pants

      Mowens pass to Falou for the 2nd try was excellent. Barnes can’t even pass like that.

  • josh123

    What does folau have to do for a 10? Almost by himself he makes a 17 point turn around (7 for the north try he stopped and 10 for his two tries ) which he had no right to do, and all on his debut. The guy was a god for 80 minutes. Give him a piece of paper and whatever he writes down should be his mark out of 10.

    • BrendeL

      I’d say Genia gets 4 of the 5 points from that first try.

      • josh123

        Point taken, but he made up for genias poor tackle on north, still think the point is valid.

        • Graeme

          Given their weight difference he did about as well as could be expected.

        • josh123

          That’s not quite the point I’m making, Genia is in the top 1 players in the world right now, but I think folau had a better game, and just don’t understand how he doesn’t get 10/10 with the impact he made on the game. He dotted down 2 tries, and topped a certain one, all on debut in the biggest game that isn’t called the rugby World Cup final.

    • Graeme

      I actually thought Genias performance was as close to a 10 as I’ve ever seen. He was flawless, played effectively 9 and 10’s roles running the forward and back line from the ruck, was his usual safe pair of hands under the high ball when fielding back (I think if he ever chose to play 15 he’d be the world set safest 15), kicked well and intelligently, and after probably taking the wrong option with the quick tap when it turned out there were four defenders on two, somehow managed to bamboozle all four defenders and left izzy clear to run to the line untouched. I can’t think of anything more he could have done to receive a ten!

  • Stin

    Maybe i had too much to drink (dont respond to that) but inthought the scrum was ok for us after an early hiccup. We did get a tight head.

  • Mike

    Beale misses a tackle to let in a try and he gets a 7???

    • Seb V

      Beale’s missed tackle looked bad. He literally looked like a scared school girl.

  • Joe Blow

    Stephen Moore had a big game and Palu was prominent as well. I would give each of them another point and deduct the same from Simmons.

  • Ottawan

    I agree JOC played poorly and Beale played fantastically. At this point, I’d see that as the starting point for how to deal with the injuries.

    Put Beale in at 10, and move JOC in to the centres. I think that’s what Deans is planning based on the fact that he’s only really called up Tapuai. I wouldn’t move Folau to 15 based on the fact his kicking has been limited and that would need to be an integral part of the Lions game plan, not to mention the impact he had at wing. That leaves open the full-back spot, which I think is why Mogg has been called in. As for Iaone out on the wing, I say give the Honey Badger a go, although given his hard running I’d be open to seeing him giving 13 a shot. Horne on the bench.

    All in all that gives a back line of 9. Genia 10. Beale 11. Cummins 12/13. JOC and Tapuai 14. Folau 15. Mogg

    Not terrible considering the disastrous injury toll

    • Blinky Bill of Bellingen NSW

      I presume the thinking is that Kurtley is okay physically & mentally. That may well be but I just don’t rate him as a playmaker at this level. IMHO he works best out wider where’s there’s space (as does JOC) and I like him at 15 where he can slot into the attack and scan the play. Defense isn’t one of his strong suits nor the high ball, but all in all 15 seems his best fit.

      And for God sake Robbie, bite the bullet and take a chance on a certain in-form Brumbies 10. We have just one more chance to get this right if we’re to win the series. So it’s time to get players into their best positions.

  • Bobas

    Palu had none of his usual crash ball impact.

    MMM/Kimlin should be starting in 8 as the only change to the starting pack.

    Simmons and Gill didn’t bring enough off the bench, MMM/Kimlin and Smith to take their spots.

    As for the backline, I guess injuries will force sweeping changed, who is injured and what to do yet I don’t know. Barnes shouldn’t get another crack. Izzy should have got an extra point for taking him out of the game.

    I’m disappointed that either we play AAC with a busted shoulder in 13 or Horne… I really think Kirindrani should have been called up…

    I reckon Deans will think, “imagine how easy if would be if my game plan worked” and try and put the same back line together.

    • Who Needs Melon

      Yeah, I’ve had it with Palu. The stats don’t always bear it out – i.e. he LOOKS to have had roughly the same involvement as Douglas and Mowen – but for a guy that size to be so ineffectual…
      Put Mowen to 8 and bring in McMeniman. Or George Smith? Or Kimlin. SOMEONE with a bit of hootzpah to them, please!

    • Patrick

      I sound like a broken record here but Bobas can’t complain about that – everything he said but Hugh Pyle for Simmons.

  • overthehill

    Wasn’t Rabid Robbie complaining about Tap’s form not long ago?

    • Piggy

      Yeah, but that was Quade’s fault…

  • Piggy

    JOC was poor but changing the game plan after 45 seconds didn’t help. We went from a ball-playing 12 to the RWC11 structure (which worked so well).

    I wonder if there was any thought of moving Berrick to 12 with Kurtley coming on at 15, rather than McCabe into 12. This would have allowed the game plan to at least be given a chance of working.

    • pants

      What the hell was Mccabe even doing in the team! That’s just fkn ridiculous. And now i love how Robbie calls up Tapui even though he said Quade Cooper had turned his game into shit. Guess he can blame QC now if we lose the 2nd test.

  • Bay35Pablo

    Genia – “Could have been playing 9 and 10 as he created plenty.”

    I think you meant “Had to essentially play 9 and 10 and created plenty.”

    • Who Needs Melon

      Amazingly, that’s virtually true.

      I still think JOC would make a fantastic 12 if given even half a dozen games to settle into that spot. And, although I think he should be given another chance at 10, I don’t think it’s going to make any difference – he is a natural runner and stepper, good at short passes (like the one to Beale for his break?) – but not a natural organiser and long passer.

      • Brumby runner

        You think he will make a fantastic 12 if given games to learn, and Scott Allen thinks he will make a great 10 if given games to learn. I’d suggest he goes back to S15 and starts to learn how to play one of these positions before being brought back into the Wallabies. But hang on, are there any S15 teams interested in him for next year?

  • wilful

    I’ve always been a fanboy of JOC, but after that performance
    I would be dropping him to the bench. As a utility back he can cover a number
    of positions (not 5/8th!) so it kinda makes sense anyway. However, I’m
    not 100% sure we’ll have the luxury of doing that with the injuries.

    I would be very wary of trying to induct someone into the squad
    who hasn’t been training with them for the last three weeks. Otherwise what was
    the point of all that training?

  • Klaus

    I know Hooper was pushed out to 12 but his lack of impact at the breakdown when he was at 7 or involved later was invisible. He should be replaced by Smith or Gill for the 2nd test. 0 pilfers isn’t good enough in a test match.

    • John Eales

      Agreed, I actually thought he was involved more as a 12 than at 7, I think that type of game was more suited to Gilly’s skill-set. How good would it be seeing George Smith at 8 over Cliffy Palu in Melbourne by the way!

  • brumby runner

    Moore outshone Youngs to me. And the Lions’ scrum was only once dominant over the Wallabies. Not much between Robbo and Benny A in the scrum or around the park. Think you have under-rated the Wallabies front row.

    “Great work from the Irishman, lineouts especially.” Most of the Lions’ lineouts went directly to the second in line (and I do mean directly). I don’t recall O’Connell standing at second man, so can’t reconcile your comment or your rating. I think someone might be playing favourites here.

  • BF

    Some of you have to open your one eye, hooper put enormous pressure on at the breakdown he also was the wallaby top tackler with 16 only warburton did more with 17 and hooper was only openside for 47 mins, he also made great metres with game high 2 offloads. Gill on the other hand with 33 mins did not get a pilfer, did not force a penalty and only managed 1 tackle. Yes only 1!!! Gill has been involved in 9 tests and has never got a pilfer or forced a penalty.

  • Runner

    Where did you get those stats, if gill only made 1 tackle that’s unbelievable

  • BF

    Hi runner the stats are at this site

  • BF

    There’s also ratings for players using the Accenture analysis a combined best team was selected only 4 wallabies made the team Genia, Folau, Horwill Hooper

  • Goods

    Just had a look at those stats I would have said mowen had a good game but he made 8 tackles and missed 4 and turned the ball over once, also Gilly only 1 tackle, that really is very poor for 33 mins at openside, warburton 17 and hooper 16 tackles in 47 mins at openside.
    Surprising after involvement in 8 tests Gill has not made any pilfers and has won no penalties at the breakdown, if he wants to compete he will need to lift his work rate and add other skills to his offering. The greats like McCaw, Smith and newcomer hooper all have a complete skillset, that allows them to be involved in any type of game and with different team mates.

  • markjohnconley

    Time for Barnes and McCabe to think of their long-term health and consider retirement.
    Thought Douglas was the pick of the back 5, Genia incredible; and Deans, nice bloke, but surely there’s a better alternative, so many bad decisions/selections.

  • markjohnconley

    Think Mowen is an excellent S14 player, a big fan, but an 8?; and wouldn’t have given O’Connell 8 also, he had great service from Tom Youngs, who played well and got away with a bit at the lineout.

British & Irish Lions

Steve Timms, He likes watching the odd game of Rugby, occasionally writes about it.. Proud member of the original Mudchooks.

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