Lions tour: How the NZ Maori and Lions rated in Rotorua

DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES MARK TAYLOR/FAIRFAX NZ MARK TAYLOR FAIRFAX NZ DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES DAVID ROGERS/GETTY IMAGES GETTY IMAGES Hannah Peters GETTY PHOTOSPORT PHOTOSPORT MARK TAYLOR FAIRFAX NZ MARK TAYLOR FAIRFAX NZ MARK TAYLOR FAIRFAX NZ

Taulupe Faletau of the Lions is hauled down short of the tryline.

James Lowe of the NZ Maori catches a high ball during the clash with the Lions at Rotorua.

Lions' head coach Warren Gatland looks on during the clash with the NZ Maori in Rotorua.

Charlie Ngatai of the NZ Maori cleans up the loose ball under pressure from Anthony Watson of the Lions.

Nehe Milner-Skudder is tackled during a charge.

Leigh Halfpenny of the Lions kicks a penalty during the match with the NZ Maori at Rotorua.

Ben Te'o of the Lions runs with the ball.

George North of the Lions gets away.

Liam Messam scores for the NZ Maori.

The teams wait for the ball during a scrum during their clash at Rotorua.

Maro Itoje of the Lions is tackled by Liam Messam.

Johnny Sexton is grabbed by Akira Ioane after a break.

NZ Maori perform the Haka prior to the match with the Lions in Rotorua.

Hika Elliot fires up as he leads a cracking NZ Maori haka.

The NZ Maori lay down the challenge with a spine-tingling haka.

A moments silence for the victims of the London apartment fire.

A traditional welcome for the Lions at Rotorua International Stadium.

Lions fans Rick Eastment and Darren Pooell support their team.

A packed Rotorua International Stadium.

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Our rugby writers rate the players from Saturday night's match:

NEW ZEALAND MAORI

James Lowe 5: Slammed his first kick out on the full and shelled a second half bomb, but made a crucial try-saving tackle on Conor Murray.  Better on the wing.

Nehe Milner-Skudder looked good after his recent injury woes.
ANDREW CORNAGA/PHOTOSPORT

Nehe Milner-Skudder looked good after his recent injury woes.

Nehe Milner-Skudder 7:  Confident enough after his recent injury battles. Deft little kick led to Liam Messam's try. Starved of ball thereafter by an impressive Lions defence.

Matt Proctor 6: Tenacious in the tackle; sad to see his night end early with a shoulder injury after collision with Leigh Halfpenny.

Charlie Ngatai 6: The Chiefs stalwart defended doggedly but wouldn't be happy with the Lions' midfield line breaks.Showed guile to launch a late first half attack which should have resulted in points.  

Rieko Ioane 5: Nervous start by the test tyro, shelling a Conor Murray kick. No chance on attack but no threat yet  to Julian Savea's test jersey yet.

Sean O'Brien was immense for the Lions and it would take a big call to drop him for Sam Warburton.
GETTY

Sean O'Brien was immense for the Lions and it would take a big call to drop him for Sam Warburton.

Damian McKenzie 5: Goalkicking was good, but field kicking patchy. The Lions' line speed gave him little space to strut his stuff on attack. Smacked back by Ben Te'o. Skills more suited to fullback.

Tawera Kerr-Barlow 5: His pass lacked its usual crispness, mad charge through a ruck to cough up a penalty and sinbinned for a no-arms tackle. Did make two-try saving first half but the Lions scored two tries with him in the bin.

Liam Messam 6: The Maori team's Koro nailed the game's first try with some soccer skills on the slick surface. Worked hard at the breakdown in a beaten pack.

Lions first-five eighth Johnny Sexton caused the NZ Maori all sorts of problems with his running game.
GETTY IMAGES

Lions first-five eighth Johnny Sexton caused the NZ Maori all sorts of problems with his running game.

Elliot Dixon 6:  Not a natural opensider, but brave enough. Top tackle to force  turnover from Taulupe Faletau.

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Akira Ioane 8: The tough backrower hit hard in the tackle but hardly got the ball in hand due to the Lions' dominance. The Maori's best.

Tom Franklin 6:  Sound at the lineout and saved a try with a goal-line block on big Jamie George.

Joe Wheeler 5:  Another buried in the tight and rarely sighted in open play.

Ben May 6: Solid enough on his side of the scrum and played plenty of minutes.

Ash Dixon 6: Led a spine-chilling haka with aplomb and tried gamely, but lacked the size to make an impact against the British and Irish behemoths. 

Kane Hames 5: Committed at the cleanout but lucky not to get a yellow card before buckling in the scrum that led to the penalty try. Monstered by Lions tighthead Tadhg Furlong. 

RESERVES

Chris Eves 5: Replacement loosehead prop got a turnover to stop the Lions in their tracks.

Marcel Renata 5: Only got 10 minutes but made big tackle on Kyle Sinckler.

Rob Thompson 6: Replaced an injured Proctor, made one timely turnover tackle, but hardly had the ball in his mitts.

NOT RATED: Hika Elliot, Leighton Price, Kara Pryor, Bryn Hall, Ihaia West.

- TONY SMITH

READ MORE
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Maori haka's misty symbolism
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BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS

Leigh Halfpenny 8.5: Punished NZ Maori's ill-discipline by kicking six penalties. It's hardly exciting, but he still hasn't missed a shot at goal this tour.

Anthony Watson 6.5: Not a lot of ball went his way as the Lions went up the middle and kicked for territory. Chased a barrage of high balls. 

Jonathan Davies 7.5: Dragged an inch short of the try-line in the first half. Went looking for work and combined well with Sexton and Te'o. 

Ben Te'o 7.5: Pretty well contained until he busted the NZ Maori open late in the match. A tough man to bring down. Looks certain to start the first test next weekend. 

George North 6: Made a meal of a kick inside his own 22m which led to the NZ Maori's only try. 

Johnny Sexton 8: Ran the ball to the line - with the ball in two hands - to cause the home side all sorts of problems. Also strong on defence and read the game well. 

Conor Murray 8: Nobody in world rugby can execute the box-kick as well as the Irishman. Chalked up plenty of metres off his right-boot and repeatedly turned the NZ Maori around. 

Taulupe Faletau 7: Quiet night by the big man's standards with ball in hand, but huge on defence and involved in a couple of big mauls. 

Sean O'Brien 8.5: Part of a loose forward trio which helped shut the home side out of the game. Immense at the breakdown. 

Peter O'Mahony 7.5: Led the team well and wasn't afraid to go for the kill when the NZ Maori were reduced to 14 men. 

George Kruis 7: Reliable at lineout time and more than willing to get his mitts on the ball and ram it into contact. 

Maro Itoje 7.5: Hot headed and at times silly. Cost his team three points after he turned the ball over in a maul and then wouldn't give the ball to the home side. Redeemed himself by diving over for a try in the second half. Good at lineout time. 

Tadhg Furlong 7.5: His face said it all after the Lions stomped the NZ Maori scrum. Subbed after a fine 64 minutes. 

Jamie George 7.5: Pinpoint accurate with his lineout throwing. Part of a pack which was all over the home team. 

Mako Vunipola 8: Beast of a man on defence (10 tackles). Also instrumental in the penalty try the Lions were awarded on the back of their dominant scrum.

RESERVES

Jack McGrath 7: Huge luxury to come on for the final 21 minutes after his team had already smacked the home side's into submission. 

Kyle Sinckler 6.5: Came on with16 minutes to play. Scrum didn't miss a beat after his injection. 

Iain Henderson 7: Good 20 minutes off the bench after replacing Kruis. Lineout finished 11/11 on own throw. 

Sam Warburton 6.5: Got 17 minutes off the bench. Would take a big call for Warren Gatland to start him over Sean O'Brien in the first test. 

NOT RATED: Greg Laidlaw, Dan Biggar, Ken Owens, Elliot Daly.

- ROBERT VAN ROYEN

 - Stuff

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