Simon Zebo, in the first half, would remind you of the nerd sitting at the front of class shouting out answers before everyone else, with his hand held up in the air, desperately stretching himself for attention.”Sir, Sir! Mr. Gatland look at me!” And attention he got and well deserved it was. His movement from wing to wing and back to reinforce the central attack was Trojan in its effort. His Lions debut almost had the perfect start with a try only for the TMO to point out the toe of his left boot had skidded over the touchline before he grounded the ball. Apart from the lethal qualities Zebo holds on attack he defended his wing quite well compared to Sean Maitland who seemed flat- footed and turned far too easily for Carter’s first try. In the second half Zebo seemed out of puff a bit and looked to be carrying his leg. He didn’t feature as often in the Lions attack but still defended his channel well and came across to put a last minute tackle in on Gilbert which followed with an Alun Wyn Jones turnover. Overall a good start for the young Cork man that may see him in a Test squad.
Just as Zebo stood out for his effort in the first half, the match as a whole seemed to belong to Davies. When you look at the stats you can truly appreciate his skills in midfield, that seemed to be lacking in previous tour outings. 3 line breaks and 13 individual runs culminated in a massive 168 metres made in the game. Finishing off with the last try of the game was the feather in Davies’ cap, so to speak. Indeed, with the injury to Roberts it looks like Davies may well take his place in a central partnership with BOD almighty.
Youngs, Croft and the Lions’ Line out.
Scott Quinnel seems to be making money just by highlighting the defects in the Tourist’s lineout, as well he should. With Paulie and the aforementioned Wyn Jones well able to handle the front and centre of the operation, the introduction of Croft makes an almost sure thing if the ball goes towards the tail. With either Parling or Grey likely to come off the bench for either lock the focus still remains on the miss- firing Hookers. Today Youngs put his hand up as the number 1 choice for the number 2 jersey. He is more prominent in the loose than Hibbard and just as much as Best. More importantly in my opinion, he is a better thrower of the ball than either of them. As an extension, I would say confidently that Gatland has discovered his front 5. The pack contributed to 3 scrum wins to 1 and 13 line out wins to 11, with2 steals. Gatland’s hardest choice will no doubt come in selecting his back row, either way big names will be left to the side but ideally, it’s a nice problem to have. For posterity’s sake, Warburton must start.
If there’s one man who is sure to start the games against the Wallabies it’s this man. He just can’t help but keep scoring. Today he racked up an all time Lions Tour single match record with 30 points. Rog held the previous record with 26. Not only was Halfpenny’s sniper accurate boot in great form, but he contributed 2 tries in the space 4 minutes at the end of the first half to give the Lions a comfortable half time lead. For the record and the class goes the Man of the Match award.