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Last Updated: Monday, 11 July, 2005, 05:43 GMT 06:43 UK
End of tour report for the Lions
By Bryn Palmer

Sir Clive Woodward took a record 45-man playing squad to New Zealand.

But with Iain Balshaw withdrawing from the original party before departure and Malcolm O'Kelly and Simon Taylor forced out of the tour without playing a match, 48 players have donned the Lions jersey over the past six weeks.

Here we give our verdict on how each of them performed (with a rating out of 10).


FULL-BACKS

Lions back Josh Lewsey
Josh Lewsey scored two tries in an impressive tour

Josh Lewsey - 6 starts (3 Tests). 7
Showed his class early on and remained resolutely defiant despite being shunted around.

Geordan Murphy - 6 starts (1 Test). 6
Belatedly got a Test call after sharp, if not wholly convincing, outings for second string.

Jason Robinson - 4 starts (2 Tests). 4
Tour to forget. Dropped for first time in union after lack of form exposed in first Test.

WINGS

Mark Cueto (Pre-tour replacement) - 4 starts (1 Test), 1 rep. 6
Off the radar after early start but patience and form rewarded with final Test outing.

Denis Hickie - 4 starts. 5
Never got into Test contention but grafted well for midweek side without great reward.

Shane Horgan - 1 start, 6 reps (3 Tests). 6
Only given one chance to prove worth but strong displays off bench when called upon.

Gareth Thomas - 4 starts (3 Tests). 7
Showed finishing nous with tries and character shone through leading side in adversity.

Shane Williams - 4 starts (1 Test). 6
Size a handicap in big games but attacking flair and six tries a joy against lesser lights.

CENTRES

Gordon D'Arcy - 4 starts, 2 reps. 4 Picked on 2004 form and despite improving as tour progressed, failed to recapture it.

Will Greenwood - 4 starts (1 Test), 1 rep (1 Test). 5
Finally played in a Lions Test on third tour, but experience not enough to mask demise.

Gavin Henson - 4 starts (1 Test). 6
Victim of selection folly, handed Test chance too late, ended tour dazed and confused.

Brian O'Driscoll - 4 starts (1 Test). 5
Try apart, captain failed to show true class before tour ended in controversial fashion.

Tom Shanklin - 2 starts, 1 rep. 7
Impressed in early games, would surely have featured in Tests but for untimely injury.

Ollie Smith - 3 starts, 1 rep. 5
Didn't do enough to challenge for Tests but invaluable experience despite rib injury.

FLY-HALVES

Charlie Hodgson - 4 starts. 7
Ended tour concussed but orchestrated several midweek victories. The form fly-half.

Stephen Jones - 3 starts (2 Tests), 2 reps (1 Test). 5
Always on the back foot in the big matches and struggled to lift the siege around him.

Ronan O'Gara - 2 starts, 5 reps (1 Test). 6
Superb tactical kicking proved vital on occasion but defensive weakness hindered him.

Jonny Wilkinson - 3 starts (2 Tests). 5
Pitched into thick of it without enough games and struggled to exert his old authority.

SCRUM-HALVES

Gareth Cooper - 1 start, 2 reps. 3
A peripheral figure with barely two halves of rugby, and one of those was forgettable.

Chris Cusiter
Cusiter was third-choice scrum-half behind Peel and Dawson

Chris Cusiter - 3 starts, 2 reps. 7
Three strong outings and unlucky not to feature more, the Scot can be proud of his tour.

Matt Dawson - 2 starts, 4 reps (2 Tests). 6
Commendable contribution with limited game time; at combative best when called upon.

Dwayne Peel - 5 starts (3 Tests). 7
Maintained Six Nations form and emerged with credit after nailing down Test spot.

PROPS

John Hayes - 4 starts. 4
Struggled against mediocre opposition but kept battling for cause despite limitations.

Gethin Jenkins - 5 starts (3 Tests), 2 reps. 7
Heavily involved and confirmed his arrival as top-class prop by playing all three Tests.

Graham Rowntree - 3 starts, 2 reps (2 Tests). 6
Strong scrummaging from veteran earned him Test bench spot ahead of younger rivals.

Andrew Sheridan - 2 starts, 3 reps. 6
Could have been a potent Test weapon if not for untimely ankle injury. Showed promise.

Matt Stevens - 3 starts, 3 reps. 4
Struggled to assert himself when might have been expected to challenge. Disappointing.

Julian White - 5 starts (3 Tests). 5
Started all the Tests but failed to find sufficient power to trouble All Blacks. Frustrating.

HOOKERS

Gordon Bulloch - 4 starts, 2 reps (1 Test). 6
Led midweekers well three times; unlucky to only make brief appearance in final Test 22 after committed displays.

Shane Byrne - 3 starts (2 Tests), 3 reps (1 Test). 5
Got Test nod for line-out accuracy but horror show in Christchurch coloured his tour.

Steve Thompson - 2 starts (1 Test), 3 reps (1 Test). 6
Welcome return to buccaneering best in second Test. Good sign after recent troubles.

Andy Titterrell - 2 starts, 1 rep. 4
Started and ended as fourth-choice hooker. Struggled at line-out, a learning experience.

LOCKS

Brent Cockbain (Replacement) - 2 reps. 6
Late summons to replace Grewcock, enjoyed two robust halves as midweek replacement.

Danny Grewcock - 2 starts, 2 reps (1 Test). 4
Banned for third time in New Zealand, this time for biting. Indiscipline cost a Test spot.

Ben Kay - 4 starts (1 Test). 4
Lacklustre form exposed in dismal first Test, and punch in the eye capped a sorry tour.

Donncha O'Callaghan - 6 starts (2 Tests). 7
Quiet industry and impressive maturity allowed him to claim Test spot as others wilted.

Paul O'Connell - 5 starts (3 Tests). 6
Mixed bag. Showed he had the heart for the fight but indiscipline proved costly in Tests.

Simon Shaw (Replacement) - 5 starts. 6
Sterling efforts after early call to replace O'Kelly. Unfortunate not to make Test squad.

BACK-ROW

Neil Back - 2 starts (1 Test), 1 rep. 5
Awarded Test place after one tour outing, but unhappy end to great career when he was dropped.

Martin Corry - 4 starts (1 Test), 4 reps (2 Tests). 6
Bore the heaviest load of anyone and paid for it with Test place despite leadership role.

Lawrence Dallaglio - 1 start. 7
Losing the great warrior so early was a crippling blow. Left a huge void in leadership.

Simon Easterby
Easterby was one of the star players despite his late arrival

Simon Easterby (Replacement) - 4 starts (2 Tests), 1 rep. 8
Surprise choice to replace Dallaglio but enhanced his reputation with stirring defiance.

Richard Hill - 3 starts (1 Test). 5
Serious injury ill-fitting end to Lions career. Strong opening but struggled to stem tide.

Ryan Jones (Replacement) - 3 starts (2 Tests), 1 rep (1 Test). 8
Starring role on debut against Otago catapulted him into Test side. Strong and intelligent.

Lewis Moody - 4 starts (2 Tests). 6
Pity injury prevented him challenging for first Test spot. Earned his spurs in adversity.

Michael Owen - 5 starts, 1 rep. 5
Handling skills shone at times but impact diminished as bigger tests overwhelmed him.

Jason White (Replacement) - 1 start. 6
Late summons, can at least call himself a Lion after 54 minutes of toil against Auckland.

Martyn Williams - 6 starts, 1 rep (1 Test). 6
Impressed with his graft and energy but struggled with physicality of breakdown battle.




LIONS TOUR 2005

ALL BLACKS WHITEWASH LIONS




VOTE RESULTS
What was the main reason for the Lions' whitewash in NZ?
All Blacks just too good
58%
Woodward's selections
30%
Injuries to key players
6%
Squad was too big
6%
97190 Votes Cast
Results are indicative and may not reflect public opinion

Vote now closed



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