How the British and Irish Lions rated in the defeat by South Africa A

The British and Irish Lions suffered their first defeat of the tour when the lost 17-13 to a strong South Africa A side.The Test series against the world champion Springboks is due to begin in just 10 days’ time so who impressed for the Lions in a bruising encounter at the Cape Town Stadium?

The British and Irish Lions look dejected as they leave the field after their defeat against South Africa A. Picture: David Rogers/Getty Images

15. Liam Williams

Lasted just 14 minutes and had to be replaced by Elliot Daly following a head injury assessment. 6/10

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14. Anthony Watson

Chris Harris tries to burst through against the South African defence. Picture: Halden Krog/AP

Produced a try-saving tackle on S’bu Nkosi early on and prospered both under the high ball and in open play. 7

13. Chris Harris

Like most of his colleagues, the Scotland centre saw little of the ball in attacking play during the early blitz, but was instrumental in a major improvement thereafter. 6

12. Bundee Aki

Punched his weight as the Lions tried to take the game to South Africa ‘A’ after a difficult start. 6

11. Louis Rees-Zammit

Agonisingly short of the line when stretching out to try to give his side the lead and pinned Cheslin Kolbe on his own try-line with the screw turning. 6

10. Owen Farrell

Kicked poorly out of hand in the early stages and was charged down by Eben Etzebeth for the opening try on a night when he took several big hits, but kept going. 5

9. Conor Murray

Struggled to establish a relationship with his half-back partner early on, but gradually worked his way into the game. 6

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1. Wyn Jones

Forced an early scrum collapse from the South Africans and worked tirelessly in the loose, getting his rewards with a first Lions try before being forced off with a shoulder injury. 6

2. Ken Owens

Solid on his lineout throws and industrious in the forward battle to help the tourists claw their way back into the game. 6

3. Kyle Sinckler

Gave no quarter in a brutal front row battle and was never found wanting as the Lions pack hammered away deep inside the South African 22. 6

4. Maro Itoje

A constant nuisance at the breakdown and dominant at the lineout, he drove the Lions forward throughout. 7

5. Iain Henderson

Helped to turn the tide as the Lions’ maul started to make an impact and earn them a greater share of the ball. 6

6. Josh Navidi

As busy as ever in the heat of the back row scrap and made a series of telling surges forward. 6

7. Tom Curry

A thorn in South Africa ‘A”s side throughout as he foraged for the ball and repeatedly exploited the space ahead of him with ball in hand, and also charged down a Faf De Klerk kick. 8

8. Taulupe Faletau

Grew into the game as the Lions fought back and was an increasing threat with the ball in hand. 6

Replacements

An entirely new front row – including Scotland tighthead Zander Fagerson – freshened the Lions for the final assault, but it was Elliot Daly, who replaced the injured Williams early on, who caught the eye with a combination of committed defence, intelligent kicking and impressive line breaks.

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