British & Irish Lions player ratings vs Japan | 2021 Lions series
The British & Irish Lions players ratings, brought to you by The Famous Grouse
Steve Borthwick’s side were aiming to become the fifth club in the history of European competition to win both the Heineken Champions Cup and the Challenge Cup, but it wasn’t to be.
Borthwick captained Bath to Challenge Cup success in the 2008 final against Worcester Warriors and was also on the losing side for the Gallagher Premiership club in the 2003 and 2007 finals. Tigers were the 26th different club to reach the final and ultimately failed to become the 17th name on the trophy.
LEICESTER TIGERS PLAYER RATINGS:
15 FREDDIE STEWARD – 8
The rangey full-back has enjoyed something of a breakout season at Welford Road and was probably Leicester’s standout back in the first half.
14 GUY PORTER – NA
Went off following a nasty head clash care of an accidental knee contact, with just 19 minutes played.
13 MATÍAS MORONI – 7
Failed to deal with a remarkably well-taken kick and collect from Vincent Rattez for MHR’s first try, but it may have been his only defensive lapse.
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12 DAN KELLY – 6
Some huge tackling set the standard in the Tigers midfield. The odd flash but failed to really spark in attack, even if it wasn’t that type of game.
11 NEMANI NADOLO – 7.5
Fascinating to see Nadolo go up against his former teammates. Saw precious little ball in the first half and any he did get was scrappy. Was brought closer to the action in the second, deployed as a first receiver off set-piece and was a constant problem for Montpellier to solve.
10 GEORGE FORD – 7
Ford’s strategy was clear: kick the leather off the ball whenever it was an option, force and then play off any reception mistakes and maul MHR to death off lineouts. There’d been a lot of hype around Ford’s devilish spiral kicks, but for the most part, Montpellier handled the numerous grenades lobbed in their direction. Relentless.
9 RICHARD WIGGLESWORTH – 6
Wigglesworth’s inclusion ahead of Ben Youngs raised some eyebrows pre-game but his no-frills service was the sensible accompaniment to Ford’s boot-a-thon.
1 ELLIS GENGE – 6
After a huge performance last weekend, the fired-up loosehead gave as good as he got but was kept relatively quiet.
2 TOM YOUNGS (C) – 7
The grizzled brain stem of Leicester’s brawny pack, the 34-year-old hooker functioning like a front row version of the erstwhile Leicester back row legend Neil Back, burrowing his way around the back of every Leicester maul.
3 DAN COLE – 6
The veteran tighthead provided a solid platform for Tigers’ attack and did his job throughout.
4 HARRY WELLS – 8
Despite both Wells and Green tipping the scale around the 120kg mark, but they looked relatively lithe in comparison to their French opposition. Yet Montpellier struggled to contain Tigers’ mauling game, with Wells a central figure. Showed street smarts to force his way over in the 34th minute.
5 CALUM GREEN – 7.5
Hassled and harried Montpellier and he and Wells certainly won their unit battle with the giant Paul Willemse and Florian Verhaeghe.
6 HANRO LIEBENBERG – 5
A relatively low-key performance from the big blindside, which was much more about matching the French in the grunt stakes. Will rue a few errors and the borderline holding-on call care of referee Andrew Brace.
7 CYLE BRINK – NA
A few spills with ball-in-hand, the big South African was injured and replaced by Tommy Reffell after just 28 minutes.
8 JASPER WIESE – 6
Maybe the form forward in the Gallagher Premiership, the boys of the MHR presented a sterner physical test than the average Gallagher Premiership outing. Trucked the ball up aggressively for plenty of metres and was good value for his second-half try, but his ball security let him down more than once.
KINI MURIMURIVALU – 7
An early fumble aside. the Fijian was industrious on both sides of the ball, a brilliant 56-minute turnover standing out.
TOMMY REFFELL – 7
Leicester looked more balanced with Reffell on. Brought the turnover nuisance factor.
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