A combined starting XV from the All Blacks vs Lions series

Adam Julian Roar Guru

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    The series was drawn, but who would make a combined a starting XV based on form across the three Tests?

    Looking at positions 1-15 through an individual prism, this series is hard to split.

    15. Liam Williams
    Started every Test, by contrast the All Blacks employed three fullbacks. Sparked one of the great tries in the first Test at Eden Park. Had a few jitters in the decider, but a very good series overall.

    14. Anthony Watson
    Withstood Sonny Bill Williams’ forearm in Wellington and looked lively with every touch. Solid defensively.

    13. Jonathan Davies
    Almost scored in the first five minutes of the series with a piercing dash. Resolute on defence and always threatening on attack. Did Davies make an error in 240 minutes?

    12. Ngani Laumape
    Owen Farrell kicked some crucial goals, but Laumape rose to the undermanned challenge in Wellington and is far more damaging overall.

    11. Rieko Ioane
    Elliot Daily kicked a brilliant penalty in the third Test, but Ioane scored two tries in the All Blacks’ only win which shows massive promise for a youngster.

    10. Beauden Barrett
    Creates so many chances with his searing pace and audacity.

    9. Connor Murray
    Pinpoint box kicks and scored the winning try in the second Test. Aaron Smith had a strong series, but Murray at present is the best in the business in the nine jersey.

    8. Toby Faletau
    Scored a vital try in the second Test and worked like a trojan throughout.

    7. Sean O’Brien
    Scored a classic try in the first Test. Immense defensively and a stronger presence with ball in hand than Sam Cane.

    6. Sam Warburton
    A sluggish start to the tour, but grew in stature with every appearance. By contrast Jerome Kaino appears to be living on borrowed time after a great career.

    All Blacks British and Irish Lions Rugby Union 2017

    (AP Photo/Mark Baker)

    5. Maro Itoje
    A huge presence for a youngster. Will be the future captain of England.

    4. Brodie Retallick
    An absolute machine, Retallick remains the gold standard for locks.

    3. Owen Franks
    Tadhg Furlong didn’t quite live up to the hype. Franks is a real survivor.

    2. Codie Taylor
    A few blemishes in the lineouts, but steady in the scrums and dynamic around the field. Jamie George had a really good tour to. These two hookers will duel again.

    1. Joe Moody
    Out scrimmaged the much vaunted Tadhg Furlong and appears set for a long tenure in the black jersey.

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