In Depth

Lions tour: Why Jonathan Davies deserves man of the series

The Wales centre was voted the star of the show by his peers - and the rugby writers agree

As the dust settles on three seismic Tests between the British & Irish Lions and the All Blacks in New Zealand, centre Jonathan Davies has been crowned the man of the series.

The Welsh centre won after a vote within the squad - and most experts believe the players got it right.

"The Welshman sewed up the players' player of the tour gong following a vote in the wake of Saturday's series-decider," says Charlie Morgan of the Daily Telegraph. "And the third Test had undoubtedly showcased the qualities that earned Davies the respect of his squadmates in New Zealand."

Davies was huge in attack and defence, says Morgan, and there could be more to come.

"Having turned 29 in April, Jonathan Davies is one of a handful of players including Sam Warburton who have a chance of completing the Lions set by touring South Africa in 2021… He has proved himself as a 'Test match animal' - to use Sir Ian McGeechan’s phrase - at the heart of two unbeaten series. History, and his teammates, will certainly remember him."

Davies is the highest scoring Lion in a ranking by the Daily Mail, scoring nine out of ten for his performances. He gave the tourists "a complete visionary performance in both attack and defence", says the paper.

The rugby writers at The Times are also unanimous in naming Davies as their player of the series. Among them is former All Black Andrew Mehrtens, who says the Welshman brought "penetration, aggressive defence, and skill in an area where the All Blacks consider themselves to be the world leaders". 

In The Guardian, Nick Evans, another former New Zealand star, also picks Davies. "He came in under the radar, he was against inexperienced centres but he was the dominant centre throughout the tour. In contact his evasion skills were excellent, he’s got a brilliant left foot and he looked like a real leader out there."

However, there are other candidates, with Sam Warburton winning over Andy Bull and Maro Itoje getting the nod from Robert Kitson and Gerard Meagher.

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