The British & Irish Lions started their 2013 tour with a bang by beating the Barbarians by 59 points to 8 on a hot and sticky evening in Hong Kong.
Mike Phillips and Alex Cuthbert grabbed the headlines with two tries each. Paul O’Connell scored the first try of the tour, and Jonathan Davies, Dan Lydiate and Alun Wyn Jones also scored tries on the night, with Owen Farrell and Jonny Sexton adding 19 points between them from the boot.
Kahn Fotuali’l scored the Barbarians only try following an excellent step and break from the impressive former All Black Joe Rokocoko.
Difficult conditions made ball handling tricky, but the Lions scored a number of tries late in the game when the Barbarians defence was tiring in the heat.
Stand out performances from the welsh trio Mike Phillips, Jonathan Davies and Adam Jones helped the Lions to put on show for the 25,000 odd fans in Hong Kong.
Joe Rokocoko was unlucky to end the evening without a score from his hard work as the outstanding performer for the Barbarians, but it was all about the Lions on the night and their power when on the front foot.
All in all, it was a good work out for the Lions. Some good performances from the expected test starters and some good performances off the bench.
Lions Head Coach Warren Gatland talking to Sky said “The conditions were very tough and we missed three or four opportunities in the first half. But we kept going. The players said the ball was like a bar of soap, but they kept their composure after a rusty start.
“To kick off like that keeps momentum and puts pressure on those players who were not involved today. That’s what you want as a coach. It’s a nice platform.”
The Lions will be pleased that they didn’t lose anybody to injury and now board a plane tomorrow morning to fly to Perth ahead of their match on Wednesday against Western Force.
Live Score Updates
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14:30 Jonny Sexton from ten yards in misses to make it one from four conversions for the Irishman. Final score 8-59 to the Lions.
14:30 And the Lions are still knocking at the door… and Alun Wyn Jones breaks through for another try!
14:30 Time’s up for the Lions so this is the last play…
14:25 Third time lucky for Jonathan Sexton from the right hand touchline. 8-54
14:25 A big drive from the Lions pack and they rumble over for the try. Dan Lydiate emerges as the man who put the ball down.
14:20 Ten minutes to go and with a bench full of replacements on for both sides, the game is getting a little bitty. A few breakaway scores as a result of some tired defending the difference for the Lions.
14: 20 Sexton misses the conversion again, but again from right out by the right touchline.
14:15 Alex Cuthbert adds a second try to his collection after a nice break from Conor Murray. Murray has a hard act to follow replacing Mike Phillips, but he’s started well since he’s come on.
14:15 George North is now also on in place of Jamie Roberts.
14:10 Alun Wyn Jones and Jamie Heaslip now on the field for the Lions.
14:10 Sexton misses the conversion from the right hand touchline. 8-42
14:05 And another try for the Lions from Alex Cuthbert from a turnover off Parisse.
14:05 Sexton converts to make it 8-37.
14:00 The Lions respond with a try of their own through Jonathan Davies which is verified by the TMO.
14:00 Quick drinks break and the half back pairing from the Lions have been replaced by Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton.
14:00 Excellent try from the Barbarians. A good break from Rokocoko, who puts in Fotuali’i for the score. Evans misses the conversion. 8-30
14:00 A few replacements now on for the Lions. Complete front row change with Tom Youngs, Matt Stevens and Cian Healy all on.
13:55 Excellent attacking move from the Lions from their own 22 right up to the Baa Baas try line with Farrell’s final pass just being swiped down by the last man. Great move from the Lions.
13:50 Good break from Justin Tipuric who is stopped just short of the line by Joe Rokocoko. Attacking scrum under the posts for the Lions.
13:50 Mike Phillips is already putting his hand up for test selection. Excellent ball steal from him to add to his two tries so far and only just falling short of a third at the start of the match. Excellent 45 mins from him so far.
13:45 Farrell steps up and converts well from the touchline. 3-30
13:45 Phillips makes another try scoring break exploiting a huge hole in the Baa Baas defence off the back of the line out. Simple stuff!
13:40 So we’re back under way again with the Barbarians kicking off.
13:30 Farrell kicks another penalty on the stroke of half time to lead 3-23 at the break.
13:25 Paul James is getting hammered by Adam Jones in the scrum. That doesn’t bode well for his Lions standby chances.
13:20 The conditions are pretty telling already. The players look like they’ve been out there for hours, not 30 minutes!
13:15 Excellent break from Mike Phillips again and this time does score on his own. Excellent solo effort, although it was an uncharacteristically poor attempt at a tackle from Sergio Parisse. Farrell converts to make it 3-20.
13:15 Owen Farrell kicks the conversion to make it 3 -13.
13:10 Phillips stopped just short of the line and Paul O’Connell dives over the top to touchdown, but Steve Walsh heads upstairs to the TMO who gives the try!
13:10 Some scrappy play from both sides, but that’s understandable given the conditions. The Lions probably have the edge slightly, no tries as yet,
13:00 Another good scrum from the Lions and Adam Jones in particular opposite his Wales colleague Paul James. Farrell lines it up and this time dissects the posts to make it 3-6.
12:55 Elliott Daly kicks a long range penalty to even up the scores at 3-3. Time for a drinks break.
12:55 Scrum penalty for the Lions which Farrell kicks at goal but hooks it and misses.
12:50 Great break for the Lions with Sean Maitland tearing after the ball but unfortunately knocking on just short of the line.
12:45 Unnecessary punch on Owen Farrell from his Saracens team mate Schalk Brits which results in a yellow card for the South African.
12:40 Decent enough start from the Lions, good tackle on Stuart Hogg from Casey Laulala, but the Lions win a penalty in Farrells range which he kicks for the first points on the board.
12: 35 Here we go then, Owen Farrell of the Lions gets us under way.
12:30 OK so the teams are coming out, the waiting is very nearly over, just five mins till kick off in Hong Kong.
12.25: The other thing you can do is head to our forum at www.lions-tour-extra.com where there will be quite some discussion going on before, during and after.
12:20: If you want to get involved then easiest way to do so is to either leave your comments in the section below or contact us on twitter @robinsfund and we’ll publish the best comments.
12:05: First thing to tell you is that kick off is delayed by five minutes because the Lions were late to arrive at the ground having been stuck in traffic.
12.00: OK, so here we go then, the first game on the 2013 tour and the first time we’re doing these live score updates through the games. We’re not the BBC, Twitter etc, so in order to see my updates you’ll need to refresh every now and again to see everything as it happens, but hopefully our British spirit will make up for our technological shortcomings!