The ACT Brumbies inflicted the first defeat on the British & Irish Lions on the 2013 tour of Australia with a 14-12 win in Canberra on Tuesday.
The Lions suffered at the hands of an organised and committed Brumbies side who bossed the breakdown and caused the Lions all sort of problems in the forward pack.
All the talk ahead of the match was that the Lions back line would struggle but the forwards should be able to set the platform for the Lions backs to have a go, but it was the complete opposite of that in the heat of the battle.
The Lions forward pack were all over the place at the set piece. The lineout was a complete disaster. Not just in the throwing from Rory Best, but also the control in securing their own ball. The breakdown was a complete mess with the Lions getting turned over repeatedly, and then getting pinged for holding on time and again.
The Lions did not have any real field position and it was no surprise that the Lions were staring down the barrel of a nil score line at half time, but their blushes were spared by a Stuart Hogg penalty right on the stroke of the break.
Andy Farrell gave the boys a rocket at half time and it was a good test of the Lions character as to how they would respond after half time, but no soon er had they come back on to the field had they won a line out and Best fired it in not straight again.
The Brumbies took the initiative and pushed their lead out further with a couple of penalties from the boot of Jesse Mogg.
The Lions responded by bringing on a raft of replacements and the intensity completely changed. The scrum started go forwards and line out were secured and you could sense the panic growing in the Brumbies ranks.
Owen Farrell kicked a couple of vital penalties to bring the Lions within two points with just under 10 minutes to go.
The Lions piled on the pressure, but they were let down again by their play at the breakdown allowing the Brumbies to clear. A series of scrums from a Lions free kick looked like it might winy them the penalty they would need to win the match, but the Brumbies secured the ball and punted up field.
The ball never came back into Lions possession and the Brumbies booted the ball out on the hooter to secure a famous win.
British & Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland said “I am disappointed because we came here on the right track and the momentum was going, and we have taken a bit of a backward step after a good performance on Saturday against the Waratahs. They put us under pressure at the set piece. We had a couple of not straights and some overthrows. They are things that happen when under pressure and we have to work on that.”
“It’s disappointing. The Brumbies played well and put us under pressure at the breakdown. No excuses, the first half was not good enough and we got what we deserved. Our breakdown was disappointing. I was disappointed with the intensity in the first half. ”
The Lions now move on to Brisbane for the first test against the Wallabies on Saturday.
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12:25 Fantastic win for the Brumbies. They are absolutely delighted, and rightly so given their performance over the 80 minutes. An decent response from the Lions in the last twenty minutes, but the Brumbies fully deserved the victory.
12:25 The Brumbies secure the scrum and kick it out and it’s all over! The Brumbies win 14-12.
12:20 The Brumbies retain the ball and get the free kick, its a scrum to the Brumbies with 10 seconds to go.
12:20 The Lions go for a quick line out but it doesn’t go five metres and the Brumbies have possession in the Lions half with under two minutes left on the clock. They pack down for the scrum slowly. The Brumbies retain the ball and they run the clock down as much as possible. One minute to go…
12:20 Big scrum from the Brumbies and they steal the ball under immense pressure to clear their lines. 3 mins to go.
12:20 The Brumbies delay the throw and the Lions get a free kick and they go from the scrum.
12:15 Powerful rolling maul from the Lions 10 metres out. The Lions are hammering away at the Brumbies line, but the Lions get pinged again for holding on. Mogg clears to just inside their own 22.
12:15 The Lions are sensing they are going to win this now. The Brumbies are under pressure and making little mistakes. six minutes to go and the Lions are piling on the pressure.
12:10 Beautiful kick from Rob Kearney who makes 70 metres or so and wins the territory. Richie Gray spoils the line out and the Lions win the penalty. Farrell is right there and wants the kick to bring the Lions within two points with 9 minutes to go. He lines it up and whacks it straight through. 14-12
12:10 Simon Zebo is on for Shane Williams.
12:10 Bit of a kicking duel which the Brumbies win with a great kick to touch inside the Lions 22 from Toomua.
12:05 Once again the Lions concede the penalty at the breakdown when on the attack to release the pressure. There are 15 minutes to go and whilst the tide is with the Lions, they are still five points behind so don’t need to be letting off the pressure unnecessarily.
12:05 There is quite a shift in the intensity of the Lions since the replacements are on and the Brumbies get pinged for not rolling away. Farrell is champing at the bit for the kick and it sails through. 14-9 The comeback is on.
12:00 Conor Murray, Owen Farrell and Geoff Parling are on. The Lions defaintely do want to win this and they have the player on to do that now.
12:00 Stuart Hogg bangs it off the post again and comes back into play. The Brumbies clear.
12:00 Couple of scrums to get the Lions front row right into the action from the word go. Brilliant scrum from the Lions and they win the clear penalty and suddenly the Lions have a platform from which to play.
12:00 Full set of front row replacements on for the Lions and Dan Lydiate on for O’Brien. They clearly do want to win this game.
11:55 At last, some success at the breakdown. kick up field from Kearney which he chases, the ball goes to ground in the tackle and Sean O’Brien is right in the thick of things and wins the penalty. Hogg makes the kick and it’s 14-6.
11:50 Ryan Grant gives away a cheap penalty on the Lions own drive for wrestling with the Brumbies props head. Jesse Mogg steps up to kick from the left touchline and perfectly dissects the posts. 14-3
11:50 Big scrum from the Brumbies and they drive the Lions back over their own ball. Huge moment for the Aussie crowd!
11:50 The TMO is checking the tackle on Hogg as a suspect spear tackle but there’s nothing really in it. The TMO confirms all is OK.
11:45 Some inspiration is needed from somewhere. The Brumbies are tackling like demons. Brilliant tackles flying in on Williams and Hogg and the Brumbies are all over the breakdown.
11:40 The Brumbies are on the attack and the Lions concede another penalty at the breakdown in front of their own posts. Mogg lines it up and bangs it through to lead 11-3
11:40 Good run down the wing from Wade and is tackled a bit high. The referee checks with the TMO, and the penalty is given about 30 metres out. The Lions have gone for the line out?!? Big call given Bests throwing so far… and they’ve lost it again!
11:40 Another not straight line out from Best. Not good.
11:35 Stuart Hogg gets us under way again for the second half and what a big half this needs to be from the Lions.
11:30 From the forum: “Fearing the worst at the moment. The Lions have no continuity whatsoever and we are most definitely losing the kicking game as well as being beaten at the breakdown. The line out is not really functioning and can’t see where we are going to get back into this. Maybe the bench?” Shevkio
11:25 Extremely difficult half for the Lions. A deserved lead at half time for the Brumbies and Warren Gatland is going to have his work cut out to address some of the glaring problems in the forward if the Lions are going to have any chance of keeping up their 100% winning record.
11:25 The half time hooter goes with the Lions on the attack from the restart and the Lions hammer at the Brumbies defence. Peter Kimlin gives away the penalty for a shot at goal to ensure the Lions don’t go in at half time scoreless. Hogg lines it up and makes the kick. 8-3 at half time.
11:20 The Lions give away another very cheap penalty inside their own half at the 22 clearance. This time Jesse Mogg steps up and he finally makes a kick, one from four. 8-0 with a minute till half time.
11:20 The Brumbies win another panelty for not releasing at the breakdown. Ian Prior steps up to have a go at kicking the penalty and also misses again. 5-0
11:15 Another dreadful line out throw from Rory Best and the Lions are really hurting themselves. The set piece isn’t good enough and given the problems in the back line, they really need their forwards to start performing at the breakdown and set piece.
11:15 Long range penalty attempt for The Brumbies full back Jesse Mogg. The distance was good, but he was just wide. Still 5-0
11:10 Approaching the half hour mark and the Lions are still scoreless. An excellent defensive effort from the Brumbies and they have had a number of decent attacking opportunities as a result of the unstable Lions set piece.
11:05 Good break from the Brumbies from try scorer Kurindrani and they fall just short of the line and the Brumbies eventually knock the ball on.
11:00 Stuart Hogg hits the post and comes back into into play. The Brumbies clear to touch.
11:00 Good attacking pressure for the Lions and the penalty is given for the Brumbies pulling down the maul. The Lions line up the three point kick much to the grumbles in the crowd.
11:00 Another poor line out from the Lions losing their own ball for the third out of five times. Worrying signs for the Lions set piece.
10:55 Good rolling maul from the Lions marching the Brumbies backwards, the ball comes free and Hogg gives an inside ball to Wade but he knocks on.
10:55 The Lions have good ball, but excellent defence from the The Brumbies keeps pushing the Lions back. Not a great start from the Lions who were always expected to have one or two issues in the back line.
10:50 Ben Youngs makes a nuisance of himself at the scrum, the Lions collect the ball and kick down field into the Brumbies 22.
10:45 Stuart Hogg takes the restart but kicks it straight into touch.
10:45 Try for the Brumbies. Some good attacking pressure from The Brumbies and Ben Youngs kicks clear but doesn’t find touch. They run it back and it comes out to centre Tevita Kuridrani who charges forward. Wade chases him down, but misses the tackle and the cover from Kearney is very poor as he is just brushed aside. Ian Prior misses the conversion. 0-5
10:45 Good start from the Lions, long line out throw from Best gives the Lions a good attacking chance, but Shane Williams is tackled in to touch just short of the line.
10:40 Nice early touch from Christian Wade to win the ball at the breakdown.
10:40 The Brumbies get us underway kicking right to left.
10:40 So here we go. Rory Best leads out the Lions. Proud moment for him given he wasn’t named in the original tour party.
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10:20 It’s the last match before the test matches and a final chance for any Lions to show what they can do ahead of selection for the first test on Saturday. A makeshift Lions outfit take on the ACT Brumbies in Canberra looking to ensure maintain a 100% win record for the tour.