The British & Irish Lions recorded a record score in a 17-47 win against the NSW Waratahs in Sydney today.
It was a decent work out for the Lions in what was billed as the final run out for the test combinations and the Waratahs gave a decent account of themselves even though the scoreline did not reflect that.
Leigh Halfpenny had a stormer scoring a record number of points for a Lions player in a match against Australian opposition with two tries and eight kicks from eight. There were also tried for Jonathan Sexton, Tom Croft and Jonathan Davies.
Tom Carter scored twice for the Waratahs in reply, but the Lions were clinical in their points scoring and the final score did not reflect the performance from a decent Waratahs side.
Excellent performances all round the park from the Lions. The two locks were immense and have surely cemented their places in the test side. Tom Youngs stepped up to shore up the line out throwing and the Lions won considerably more ball from their own throw.
Simon Zebo started like a train and nearly scored with his first touch of the ball in the opening seconds after breaking down the left hand side. He was all over the park in the first half, but faded a little in the second.
Another excellent performance from Jonathan Davies in the centre and the Lions will be delighted with his performance given the number of injuries to the back line.
Head Coach Warren Gatland said “They put it up to us physically and the boys responded really well. I was very pleased. I thought Alun Wyn Jones was outstanding, he carried, he defended really well for us. Mako Vunipola carried well for us and some great stuff from Simon Zebo too. there are a few things we need to look at in the lineout, there’s always things for us to work on.”
The only negative point of the night was that Jamie Roberts limped off the field in the second half and Gatland commented “It looks like Jamie Roberts has torn his hamstring, but we’ll have to talk to the medics and see where we are with it.”
The Lions move on to Canberra for a match against the ACT Brumbies on Tuesday, but all eyes are now on that first test match against the Wallabies next Saturday.
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12:20 The hooter goes and the Tahs turn it over and pour forward, Alun Wyn Jones makes the try saving tackle and the Lions turn it over and kick it out for full time.
12:20 The Lions are sapping the life out of this game by going through multiple phases of play in the middle of the park. There’s only a few minutes to go and the life is being strangled out of this game.
12:15 The Lions lost the line out on their own throw, and that’s not a great start from Richard Hibbard over throwing. The Tahs charge forward.
12:15 Farrell takes over the kicking duties whilst Halfpenny is off the field and duly keeps up the 100% record. 17-47
12:10 Good steal for the Lions and Ben Youngs makes a break. Jonathan Davies collects the ball and charges down the left touchline to score.
12:10 Jamie Heaslip charges upfield after Parling steals the Tahs ball at the line out. The ball comes through a number of phases on the Tahs 22 but they lose the ball in the tackle and Mitchell clears. Jamie Roberts is off the field and there is a lot of concern about his hamstring.
12:05 Lions attacking scrum inside the Tahs 22 and they win the penalty, but the Lions take the scrum again and win another penalty. The replacements in the front row are turning the screw and showing what they can do. Unfortunately they concede the penalty this time and it’s a let off for the Lions.
12:05 Good break from the Lions after the turnover from Sam Warburton, the ball comes out to Farrell who cross field kicks towards Simon Zebo, but Mitchell fields the kick and drops on it over his own line.
12:00 Bunch of replacements coming on. Rob Kearney makes his tour debut. Richard Hibbard, Alex Corbisiero and Dan Cole are on, together with Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate and Ben Youngs.
12:00 The Lions are defending their own line and they effect the turnover and kick back to the Tahs to attack again. The Lions turn it over and charge forward but give away the penalty at the breakdown.
11:55 Jonathan Davies intercepts a pass in his own half and the Lions charge forward, the ball goes through the hands and Tom Croft breaks the line to score. Leigh Halfpenny once again fires the conversion through the posts. 17-40
11:55 Tahs Hooker John Ulugia is caught shoulder charging Simon Zebo off the ball and the penalty is given to the Lions.
11:50 The Lions win a penalty from the man coming round the side of the maul. Sexton kicks into the Tahs 22. Sexton then comes off for Owen Farrell. The Lions attack from the line out and the Lions win a penalty in front of the posts for offside. Halfpenny whacks it through the posts. 17-33
11:45 McKibbin lines up the conversion and it sails through the posts. 17-30.
11:40 From the kick off the Lions concede a penalty and the Tahs kick for the corner again. Good drive from the Tahs and Tom Carter drives over the line for his second try. It’s referred to the TMO to check whether he knocked on over the line. Nothing wrong with the grounding itself, but its the ball popping out of the maul that is the issue, but the TMO gives the try. 15-30
11:40 And from a pretty benign situation, a lovely little set of moves from the Lions, excellent hands from Davies, Roberts and Sexton to set Halfpenny free to score. He steps up to convert his own try again and he keeps up his 100% kicking record. 10 -30 with 25 of them from Halfpenny alone.
11:40 Bit of a scrappy start to the second half, but the Lions have secured possession on the Tahs 22.
11:35 The teams are back out on the field and the Tahs get us under way once again.
11:30 From the forum: “J Davies has been excellent again. Zebo looks lively but hasn’t been tested. Maitland has been tested and looks awful. Halfpenny is very solid. Warburton has been everywhere. Heaslip is playing quite well. Croft is playing in the centre and just tackling backs. as a result the breakdown is unsurprisingly struggling. O’Connell is having a stormer as is Alun-Wyn. Vuinapolo looks to be struggling in the scrum. Tom Youngs is putting himself about very well. Jamie Roberts is being targeted and his gameplan is being nullified. Good game.” ScarletLion
11:25 Halfpenny steps up to convert his own try and he dissects the posts once again and that’s half time. 10-23
11:20 A little chip kick over the top gives the Lions a great attacking chance. The Lions have the penalty but are powering forward for the try. The advantage is over just 5 metres short of the line, but they don’t need it anyway as the ball fires out to the right and Leigh Halfpenny scores.
11:20 Lovely break by the Tahs by Drew Mitchell offloading out of the tackle and setting up a brilliant phase of attacking from the Waratahs. The Lions defence is stretched but hold firm and they win the penalty which Sexton kicks clear to touch.
11:15 Tom Youngs ends on the wrong side of a Tahs ruck following his tackle on Foley and the referee is having none of it. Penalty Waratahs, McKibbin steps up and clears the posts. 10-16
11:10 Excellent take from Simon Zebo from Mike Phillips up and under, the ball is kicked on into the Tahs 22 and the Waratahs captain Dave Dennis takes it over his own 22 and dots down in goal for the Lions scrum, but the ball goes loose and the Tahs breath again.
11:05 The Tahs get a ticking off for the second man arriving at the breakdown giving cheap penalties away after the tackle. Leigh Halfpenny steps up to take the kick and fires it over again. 7-16
11:05 Adam Jones gives away the penalty following a series of attacking phases. The Tahs kick for the corner, much to the delight of the home crowd. The Tahs secure the line out but knock it on over the line.
11:00 20 minutes gone and we have a game on our hands. The Waratahs are now building a sustained period of attacking pressure and they are battering against the Lions defence.
11:00 Simon Zebo changes the angle of attack for the Lions charging around the back of the ruck into traffic and offloading to Adam Jones. Zebo is everywhere this evening. Penalty for the Lions following an offside by the Tahs and Halfpenny fires it through the posts. 7-13
10:55 Try for the Waratahs. Tom Carter scores in the corner from an outstanding running move from their own 22. Great cross field kick from Bernard Foley sets up Peter Betham who strides down the left touchline and offloads to Carter under pressure from Sean Maitland. Brendan McKibbin converts 7-10
10:50 Excellent attacking move from the Lions. An punishing rolling maul down the left, Warburton spins off the back and they pass it through the hands but Jamie Roberts knocks on in the tackle 10 metres short of the Waratahs line.
10:50 Very bright start from the Lions in both attack and defence, some bruising tackles out there forcing the Waratahs on to the back foot.
10:45 Leigh Halfpenny charges down a kick which Drew Mitchell collects and clears , but not into touch and the Lions run it back . the ball comes out to the left touchline where Jonathan Davies offloads beautifully to Sexton who scores a wonderful try on the left Halfpenny converts the try. 0-10
10:45 Tom Youngs is dumped on on his back by Horne, but the referee Jaco Peyper deems it dangerous and awards the [penalty top the Lions on halfway. Leigh Halfpenny steps up and makes the distance. 0-3
10:40 And Simon Zebo has scored with his first touch in a Lions shirt!! But he’s got a foot in touch! How disappointing for the Irishman. Excellent tackle from Wallaby full back Drew Mitchell.
10:40 Jonny Sexton gets us under way kicking from right to left.
10:35 OK, the teams are coming on to the field, Lions first led by captain Sam Warburton.
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10:20 Match day again and today we’re set for a battle royal as the Lions take on what we hope will be a competitive NSW Waratahs team in Sydney. The teams are out warming up and we’ve got about 20 mins till kick off.