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British & Irish Lions Tour to Australia 2013

Match Reports - Tuesday 4 June 2013 - 12:05

Western Force v British & Irish Lions

Venue: Patersons Stadium, Perth
Date: Wednesday 5th June 2013 18.00 local (11.00 UK)
UK Television: Sky Sports 1 & HD 1 (10.30 UK)
Weather: Sunny Intervals, Max 18 degrees

Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Garratt Williamson (New Zealand)
Television match official: tba (New Zealand)
Assessor: Scott Young/Andrew Cole (Australia)

Western Force The British & Irish Lions
15: Sam Christie
14: Dane Haylett-Petty
13: Ed Stubbs
12: Chris Tuatara-Morrison
11: Corey Brown
10: Sam Norton-Knight
9: Brett Sheehan
8: Richard Brown
7: Matt Hodgson (c)
6: Angus Cottrell
5: Phoenix Battye
4: Toby Lynn
3: Salesi Ma’afu
2: James Hilterbrand
1: Salesi Manu
15: Leigh Halfpenny
14: Tommy Bowe
13: Brian O’Driscoll (c)
12: Manu Tuilagi
11: George North
10: Jonathan Sexton
9: Conor Murray
8: Jamie Heaslip
7: Sean O’Brien
6: Tom Croft
5: Ian Evans 
4: Alun Wyn Jones
3: Dan Cole
2: Rory Best
1: Cian Healy
Replacements Replacements
16: Hugh Roach
17: Sione Kolo
18: Tim Metcher
19: Ben Matwijow
20: Lachlan McCaffrey
21: Alby Mathewson
22: Nick Haining
23: Junior Rasolea
16: Tom Youngs
17: Mako Vunipola
18: Matt Stevens
19: Geoff Parling
20: Toby Faletau
21: Ben Youngs
22: Owen Farrell
23: Sean Maitland


So this is going to be a “bruising encounter” then is it?  The Force have made no secret of where their intentions lie for tomorrow evening.  The Force are going to be looking to do some roughing up of the Lions in the first match of the tour, and the Lions are going to have to fight fire with fire.

The tone was set in a press conference a few days ahead of the game where Force scrum half Brett Sheehan outlined their plans for the Lions when they step out at Paterson Stadium on Wednesday “We want it to be an extremely physical game, It’s a game of rugby where we don’t want to hold anything back; we want to go at them and let them know what it’s going to be like [in Australia].  We want them to know they’ve been in a battle.”

What doesn’t help the Lions is that Western Froce are playing two games in four days and therefore are resting some of their more crucial players for the Super XV game on Saturday against the NSW Waratahs.  Whilst this gives opportunities for younger players, they will have less of a concern about getting themselves injured and will be looking to make a mark (literally) on the Lions with the world watching.

The Force have named six international in their team to face the Lions, but I don’t think that anyone will be under any illusions that the Lions are playing anything other than an understrength twelfth best Super XV side tomorrow night.  As long as the Lions can avoid injury from some over zealous physicality, they should be able to run up a cricket score.

Rugby in Perth has come on leaps and bounds since the last time the Lions were in town.  The Western Force franchise didn’t exist and the Lions gave a Western Australia side a good hiding 10-116, and I don’t think a scoreline quite that comprehensive is on the cards, but if the Lions can put 60 past the Barbarians, then they can certainly get more than that against a poor and weakened Force side.

The Lions are welcoming their Leinster and Leicester Tigers players into the fold, and they will be looking to their talismanic figures to lead the way, most notably four time tourist (and captain for this match) Brian O’Driscoll.  O’Driscoll will be partnering Manu Tuilagi in the centre, and outside them George North, Tommy Bowe and Leigh Halfpenny make up the back three.  Saturdays bench combo of Conor Murray and Jonny Sexton are starting, and Jonny Sexton you can bet your bottom dollar that Sexton will be a key target for the Force after Farrell’s poor showing on Saturday.

Up front Cian Healy will pack down against Wallaby Salesi Ma’afu and that will be an intriguing battel to watch.  Alongside him will be his Ireland colleague Rory Best and Dan Cole will anchor the other side of the scrum against the inexperienced Salesi Manu.  The Welsh combination of Alun Wyn Jones and Ian Evans are at lock, with an interesting back row combination of Tom Croft, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip making up the forward pack.

All signs are pointing to a bit of a one way contest here and if the Lions can keep their discipline and avoid any injuries then Gatland will be pleased with the outcome regardless of how big the scoreline ends up being.


Comments from British & Irish Lions fans on the Forum

“7 of the match day 23 have never played Super Rugby before, 5 of which are on the bench. There’s Sam Norton-knight (the worst FH to have ever been paid) at 10 running a backline with only 19 Super rugby caps outside him. Never heard of any of them nor the newbies on the bench.  The starting hooker has 1 Super rugby match under his belt.  Oh dear!!”

Join in the chat at our Lions Tour Forum to have your say, and next time it could be your comments here. Prediction

With such a weak team being named by Western Force, it really is a case of not if, but by how many?  We’ll go conservative and say 80 points.

Western Force 5 British & Irish Lions 85

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