British & Irish Lions
Lions' big Wallaby warning
Sat, 01 Jun 2013 20:31
It's a tremendous win
The British and Irish Lions send a strong message to the Wallabies as they hammered the Barbarians 59-8 in sweltering Hong Kong Saturday.
It was a convincing start to their tour en route to the much-anticipated Test series in Australia.
Stand-in captain Paul O'Connell got the Lions off to the best possible start as he scored the first of eight tries, including two from winger Alex Cuthbert and another brace from the man of the match, scrumhalf Mike Phillips.
Irish lock O'Connell, the 2009 tour skipper, was wearing the armband in place of the injured Sam Warburton, and he touched down in the 28th minute for his first try in 12 appearances in the famous red shirt.
The game was played in stifling conditions on the hottest day of the year in the southern Chinese city, where the mercury nudged 35°C (95°F) in mid-afternoon and had only dropped to 32°C by the 19.30 (11.30 GMT) kick-off.
"It's a tremendous win," said Phillips.
"It was tough conditions... obviously there were some mistakes but that's a great way to start the tour off."
He added: "It was very difficult but I thought, all in all, this gives us a platform to work from and we can push on from here."
Lions coach Warren Gatland was also delighted with the performance and said his players had "laid down a marker" ahead of the trip to Australia.
"I'm only disappointed we conceded a try," Gatland said. "But those guys out there laid down a marker and I couldn't ask for anything better to prepare us for Australia."
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