B&I Lions devour Waratahs
The B&I Lions continued their unbeaten tour run with an impressive 47-17 hammering of the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
The British and Irish Lions continued their unbeaten tour run with an impressive 47-17 hammering of the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
Although the home team produced a few delightful and promising moments, including two tries, they were simply no match for the tourists.
The Lions showed they are building great momentum with their five-try rout a week out from the first Test against the Wallabies.
The high quality skill and dazzling speed from both teams were only matched by the physicality and commitment and fans around the world will now be eagerly awaiting the first Test in Brisbane next Saturday.
After the extraordinary match between the Lions and Queensland Reds in Brisbane last Saturday it was difficult to imagine that this game could come close to that in skill and intensity, but for large sections it was even better.
The match started at a cracking pace with the Lions almost over in the first minute with a clever pass from Irish flyhalf Jonny Sexton putting Welsh centre Jonathan Davies down the left hand touchline. Davies then sent Irish wing Simon Zebo sprinting for the corner but the debutant's foot was just pushed into touch from a heroic try saving tackle from Waratahs fullback Drew Mitchell.
However, the Lions were on the board on five minutes with Welsh goal-kicking wizard Leigh Halfpenny landing a pin point penalty from the half way line to make it 3-0 to the visitors.
The same quartet who were involved in the near miss in the opening minute were involved just a minute later when Mitchell launched a clearing kick down field. Zebo counter attacked before finding Davies who put Sexton on an untouched run to the line, scoring a few metres in from where Zebo had been bundled into touch five minutes earlier.
Halfpenny was successful with a superb conversion from wide out and the Lions led 10-0 after seven minutes.
But then sensationally the Tahs hit back. NSW flyhalf Bernard Foley chanced his arm with a cross field kick in his own 22. With Sexton down receiving treatment after a big hit from giant NSW lock Will Skelton, Tahs wing Peter Betham was able to collect the ball, beat one Lions defender and pass inside to veteran centre Tom Carter who raced over to score out wide. NSW scrumhalf Brendan McKibbin was successful with the conversion from the touchline and NSW were back to 7-10
Halfpenny added another penalty to make it 13-7 but Skelton nearly put the Tahs in front when he gathered the ball from a line-out throw five metres out and barged over, just losing the ball in the process.
Another superb penalty from the boot of Halfpenny made it 16-7 before McKibbin brought it back to 16-10 with a well taken penalty of his own.
Moments later a stunning flick pass from Mitchell put wing Cam Crawford away but a turnover from English flank Tom Croft saved the Lions just when it looked like NSW would cross again.
And it was the Lions who finished the first half on top after a clever chip from Sexton just outside his 22 was regathered by Davies. The Lions poured onto the attack and eventually the ball came wide to Halfpenny to dot down. He converted his own try to put the Lions out 23-10 after a thrilling first half.
The second half started off just as the first had ended with first the Lions crossing for a brilliant score after swift interchange between Sexton, Welsh centre Jamie Roberts and Davies saw Halfpenny go over for his second try. Once again the fullback converted from near the touchline to make it 30-10.
But then the Tahs hit back immediately with Skelton grabbing a line-out five metres out before feeding Carter who crashed over for his second try of the night. McKibbin again converted and NSW trailed 30-17.
But again the Lions hit back with Halfpenny adding another penalty before Croft scored a superb solo try, palming off NSW replacement Tom Kingston before charging 30 metres down the left hand touchline to score. Halfpenny converted to make it Lion 40 NSW 17 and take his own personal tally to 30 points, setting a new record for the most points scored in a tour match in Australia.
Davies closed out the scoring with a try himself, converted by young English flyhalf Owen Farrell, who was on for Sexton.
The Lions now move on to Canberra where they face the table topping Brumbies in Canberra on Tuesday in what should be another mouth watering clash.
Man of the match: Tom Carter scored a double, Will Skelton tried to imposed himself physically on the Lions and captain Dave Dennis was a brave figure all match long. Veteran Paul O'Connell was powerful in the tight exchanges, Sam Warburton worked hard, Tom Croft had his moments, including a great try, and Jamie Heaslip was also involved in plenty of the action. Jonathan Davies and Jamie Roberts were good with ball in hand, while Simon Zebo put his hand up for Test selection. However, our award goes to B&I Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny, who scored a double, kicked 20 points in a 100 percent goal-kicking display, and long with his tries set a new B&I Lions scoring record.
Moment of the match: The Lions scored five tries, with Leigh Halfpenny's 44th-minute what probably sealed the victory. However, we are going for Tom Carter's first try - and 80-metre effort in the 15th minute - for the entertainment value.
Villain of the match: You would expect some off the ball stuff and previous Waratahs v B&I Lions matches have been more than just brutal. In this game we give this award to Waratahs prop Paddy Ryan, a player who again showed his penchant for thuggish behaviour, a habit he often displayed in Super Rugby, with a deliberate late shoulder charge on Tom Croft long after the Lions loose forward had scored a try. Ryan can regard himself very fortunate that he did not get carded.
For the Waratahs:
Tries: Carter 2
Cons: McKibbin 2
For the British and Irish Lions:
Tries: Sexton, Halfpenny 2, Croft, Davies
Cons: Halfpenny 4, Farrell
Pens: Halfpenny 4
Waratahs: 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (captain), 7 Pat McCutcheon, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Jeremy Tilse.
Replacements: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Richard Aho, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 AJ Gilbert, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Tom Kingston.
British & Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sam Warburton (captain), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Rob Kearney.
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Jérôme Garcès (France), Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
TMO: Keith Brown (New Zealand)