B&I Lions should have 'blasted it'

Sun, 30 Jun 2013 08:33
Large aus v b i lions2 Large aus v b i lions Large adam ashley cooper aus try

The B&I Lions paid the price for excessive caution and a lack of forward power in a 15-16 second Test defeat to Australia.

The British and Irish Lions paid the price for excessive caution and a lack of forward power in a 15-16 second Test defeat by a "canny" Australia side, according to UK press reports on Sunday.

Australia's victory in Melbourne on Saturday saw them level the three-match contest at 1-1 and left the Lions' hopes of a much-longed for first series victory since 1997 dependent on the result of next week's final Test in Sydney.

"Frankly, they [the Lions] sat back when they should have gone out and blasted it," wrote Stephen Jones, the long-serving correspondent of the Sunday Times.

As for the pack selected by Lions coach Warren Gatland, Jones added: "I was amazed how light and fluffy and vulnerable it was, even up against an Australian pack that, frankly, would not even frighten your grandmother at midnight in a dark alley".

Jones highlighted how prop Mako Vunipola, for all his good play in the loose, had endured a torrid match in the scrum, Jones wrote.

"Sadly, the metaphorical cemeteries of rugby are full of props who were rated for other things bar scrummaging, and who were badly exposed for their lack of scrummaging power," he wrote.

Jones's Sunday Times colleague Stuart Barnes, the former England and Lions flyhalf, added the Lions had "stopped playing in the last 20 minutes".

Current Lions No.10 Jonathan Sexton said there were times during the second Test when "it felt like were just wishing for the game to finish rather than going after it".

Australia scored the only try of the match when Adam Ashley-Cooper crossed four minutes from time and the Sunday Express's Steve Bale wrote: "The Lions created so little when stretched to bursting point at Docklands [Etihad] Stadium that they can hardly complain this series will now go to a decider."

Bale added that the tension surrounding both sides had contributed to an "error-strewn affair - the Lions' very future after their long failure to win a series anywhere and the fate of Wallaby coach Robbie Deans being two key issues riding on this series".

There was widespread sympathy for Leigh Halfpenny after the normally reliable goal-kicker had a penalty to win the match, and with it seal the Lions' first series success since their 1997 triumph in South Africa.

His kick fell short, an effort from more than 50 metres, the edge of his range, virtually the last kick of the game.

By contrast Australia's Christian Lealiifano, whose Test debut last week lasted less than a minute after he was knocked out, was on target with all four of his place-kicks in Melbourne.

His injury last week sparked a goalkicking crisis which contributed to Australia's 23-21 defeat in the first test.

"Never mind Leigh Halfpenny's missed kick, which hurt so much that it left him doubled up in pain," wrote the Observer's Andy Bull.

"The Lions' supposed strengths, their set pieces, have been exposed, and exploited, by this canny Australia side."

AFP

There are currently no matches being played
FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 06 May 2016
Crusaders v Reds 07h35 Christchurch
Brumbies v Bulls 09h40 Canberra
Griffons v Eagles 15h00 Welkom
EP Kings v Blue Bulls 16h00 Port Elizabeth
Sat, 07 May 2016
Sunwolves v Force 05h15 Tokyo
Chiefs v Highlanders 07h35 Hamilton
Waratahs v Cheetahs 09h40 Sydney
Leopards v Boland 12h30 Potchefstroom
Griquas v Border 13h00 Kimberley
Sharks v Hurricanes 13h00 Durban
Pumas v Namibia 13h00 Mpumalanga
Golden Lions v Free State Cheetahs 13h00 Randburg
Wasps v London Irish 14h30 Ricoh Arena
Worcester Warriors v Saracens 14h30 Sixways
Bath v Leicester Tigers 14h30 Recreation Ground
Gloucester v Northampton Saints 14h30 Kingsholm
Harlequins v Exeter Chiefs 14h30 Twickenham
Newcastle Falcons v Sale Sharks 14h30 Kingston Park
Zebre v Dragons 15h00 Stadio Sergio Lanfranchi
Munster v Scarlets 15h00 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Ulster 15h00 Liberty Stadium
Connacht v Glasgow Warriors 15h00 Sportsground
Edinburgh v Cardiff Blues 15h00 BT Murrayfield
Leinster v Treviso 15h00 RDS
Kings v Blues 15h05 Port Elizabeth
Sharks v Western Province 15h30 Durban
B&I LIONS
MORE LOGS