Lions breeze past Rebels
Lions breeze past RebelsSHARE
The British and Irish Lions scored five tries on their way to a comfortable 35-0 victory over the Rebels in Melbourne on Tuesday.
It was the Lions 100th tour win in Australia and the result was never in doubt after leading 14-0 at half-time and powering on with another three converted tries in the second half.
Several Lions players pressed their claims for a place in this weekend's match with Irish flank Sean O'Brien scoring a try and impressing in his 55 minutes on the field before he was replaced.
Tries were also scored by Conor Murray, Sean Maitland and Ben Youngs, along with a penalty try, while Owen Farrell kicked three conversions and Stuart Hogg two.
The under-strength Rebels were missing their three Wallabies, James O'Connor, Kurtley Beale and Nick Phipps, while Scott Higginbotham was out injured.
The Lions dominated the opening stages and Ireland scrumhalf Murray scored off a scrum push in the 16th minute with Farrell converting for a 7-0 lead.
England centre Manu Tuilagi, making his first appearance on tour since injuring his shoulder against the Reds on June 8, charged through a couple of tackles before Maitland and Toby Faletau took play close to the Rebels' try-line.
From the next ruck, wing Simon Zebo was first receiver and put Maitland over wide out for the wing's first try for the Lions whilst Farrell's conversion made it 14-0 after 28 minutes.
But the Rebels finished the opening half the stronger and had a couple of scoring opportunities as their Welsh skipper Gareth Delve elected to keep the pressure up with line-outs.
But the Lions denied the Rebels by winning two of their line-outs in the final minutes to weather the storm.
Despite their dominance it was a mistake-riddled opening half with Lions' players dropping the ball nine times and losing three line-outs.
The British and Irish team would also not have pleased coach Warren Gatland with 14 missed tackles.
Irish openside flank O'Brien was treated for a neck injury after coming off worse in a tackle on Ged Robinson, but was over for a try shortly afterwards.
The Lions executed a well-worked move off a line-out win with skipper Dan Lydiate putting O'Brien over in the 50th for a converted try and a 21-0 lead.
O'Brien was brought off minutes later among four tactical replacements made by coach Gatland ahead of Saturday's second Test.
New Zealand referee Glen Jackson awarded the Lions a penalty try and sent replacement No.8 Jordy Reid to the sin bin for bringing down a rolling maul close to the Rebels' try-line for a 28-0 lead.
Ben Youngs, a replacement for Murray, darted over from a line-out win, beating two tackles, to score under the crossbar with seven minutes left to stretch the tourists' advantage to 35-0.
Man of the match: Irish flank Sean O'Brien had another highly impressive outing, imposing himself on the Rebels at the breakdown and carrying the ball strongly.
Moment of the match: Sean Maitland's try was the most impressive of the lot, with some great handling resulting in a good team try.
Villain of the match: None.
For the Rebels:
For the British and Irish Lions:
Tries: Murray, Maitland, O'Brien, penalty try, Youngs
Cons: Farrell 3, Hogg 2
Yellow card: Jordy Reid (professional foul, 63 mins)
Rebels: 15 Jason Woodward, 14 Tom English, 13 Mitch Inman, 12 Rory Sidey, 11 Lachlan Mitchell, 10 Bryce Hegarty, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Gareth Delve (captain), 7 Scott Fuglistaller, 6 Jarrod Saffy, 5 Hugh Pyle, 4 Cadeyrn Neville, 3 Laurie Weeks, 2 Ged Robinson, 1 Nic Henderson.
Replacements: 16 Pat Leafa, 17 Cruze Ah-Nau, 18 Paul Alo-Emile, 19 Luke Jones, 20 Jordy Reid, 21 Nic Stirzaker, 22 Angus Roberts, 23 Cooper Vuna.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Rob Kearney, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Tangaki Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Dan Lydiate (captain), 5 Ian Evans, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Ryan Grant.
Replacements: 16 Rory Best, 17 Tom Court, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Tom Croft, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Billy Twelvetrees, 23 Stuart Hogg.
Referee: Glen Jackson (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Romain Poite (France), Craig Joubert (South Africa)
TMO: Ben Skeen (New Zealand)