Lions in Australia

Lions thump Oz country side

2013-06-11 13:23
George North (Getty Images)
Newcastle - A ruthless British and Irish Lions side ran in 10 tries to overwhelm a willing but outgunned semi-professional Combined Queensland/New South Wales Country side 64-0 and maintain their unbeaten start to the tour of Australia on Tuesday.

Wing George North confirmed his rich form with two of the tourists' six first-half tries but captain Brian O'Driscoll will be disappointed that his try was one of only four after the break.

With Warren Gatland planning to play a majority of his test side against the Waratahs on Saturday, the Lions had no motivation to go easy on the invitational side, which included a carpenter, plumber and a medical student.

The Lions were superior in every department and the only surprise was that they failed to challenge their record victory of 116-10 against Western Australia in 2001, when O'Driscoll made his Lions debut.

Such has been the quality of the Lions' place-kicking on the tour, that the failure of Scotland fullback Stuart Hogg, playing his first senior game at flyhalf, to convert his own try from in front of the posts was a blot on his copy book.

Otherwise, though, he had a solid game at number 10, which will be reassuring for the Lions who have only Jonny Sexton and Owen Farrell as specialist flyhalves in the squad.

The Lions played excellent running rugby and a handsome victory looked assured from the eighth minute when winger Alex Cuthbert sprinted across the line to open the scoring, to be followed over in the next five minutes by scrumhalf Conor Murray and Hogg.

Flank Justin Tipuric did enough to make it clear that tour captain Sam Warburton would have to fight for the number seven shirt for the three Tests against Australia.

The pick of the tries was North's first, which finished off a brilliant move that ran the length of the pitch after a turnover on their own line.

The Lions took 10 minutes after the break to add to their six tries in the first half before O'Driscoll crossed and Halfpenny converted his own try after 56 minutes to bring up the half century.

Props Alex Corbisiero and Ryan Grant both got playing time after joining the squad over the weekend as replacements for the injured Cian Healy and Gethin Jenkins.

The tourists were so dominant in the set piece, however, that referee Steve Walsh was negotiating with the Lions frontrow as early as the first half about just how much scrummaging practice they wanted.

The Australians in the 20,071 crowd cheered every decision that went the Combined XV's way, including the put-in at the scrums.

Replacement wing Dale Ahwang, a furniture remover, crossed for the Country side in the second half but was called back for a knock-on and his team could at least take pride in limiting the Lions to fewer points than Super Rugby's Force, who lost 69-17 to the visitors last week.


British and Irish Lions:

Tries: Alex Cuthbert, Conor Murray, Stuart Hogg, George North (2), Richard Hibbard, Brian O'Driscoll, Leigh Halfpenny, Sean O'Brien and Jonathan Davies.

Conversions: Stuart Hogg (4), Leigh Halfpenny (3)


Combined Queensland/NSW Country:

15 Nathan Trist, 14 Alex Gibbon, 13 Lewie Catt, 12 Tareta-Junior Siakisini, 11 Tom Cox, 10 Angus Roberts, 9 Michael Snowden, 8 Tim Davidson (captain), 7 Jarrad Butler, 6 Richard Stanford, 5 Blake Enever, 4 Phoenix Battye, 3 Tim Metcher, 2 Josh Mann-Rae, 1 Haydn Hirsimaki.

Substitutes: 16 Tom Kearney, 17 Dylan Evans, 18 Rikki Abraham, 19 Rory Arnold, 20 Trent Dyer, 21 Adam McCormack, 22 Shaun McCarthy, 23 Dale Ahwang.

British and Irish Lions:

15 Sean Maitland, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (captain), 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 George North, 10 Stuart Hogg, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 Sean O'Brien, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Richie Gray, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Richard Hibbard, 1 Alex Corbisiero.

Substitutes: 16 Rory Best, 17 Ryan Grant, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Alun Wyn Jones, 20 Toby Faletau, 21 Mike Phillips, 22 Jonathan Davies, 23 Leigh Halfpenny.


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