21 Sep

Lions ease to victory

first_img The Country XV, comprising mostly part-time players including an electrician, an apprentice plumber and a medical student, were inevitably outpaced by a team of elite athletes. Juggernaut wing George North led the way with two first-half touchdowns, while there were also tries for Alex Cuthbert, Richard Hibbard, Conor Murray, skipper Brian O’Driscoll, Sean O’Brien, Stuart Hogg, Leigh Halfpenny and Jonathan Davies. Hogg kicked four conversions and Halfpenny three. Lions head coach Warren Gatland would not have gleaned a huge amount from the game, building towards Saturday week’s first Test against Australia in Brisbane. There was, though, another eye-catching display by Wales openside flanker Justin Tipuric that could keep some pressure on tour captain Sam Warburton, who is expected to lead the Lions against New South Wales Waratahs in Sydney this weekend. And the Lions’ backs, featuring a potential first Test three-quarter line of Cuthbert, O’Driscoll, Jamie Roberts and North, operated with express pace and lightning precision, especially during the first half. But there were also a number of unforced errors by Lions players, especially when it came to handling under pressure, and with a little more luck the Country XV would have scored at least one consolation try. Questions will inevitably rage about the quality of the Lions’ fourth tour opponents and they have now scored 214 points and 28 tries, being tested only by Queensland Reds last Saturday. That one-sided scenario should change, though, as the squad head for Sydney on Wednesday and then take on the Brumbies in Canberra next Tuesday. The British and Irish Lions romped to a predictably emphatic 64-0 success against a Combined Country XV as they ran in 10 tries at Hunter Stadium.center_img Press Associationlast_img

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