- Eight-try win sends Lions off to Australia nicely
- Braces for Mike Phillips and Alex Cuthbert light up Hong Kong
Photo: Getty Images
Fly half Owen Farrell scored 15 points as the British and Irish Lions got their tour to Australia up and running with a dominant, eight-try 59-8 win over the Barbarians in Hong Kong.
While victory had never really been in question, the manner of the success will have pleased Warren Gatland and his coaching staff as his side wore down their opposition before demonstrating their attacking weapons.
Skipper Paul O'Connell, Mike Phillips (two), Jonathan Davies, Alex Cuthbert (two), Dan Lydiate and Alun Wyn Jones all touched down as the Lions ran out comprehensive winners in only their second ever meeting with the famed black and white shirts.
Mako Vunipola also impressed from loose-head, with Tom Youngs and Matt Stevens entering the fray as the Lions extended their advantage in a fractured final period.
In a feisty opening, the Baa Baas served notice they would be provide a sterner and more physical test than the side that were rolled over by England at Twickenham last weekend.
Having kicked a confident early penalty to move the Lions ahead, Farrell certainly found that out as Schalk Brits swung an arm at his Saracens team-mate at a ruck leading the pair to square up. After reviewing video of the incident, referee Steve Walsh reversed his original decision and opted to sin-bin Brits.
With the sweltering humidity not helping handling, it proved a somewhat error-strewn opening and the invitational side drew level on 13 minutes when, after Farrell had missed a second penalty attempt, young Englishman Elliot Daly – one of three uncapped players – booted a long-range penalty of his own.
But as the half wore on the Lions began to take control and quickly established a stranglehold at the set-piece with tighthead Adam Jones totally influential in the scrum.
After Farrell kicked his second penalty to restore the lead, their first try arrived on 27 minutes and followed their most fluid passage of play. Forwards and backs combining to force their way relentlessly towards the opposition line and, after Phillips had been stopped just short, skipper O'Connell was on hand to dive over.
Phillips did get his name on the scoresheet five minutes later, the Wales scrum-half producing a trademark dart before holding off Joe Rokocoko to touch down – Farrell converted both and added a third penalty on the stroke of half-time from 50 metres to give his side a 23-3 lead at the interval.
Just three minutes into the second period, eventual man-of-the-match Phillips completed his brace, collecting the ball from the tail of a lineout to jink clear and touch down unopposed.
Photo: Getty Images
The Lions then almost produced a sensational score from inside their own 22 only for Farrell's pass to Sean Maitland to be batted down at the last moment.
As it was, the Baas Baas responded with a try worthy of their reputation shortly afterwards, replacement Kahn Fotuali'i's long pass releasing Rokocoko and, after the former All Black winger's lavish side-step had bamboozled Toby Faletau, Fotuali'i was on hand to collect a return pass and race away to the whitewash.
But normal service was soon resumed, centres Davies and Jamie Roberts combining to ensure the former scored his first try in a Lions shirt and, moments later, Wales colleague Cuthbert opened his Lions account as he sped clear down the right touchline to finish in style. Replacement fly half Jonny Sexton kicked the first conversion but not the second.
Cuthbert grabbed a similar try in the same corner after neat play from Conor Murray and two more Welshmen, Dan Lydiate and Alun Wyn Jones, put a real gloss on the scoreline as they went over in the closing stages to seal an emphatic opening salvo from the tourists.
Lions: Stuart Hogg, Alex Cuthbert, Jonathan Davies, Jamie Roberts , Sean Maitland; Owen Farrell, Mike Phillips; Mako Vunipola, Richard Hibbard, Adam Jones, Richie Gray, Paul O'Connell (capt), Dan Lydiate, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau.
Replacements: Tom Youngs, Cian Healy, Matt Stevens, Alun Wyn Jones, Jamie Heaslip, Conor Murray, Jonathan Sexton, George North.
Barbarians: Jared Payne, Joe Rokocoko, Elliot Daly, Casey Laulala, Takudzwa Ngwenya, Nick Evans, Dimitri Yachvili; Paul James, Schalk Brits, Martin Castrogiovanni, Marco Wentzel, Dean Mumm, Samu Manoa, Sam Jones, Sergio Parisse (capt).
Replacements: Leonardo Ghiraldini, Duncan Jones, Andrea Lo Cicero, Jim Hamilton, Imanol Harinordoquy, Kahn Fotuali'l, James Hook, Mike Tindall.
Referee: Steve Walsh (ARU)