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Lions overrun brave Force in Perth

05 June 2013

  • Nine tries sink committed Western Force in Perth
  • Croft, Vunipola, Farrell and Parling among the scorers
Brian O'Driscoll with ball in hand

Photo: Getty Images

There were tries for Tom Croft, Mako Vunipola, Owen Farrell and Geoff Parling as the British and Irish Lions beat Western Force 69-17 in Perth.

The tourists ran in nine scores in all against a committed Force outfit as they continue their build-up towards the first Test against Australia on June 22.

There was some impressive link play in the backs and the expected power up front, but this was far from a flawless performance and the concession of two close-range tries will cause some concern among Andy Farrell and the rest of the Lions coaching staff.

Leigh Halfpenny's flawless goal-kicking – which yielded 24 points from 11 attempts – was a particular plus, while Jamie Heaslip, George North, Brian O'Driscoll and Vunipola off the bench were also impressive.

Jonathan Sexton's display was encouraging too, the Ireland fly half's neat inside dummy creating his trot-in try after 10 minutes.

But the next 20 minutes were notable for a series of Lions errors, with Rory Best's loose lineout throws twice wasting good possession and the Force earning their first points from a Brett Sheehan penalty just past the half hour.

The Lions hit back quickly as really good hands from Sean O'Brien and North on the left wing put O'Driscoll diving over for a good finish.

Prop Cian Healy was stretchered off shortly afterwards after turning his ankle nastily, but the Lions finished the half on a high as a stretched Force defence was sucked in and Croft went over out wide.

The second half started equally brightly as Heaslip made a break up the middle and after good recycling, received a long pass from compatriot Sexton to walk across the whitewash.

George North

Photo: Getty Images

But the Lions paid for sloppy work at the re-start as Richard Brown muscled over from close range and Sheehan converted, making the score 34-10.

The Lions quickly making amends when Vunipola barged his way over Sam Christie and in at the corner, though, and the Force were under pressure again. Ed Stubbs was then sin-binned for not rolling away in front of the posts – the Lions taking a scrum and creating a gap for Tommy Bowe to score in the corner.

Lachlan McCaffrey's try under the posts after another poor re-start for the Lions was rather too easy, but there was a good response from the tourists in the final quarter despite losing Alun Wyn-Jones to the sin-bin for a similar offence to Stubbs'.

A lovely combination between Sexton, Manu Tuilagi and O'Driscoll resulted in the Ireland centre going in under the posts, Farrell scored with his first touch thanks to a neat dummy and, after more good work from Vunipola, Parling capped a fine performance off the bench with the final try on 76 minutes.

Western Force: Sam Christie, Dane Haylett-Petty, Ed Stubbs, Chris Tuatara-Morrison, Corey Brown; Sam Norton-Knight, Brett Sheehan; Salesi Manu, James Hilterbrand, Salesi Ma'afu, Toby Lynn, Phoenix Battye, Angus Cottrell, Matt Hodgson, Richard Brown.

Replacements: Hugh Roach, Sione Kolo, Tim Metcher, Ben Matwijow Lachlan McCaffrey, Alby Mathewson, Nick Haining, Junior Rasolea.

Yellow card: Stubbs (57-67)

Lions: Leigh Halfpenny, Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll (capt), Manu Tuilagi, George North; Jonny Sexton, Conor Murray; Cian Healy, Rory Best, Dan Cole, Alun Wyn Jones, Ian Evans, Tom Croft, Sean O'Brien, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacements: Tom Youngs (for Best, 66), Mako Vunipola (for Healy, 37), Matt Stevens (for Cole, 68), Geoff Parling (for Evans), Toby Faletau (for Croft, 71), Ben Youngs (for Murray, 66), Owen Farrell (for Sexton, 66), Sean Maitland (for Bowe, 76).

Yellow card: AW Jones (71-81)

Referee: Glen Jackson (NZ)

Attendance: 35,103