Lions dis­miss mid­week blues

The Star Early Edition - - SPORT - JACK DE MENEZES

PUTTING IN THE HARD YARDS: Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions wing Jack Now­ell was mon­u­men­tal in at­tack and de­fense for the tour­ing team as­they downed the Chiefs yes­ter­day. THE fi­nal warm-up match be­fore the Bri­tish and Ir­ish Lions face the All Blacks proved a very dif­fer­ent af­fair to the cor­re­spond­ing fix­ture four years ago, with a four-try romp against the Chiefs en­sur­ing that War­ren Gat­land’s side ended with their first mid­week vic­tory of the tour in per­fect prepa­ra­tion for Satur­day’s first Test.

Two tries from Jack Now­ell were a wel­come sight, with Jared Payne and a sec­ond penalty try of the tour prov­ing more than enough to see off the Chiefs 34-6.

Dan Big­gar com­plet­ing the scor­ing with 14 points with the boot.

The big win­ner of the day looks like El­liot Daly though, with the Wasps back taken off in the 60th minute in what looks to be a sign from Gat­land that he will play some part in the match at Eden Park.

The Lions were by far the dom­i­nant side against a Chiefs team miss­ing nine first-team play­ers af­ter be­ing raided by both the All Blacks and Maori All Blacks. What was left was a side that looked like it had spent even fewer min­utes to­gether than the Lions squad, as their line-out mas­sively mal­func­tioned early on and their scrum was taken apart 13 min­utes in.

By that stage though, Joe Mar­ler had al­ready earned him­self a yel­low card with a late shoul­der charge.

It led to the early in­tro­duc­tion of Scot­land prop Al­lan Dell, one of the six play­ers called up last week­end in con­tro­ver­sial cir­cum­stances by Gat­land, but he im­me­di­ately helped win a penalty for his side and it was a wel­come im­pact to help for­get a tur­bu­lent week.

The Lions had al­ready been guilty of wast­ing a golden chance to score, as they went through 19 phases be­fore Liam Wil­liams knocked the ball on, though the penalty ad­van­tage gave Dan Big­gar a sim­ple shot at goal that he took be­fore dou­bling the lead in the 18th minute when flanker Mitch Brown in­fringed.

It was another Chief who made the first real im­pact, though one that hailed from Ex­eter and not Waikato – Now­ell. The winger made a nice break af­ter a Court­ney Lawes off­load, be­fore turn­ing sup­plier to feed James Haskell. With the ball re­cy­cled and taken up to within two me­tre of the line by Big­gar, Now­ell was on hand to go straight from the base of the ruck to score.

The Chiefs would get on the board through their veteran fly-half, Stephen Don­ald, land­ing two penal­ties with the sec­ond com­ing on the stroke of half­time.

How­ever, the sec­ond half saw the Lions click into gear, and the 13-6 lead they held rapidly built as they kept the op­po­si­tion score­less, the pack ground­ing outa penalty try to start off pro­ceed­ings.

The third try was a beau­ti­ful move a minute short of the hour mark that showed just what the Lions can pro­duce. Bro­ken-field rugby has not been their friend so far this tour, but when Daly broke down the left wing, he pro­duced a sub­lime pass right to Payne, who in turn found Rob­bie Hen­shaw. Although the Ir­ish­man was halted on the 22, quick ball was whipped to the right, and Iain Hen­der­son fed Now­ell who straight­ened the line, cut in­side full-back Shaun Steven­son and charged over for his sec­ond.

The Chiefs al­lowed their heads to drop, and the re­sult meant they were be­neath their posts again four min­utes later, when a mis-hit Don­ald clear­ance kick found Now­ell with room to work with.

He drifted in-field where Wil­liams cut a bril­liant line, beat­ing two de­fend­ers, be­fore of­fload­ing to Payne for an easy walkover.

The only sour note came in Payne be­ing forced off at the end with a head in­jury but the score­line was a deserving one. – The In­de­pen­dent

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.