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Saturday, June 01, 2013

British and Irish Lions start strong with convincing win over the Barbarians

Mike Phillips and Alex Cuthbert scored twice as the Lions got their 2013 tour off to a strong start, beating the Barbarians 59-8 in hot and humid Hong Kong earlier today. They scored eight tries in total as a star studded Barbarians outfit failed to fire.

Regular waterbreaks had to be empoyed as vicious heat and humidity threatened to affect the rhythm of the match. In many ways it did, but a strong second half by the Lions will have given them a good boost ahead of the trip to Australia.

They face the Western Force on Wednesday, cellar dwellers in Super Rugby but an entirely different proposition to the Barbarians side, who despite all their talent, just didn't seem up for it.

Not taking anything away from the Lions - they finished well and their patterns of play were starting to take shape, with Phillips, Jamie Roberts and Justin Tipuric in particular standing out.

Captain Paul O'Connell was strong up front, scoring the opening try of the game after 28 minutes, while flyhalf Owen Farrell perhaps didn't do himself any favours with a fairly mediocre performance.

He was involved in an altercation with Saracens teammate Schalk Brits early on, the South African uncharacteristically lashing out, and lucky to be only yellow carded by referee Steve Walsh.

The ten minutes off didn't help the Baa-Baas cause, and veteran Joe Rokocoko seemed to be one of the few looking to spark things with ball in hand. He rolled back the years to show regular touches of class, as well as making one outstanding try saving tackle in particular.

In the end it was all about the Lions though, as eight tries later they were emphatic winners, and it was great to see the urgency of those that joined the game from the bench. Test spots are going to be hard to come by in this squad, so every minute on the park counts.

It'll be interesting to see who Warren Gatland and co select for the Force match, as the powerful Queensland Reds will be waiting just three days later.

What are you initial thoughts on the Lions' performance?

Posted at 1:42 pm | 77 comments

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 77 comments

DrG June 01, 2013 4:51 pm

Was that really Owen Farrell playing or was it Justin Bieber? Dare I say Bieber would probably have had a better game...

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Ottawa Rugger June 01, 2013 6:55 pm

Not sure where all the Farrell hate is coming from. Generally had a good game kicking from the tee, and apart from one cross field kick that went directly into BaaBaa hands had good open field kicks. Some of his passes didn't go to hand but everyone on the pitch had that problem given how sweaty their hands were and the ball was (Phillips wasn't giving him much to work with either). As has been said before, he was the one doing the dirty work as the team ironed out the kinks, got used to each other's speed, got over the jitters, etc. He laid the platform, and got the result. I honestly think he get far more stink than he deserves.

And if anyone thinks they'd behave like Ghandi if they were punched so maliciously, they're out of their minds. Sure Farrell was holding on to Brits, but during a nothing ruck. Besides, who doesn't do that?

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DrG June 01, 2013 10:57 pm

I don't rate him as a Lion that's all... He's going to be good/great one day, perhaps he already is in the NH, but for me he is no Lion, or not the standard I've grown to expect from a Lion...

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dave June 02, 2013 12:33 am

justin bieber of rugby? are you serious, we all know the justin bieber of rugby plays for the wallabies, and if you still don't know who i'm talking about I mean James O'connor
Owen Farrel is an awesome player, his only flaw is he can't run a potent offence without a 12 that distributes well, this guy is a beast in the tackle, if I have players crash walloping though the flyhalf channel Owen is the best guy to have besides wilko, anybody remember his big hits on imanol harinordoquy, george north and sam warbuton? this guy was also a huge reason they beat one of the strongest all blacks teams ever and you know what's amazing? this guy is only 21 so of course he's going to have the odd blip, and i enjoyed how he pushed around the bigger schalks burger, that sissy lost his temper and deserved a red, anybody else think burger was such a loser for turning away from farrell after he punched him in the face, man up and meet the other guys gaze after if you have the nerve to punch someone in the face

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Facepalm June 02, 2013 1:11 am

I must've missed schalk burger's punch.

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DanKnapp June 02, 2013 7:44 am

Seriously? It was replayed a dozen times!

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FoXtroT June 02, 2013 10:21 am

Its Schalk Brits.

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DanKnapp June 02, 2013 12:15 pm

Ha, that's me told.

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DrG June 02, 2013 12:38 pm

@Dave, I agree O'Connor is definitely a Bieber. However Owen baby faced Farrell does sport somewhat a Bieber-esque haircut... maybe Farrell can be labelled a cousin or something.. with O'Connor coming up as a brother?!?!?

I never said the guy was a bad player, I just don't rate him as ready for the Lions thats all. I base that on his petulant attitude and; of late, his shaky form..

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DrG June 02, 2013 4:34 pm

Dave having the video to now look at its easier to comment on the "punch". You say Brits was a loser for turning away... I disagree, he was trying to get on with the game, swats away a petulant cheating child and gets back to defending the fringes of the ruck. Sure players hold on all the time, it's something that drives me INSANE as it is RARELY picked up by the referee!!! So the reaction from Brits is something I can understand. The reason he didn't "front up" was because there was a game to be getting on with.

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Pipo June 02, 2013 3:05 am

Farrel didn't have such a good game IMHO. But in any case, regardless of the almost-certain-try that wasn't to be after his pass, or the number of balls he spilled (I think Philips provided good ball but the heat and humidity have also to be taken into account, plus many other players spilled balls), what I want to point at is the following.

Not only he was holding Schalk Brits illegally (a minor thing) and reacted to the punch/stiff arm in a way that, could be argued, also deserved a yellow card, but

-WHAT REALLY LOWERS MY OPINION OF HIM:

is how he clapped in what seemed mocking or derisive way when Brits got a yellow. He looked like a child, and not any child, but a spoiled, presumptuous, mean child. Had I done something like that while playing rugby in my earlier days, my coach would have yelled at me quite a lot (if not taken me off the field) and RIGHTLY so.

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matt June 02, 2013 8:27 pm

I could well be wrong, but I'm pretty sure the clip of him clapping was from a different point in the game and when it was showed later on it was wrongly linked by the commentators to the Britz incident. I'm fairly certain that when it happened farell was miles off minding his own business again.

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Pipo June 02, 2013 10:47 pm

You've got anything to back that up? Commentators do make mistakes but unless you can show me a clip/link that proves them so, Farrell did clap and smile like a jerk to me and, I guess, most viewers of the match.

(Haven't heard of anyone saying the commentators were wrong post-match either.)

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Pipo June 02, 2013 10:52 pm

Oh, and, as far as I can remember, Farrell's clapping was shown immediately after Brits got the yellow and not "later on". Maybe we were watching different feeds.

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UpTheLowEnd June 03, 2013 10:18 am

Yeah I must admit, the clapping comment came almost a good 10 mins after the Brits incident to my recollection... although I could be wrong

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DanKnapp June 01, 2013 4:56 pm

Decent showing. They weren't clicking, as you'd expect at this early stage, but looked promising. I thought Hogg and Phillips were excellent. I don't think any of the Englishmen stood out, they looked quite uninspiring. Interesting to see Brits trying to get into Farrell's head early in the game - does he know something about Farrell? Farrell certainly seemed slightly out of his depth, but I'll watch his tour with interest.

I thought Richie Gray looked decent, hope to see him getting into his stride as soon as possible.

Lastly, I kept wondering who the centre was - realised that I only recognise Davies by his stupid scrum cap. He should play without it more! I thought he played really well.

Very promising start all around. Hope to see some more of these combinations clicking early on. Bring on Wednesday!

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wslark1 June 01, 2013 6:08 pm

I think the chemistry will improve over time yes, but Vinupola was a standout performer today and should be in serious contention for a starting place.

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Gazza June 02, 2013 12:11 am

How can you make such a sweeping statement that 'the Englishmen' looked uninspiring? There were only 3 that started the game with 1 off the bench, and Mako Vunipola had a great game. Farrell looked like a flyhalf who was playing in a new team in tough conditions, Sexton would have looked exactly the same coming to terms with the systems in place during the first competitive game of the tour.

That said, I think the Lions came together nicely by the end of the game. Test places will be hotly contested and I cannot wait to see everyone given a run out. Wednesday and Saturday games, what a treat for the next few weeks.

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DanKnapp June 02, 2013 7:46 am

I didn't think much of Vunipola at the time. From the comments here maybe I missed stuff. I didn't think he was bad, just meh. Farrell was much the same. I am English, before that is taken to be the reason for my comments :)

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matt June 02, 2013 8:30 pm

I thought Vunipola had a pretty good game, I'd like to see him get a run at the ausies.

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welshwarrior23 June 01, 2013 5:05 pm

The pack were outstanding, set-piece and around the park, particularly impressed with Vunipola, Gray, O'Connell, and the back-row.

Half backs were 50/50 Phillips and Murray were both brilliant, Farrell was a bit dodgey, would like to see him grow into the jersey though, and sexton was good minus his goal kicking.

Centre partnership was brilliant, Roberts in particular and Davies looked very impressive. Best I've ever seen them play together

Back 3 were okay, Would like to see more of Hoggs attacking game, maitland was very poor, which is a shame cause he's better than that. And cuthbert was his usual self, works hard but is still very average- great finisher though.

Subs were all good, particularly liked Healy and George North was impressive in the centre

All in all good performance.

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Loubo June 02, 2013 1:02 am

Not sure I agree that Cuthbert is "very average" if he is a "great finisher", certainly makes him well above average if he can finish well. Knows where to be, runs hard and reads the game well, a shoe-in for a test place at this point in time based on Six Nations form. Look forward to seeing North get a start along with Tommy Bowe.

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matt June 02, 2013 8:32 pm

Personally I don't rate cuthbert much at all. He seems to have decent gas, but doesn't offer anything else. Maybe he'll make me look silly this tour, but I can't think of him ever doing anything that didnt involve running straight down his wing as fast as he can.

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brawnybalboa June 03, 2013 11:11 am

If you watch Cuthberts tries in the six nations the last two years you will see he offers more than just gas running down the wing.

Scotland 2012: Runs right through a scottish tackle to score

France 2012: Runs untouched through the french line and around the full back

Ireland 2013: Hits the line at the inside centre position, runs in untouched

Italy 2013: As with Ireland attacks the line from the inside centre position

England 2013: (First try) he has to fend off Mike Brown whilst staying infield.


Yes as you said he has gas, and scores tries out on the wing, but Gatland likes using him as a ball carrier up the centre (like Roberts & North) due to his size. In the cases where he makes a break he often scores due to his pace.

As shown against France he has deceptive agility for a man of his size (presumably due to playing sevens).

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matt June 04, 2013 7:52 pm

Fair enough, I don't know much about him, all I meant was that my only memories of him are running in straight, admittedly fast, lines.

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Jorge June 01, 2013 5:15 pm

Don't quite understand what did Hogg do in this match, to earn so much plaudits. He really did not do much.
Phillips was too selfish, maybe because hiss passing is so poor.
Tipuric was very good - it will be interesting to see the Test back row and centre pairing.

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Bunn June 01, 2013 5:55 pm

Hogg was in the right place at the right time on a few occasions and only poor passes let the Lions down, he looked predatory basically. Otherwise he was pretty solid

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DanKnapp June 01, 2013 6:25 pm

Echoing what Bunn said. Hogg was all over the pitch, making himself a nuisance and was involved in a lot of play. There were a lot of passes which didn't quite come off, and he was involved in many of them. I don't think he was to blame, the conditions must have been appalling, and the understanding wasn't there, but I think he looked great in a team going forwards (which Scotland often aren't).

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DanKnapp June 01, 2013 6:27 pm

Also, I don't think it's fair to call Phillips too selfish - he saw space and ran in two good tries. Players need to stand up and back themselves, that's the only way to make the starting XV. I hate Phillips three and a half years at a time, but he was good today.

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matt the mauler June 03, 2013 1:31 pm

he was involved throughout the pitch. Often the first man to be hitting rucks in the midfield - if you watch O'Connel's try Hogg was the one creating space for him to dive over. Great running angles and if it weren't for the conditions he would have bagged a couple of trys. Very impressed with his performance.

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belgianrugbyfan June 01, 2013 5:22 pm

I thought Vunipola, Lydiate, Jones and Faletau played very well in the pack. Philips was amazing as well as Murray, he just needs a bit more experience but it's ok. Sexton should be kicking better than what he did, although the conversions were difficult. Farrell was ok and both centres were very good. Hogg and Cuthbert were really pleasing to watch, not seen enough of Maitland's talent.

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Canadian content June 01, 2013 6:27 pm

Highlights/ full match please! Trouble getting lions games in Canada!

Until such time I will reserve all judgment other than I don't like Farrell and its interesting that brits went at him

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Canadian content June 02, 2013 5:44 am

Thanks mate.

Can sOmeone explain to me how Phillips gesture on his second try is any different than armitages? He's clearly mocking the defender. Never liked this guy. Good player, better rugby player than 9, think he's a lil ltd in skill, just seems like a real arrogant prick

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Owen June 02, 2013 12:27 pm

Apparently he was joking with his team mate joe rococoko

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matt the mauler June 03, 2013 1:35 pm

Yeah, he was scoring in the same way Rococoko does (well when he gets space) by pointing one arm out and diving in. They both play together for Bayonne and Philips did say after the match there was nothing in it and I'm sure Joe would have agreed.

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DrG June 02, 2013 12:32 pm

I really rate Philips as a 9 to be honest. I think he gets a huge amount of flack due to the fact he is not an average sized 9... therefore the cheeky shit they often get away with, which we all laugh about and say "it's lucky that git's a scrum half" is often hard to swallow when it comes from someone Philips size...

That being said, from what I have heard he is a bit selfish in "real life"..

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dave June 02, 2013 12:36 am

all I can say bro is type in first row free, but be careful of the bugs

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BestHookerInTown June 01, 2013 8:05 pm

Farrell looked way to out of his depth, he butchered one try by getting to fancy and trying to flick it over his head. I'm surprised he was subbed off earlier.

That was a very strong Lions team put out there today, would like to see what the next team will look like. Hogg really put up his hand today and got a full days rugby. That's going to stand to him in the next couple of matches due to the fact that Kearney and Halfpenny will probably share time on the pitch now!

Pack were good, maybe a tweaking in the front row. Subs were also very good.

All round good display!

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terminan June 01, 2013 9:40 pm

let's get one thing straight - Farrell was incredibly, mind-bogglingly poor. Wayward kicking from hand, lousy passing, in ability to catch the ball all topped off by quite astonishingly slow pace for a 21 year old rendering him unable to run in a try from 10 yards out with no one in sight. Then a ridiculous pass. If Sexton gets injured we are in real trouble.

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goodNumber10 June 01, 2013 10:51 pm

Hè was being trackpad down by smoking joe, and in that heat losing that much body fluid anyone would be exhausted.

he did the right thing with the over head it it was just well read by the Baabaas

He takes way to much flak, and really outside of sexton who would be there over him? Biggar? No more creative than OF.

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dave June 02, 2013 12:38 am

I agree, I think biggar sucks, he's def overrated, the funny thing about farrell is hes a lion but he's potentially our 3rd best flyhalf behind ford and burns not including wilkinson

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Facepalm June 02, 2013 1:17 am

Ford isn't better than Farrell. Not yet anyway.

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hedderball June 02, 2013 11:11 pm

if one of the FHs gets injured they'll call up Wilko. Personally wouldn't mind them calling up Madigan as he offers something different from most of the NH fly halves. Maybe a bit of a sentimental pick as fully aware of his limitations in terms of controlling a match and inexperience etc...

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Pipo June 02, 2013 12:52 pm

What really baffles me of Owen Farrel's conduct in the game, regardless of whatever positive or negative thing that can be said about his performance (spilled balls, failed over the head pass in possible try scoring opportunity, kicking), is:

his childish (can only describe it like this without feeling it might become offensive) reaction after learning of Brit's yellow. Clapping and smiling like if ... I don't know what, he had enjoyed the swinging arm to the head? or is just an immature person unfit for rugby? or whatever.

If I know rugby and ruggers like I think I do, then ppl will agree.

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matt June 02, 2013 8:37 pm

I think that clapping replay was wrongly attributed to the Britz incident, I'm pretty sure it was from later on.

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Josh Smith June 01, 2013 11:05 pm

Anybody else think that the ball looked very difficult to use? especially in the conditions! even the scrum halves struggled to put any short of shape or spin on their passes ! Never seen a rhino ball being used in any professional rugby before and struggle to see it being used again!

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Nick June 02, 2013 12:13 am

Some of these comments are comical. I'd say 95% of you have never played a credible standard of rugby so your opinions are fickle. Many of you remain oblivious to the fact humidity hit over 90%, with players like Maitland who had very little involvement dripping in their own sweat, so of course for orchestrators like Farrell distribution and basics like catching became an issue, if you watch him week in week out his passing of both hands is second to none. Might I suggest, that it would be more constructive to back this group of players rather than being over critical of individual performances. If Jonny sexton or Tom croft make a few unforced errors in any of their outlings prior to the test series, I can guarantee you would not be quite as vigorous in scrutinising their own contribution. Bore off

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Loubo June 02, 2013 12:34 am

Hear hear, its as if you're all expecting textbook performances across the board, from day one. It's a 'tour', with a number of games in the lead up to a Test series which is the whole reason for going there.

Basic skills will not be a worry based on today's performance as the conditions were like nothing the majority, if not all the players, involved in the match day squad had experienced before.

Don't underestimate the conditions they played in, nor the time it will take to get the systems spot on. There will be moments of brilliance to come, from a world class squad, but you can't expect it all to happen in the first 80 minutes of rugby. Especially considering Gatland tried to cap as many of the new Lions as possible (17 if I remember correctly). Playing a bit-part invitational side wouldn't have provided top class, structured opposition either, unfair to judge lapses in basic skills and attempts at going for the 50/50 options.

Don't jump on the pessimistic band-wagon just yet.

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Facepalm June 02, 2013 1:27 am

You understand this is a rugby forum , right? Calling other people fickle sort of defeats the purpose of having a discussion. Who are you to say you're better?

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DrG June 02, 2013 12:29 pm

I lived in HK for 13 years and played 7's and 15's for 10 of those years... Now who is fickle...?

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MattyP June 03, 2013 6:21 am

Mate we play every week in those conditions here in Singapore without the dropsies. And without two water breaks a half. No different to playing in the wet.

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Stefan J June 02, 2013 1:03 am

everyone's taking about how Farrell played so poor yet the guys only 21 give him a chance hes general play was good he did what needed to be done just the passing from the both teams was poor because of the slippery ball and humid conditions. Real impressed with the work of Healy and Adam Jones but concern for me against the Aussies is the hooker slot after Hibbards poor game and Youngs throwing. Big challenge's at second row with Gray and Paul having good games but Alwyn coming off the bench was outstanding and still with Parling too. Back rows, Lydiate played good seeming hes had very little game time prior to the tour and Justin was outstanding, Toby had a again consistent performer but id like to see Croft 6, Justin/Sam 7 and Sean O'B at 8 strong, powerful and aggressive player. At 9 mike was outstanding again was hard to get a passing game going in the humidity and wet ball so he took it up and used his power and size and ended up with 2 world class tries, centre is going to be a massive massive problem for Warren with Jamie and Jon playing their best rugby and then with BOD and Manu yet to feature and with them obviously keen on playing North there too. thanks Stefan

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matt June 02, 2013 8:43 pm

I thought Hibbard played okay. I liked his ball carrying and work rate. Also, the baabaas had Samu Manoa in at 6, who is far from a finished article and made PoC's try too easy, but he is very disruptive to an oppos carrying game because of his defensive work. As far as I'm aware the Aussies don't have a 6 like that.

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hedderball June 02, 2013 11:13 pm

Hooker? Thank God Best is back in now as an alternative to those mentioned instead of that langer Hartley

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MattyP June 03, 2013 6:25 am

The first try was from a dummy my mum wouldn't fall for, and the second was just a defensive positioning error from a scratch side resulting in a gap you could drive a truck through and nobody came within metres of him. Yeah, he spotted the gap, but so did I sitting behind the goal posts 100 metres away. Two world class tries? He'll have to do better than that with the Aussie back row covering.

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brawnybalboa June 02, 2013 1:04 am

I couldn't help but feel like this was just a glorified training session for the Lions. The conditions were horrific, and the BaaBaas were sadly uncompetitive (no point having Laulala, Rokocoko, Nygwenya, Parisse, Yachvili & Harinordoquy if they don't get any ball!).

The Welsh boys looked great, Farrell & Maitland looked very average (to be polite), and O'Connell looked every bit like he should be the tour captain. But then again, the conditions were very difficult. Fortunately we have a few games ahead of us to cast our eyes on the squad before the tests to get some proper assessments on players.

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matt June 02, 2013 8:45 pm

Yachvilli had plenty of ball, he just had an absolute shocker.

I agree PoC looked every bit the captain, I thought they should have made him it from the start and then encouraged the English and Welsh contingents to rally around the Irish

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Anthony June 02, 2013 11:01 am

I have played in that sort of heat and humidity. It is murder. The salt from your sweat is constantly getting in your eyes, your hands are always soaking wet. It was the only time in my life that I can remember my palms actually sweating. Under such horrendous conditions, the lad were brilliant. 59 points! What more do you want?

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ye budday June 02, 2013 12:31 pm

I think Phillips and Roberts were amazing, both back to their ways of the '09 tour. But for more, Farrell made too many mistakes, yes the odd spill of the ball and miss judged kick is expected in conditions like that, but for an international fly half who is contending for a Lions test spot, he made too many, too many charged down kicks, dropped balls, bad passes and he single handedly ruined what would have been one of the greatest tries in Lions history. The pack was good as a whole, no stand out performers for me, I must have missed bits going by everyones judgments on Vunipola's game. Fitness was immense in horrible conditions, and towards the end the really clicked, and for people to say that Sexton would've made the same mistakes as Farrell, Sexton did come on, and though he didn't have a whole game, he did play an amazing style and variety of rugby with minimum mistakes. Overall, with players to still come into the side, it looks like a very promising tour.

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Loubo June 02, 2013 1:21 pm

"One of the greatest tries in Lions history"?! I'm not sure about that!

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Canadian content June 02, 2013 7:28 pm

In a non test match? Sure why not. Went threw what 9 pairs of hands, involved a grubber... Would have been a stunner.

Farrell looked out of his depth with the ball in hand. He can do well if counted on to just give it to Roberts and kick high balls. but the ozzies will focus on shutting down his options and forcing him to beat them. Sexton offers much more with the ball in hand.

I'll get a lot of guff here, but I feel the same way about Phillips. He is a great rugby player, when he's on, one of the top players in the world, I'm not kidding. He carries incredibly well, holds the ball in two hands and takes the option, defends like a backrow, in a menace in the loose, I can't imagine how dominate he'd be in 7's... but he doesn't distribute well. If you plan for his game, tight and abrasive, I think you can shut him down. Both Youngs and Murray will do more to get their teammates involved. On form, Phillips will start, but don't be surprised to see the ozzies have a plan for him.

Gray was all over the field, but he gets away with being off his feet far too much at the offensive ruck.

Tipuric was the MOM in my opinion, warbs should be concerned.

Lydiate was quiet, not his kinda game, too offensive.

BOD must be nervous with Davies performance, who I thought was better than Roberts, who was also good. He's a real allrounder.

Maitland looked out of sorts, he must play well in the future.

Cuthbert looked strong, did what he had too.

POC was strong, a test contender. Jones did well too, lock and centres the most fierce battles for tests spots.

Jones was great.

No hooker impressed. Best has a shot

Vunapola was very good, should make the other loosies nervous.

Stevens was out of his depth.

Faletau was good, so was heaslip, both in the test team. heaslip better bring it next game.

This is gonna be great!

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Bard June 02, 2013 6:26 pm

Don't understand some of comments praising some players.

I genuinely didn't realise Lydiate was on the pitch until he scored, totally anonymous.

Phillips scored 2 tries and was obviously a great physical presence but his passing game (even permitting the lousy conditions) was shocking. Totally baffled as to why no one else seems to have picked up how few of his passes were delivered with any kind of accuracy or pace.

Whilst Farrell didn't have a great game I think he has had way too much stick for his reaction to Brits' punch and yellow card. He is a combative, single minded player and that is what puts him above others for me.

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UpTheLowEnd June 02, 2013 8:53 pm

Not sure i'd include Farrell's single-mindedness as one of his strengths.

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Pipo June 02, 2013 11:06 pm

Farrell's reaction wasn't that bad considering he had gotten punched. It could be argued that he deserved a yellow too, but in any case:

being combative is ok but ridiculous and derisive celebrations (clapping and smiling) at the opposition getting a yellow EVEN if you were involved in the action leading to it just lowers my opinion of him. A lot.

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Lazz June 02, 2013 9:03 pm

Really? in my opinion (and its MY opinion you don't need to agree or disagree) i thought he was poor! You say Phillips wasn't giving him much to work with as if every pass Phillips gave him was substandard, i think this was the case maybe twice in the entire game which Phillips went on to become MOM. At the end of the day Farrell is young and has a long time to learn his trade i just personally don't think he has enough maturity to cope with international rugby never mind a lions tour at this moment in time. I do however agree that he gets far more stick than he deserves but if he acts like Chris Ashton or Jamie Cudmore (constantly winding people up) then trouble is going to find him as it did today! Without trying to cause TOO much controversy can i ask a question and yes it is a genuine questions so only serious answers please, Is there anyone outside of England that see's Owen Farrell as a Lion?

SUFTUM!!!!

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DanKnapp June 02, 2013 10:27 pm

I'm English, and I was surprised at his inclusion, but I actually don't think we have as much depth at 10 as elsewhere. Farrell is OK (for an international) but he's no Wilkinson. Sexton has him beaten hands down, in my book. I also think that the way Sexton plays for his club is more exciting to watch than Farrell in the Saracens structure. Would rather see Sexton start and play really well than Farrell.

Having said that, Farrell can really turn on the physicality and his aggravating side (if he gets the right balance) can work in his favour. I'd like to see him develop into a fuller 10, but I don't think that'll happen at Saracens. He's not learning to play with enough flair or flow to his game. Can't blame him for that. I'd like to see someone like Ford come through the system and replace him in a year or two, but we'll have to see.

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Tc June 02, 2013 9:45 pm

Given the conditions, it's a sensible ploy to have Phillips sniping round the fringes. The problem with Phillips is that this is his only game. I would find him very frustrating if I supported Wales, because everything he does is based around looking for gaps for himself. His service is slow, because he takes 2-3 steps before passing at every ruck. There's no hope of a 10 playing flat

I completely take the point that a good 9 will draw players around the fringes and make holes, but you have to mix it up. Variety keeps defences guessing.

quick ball however, should be passed off the floor and not after having a quick look + a couple of steps. You need a vocal 10, but equally an unblinkered 9.

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DanKnapp June 02, 2013 10:29 pm

I think Youngs and Sexton would be an exciting combination. Hopefully they'll start together on Wednesday.

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lambo_SH June 02, 2013 11:15 pm

Thought it was a decent performance, if one of the reasons people say the Barbarians struggled is because they hardly know each other as player you have to take that into consideration with the Lions too; sure they've had a few weeks together but that's their first game in anger as a team.

The pack played very well, bullied them Ba Baas all over the park. Hooker is a worry, not convinced by either Hibbard or Youngs. Best would have been my first choice before he was left out and I'd still have him as the test hooker. Gray and O'Connell both looked good, they'd be my starting 2nd row.

Lydiate was quiet but his game is all about spoiling, and the Barbarian's never really offered much to spoil. He didn't have a bad game though.

Phillips is a great all round player, but he'll never be a world class 9 in my opinion because his distribution just isn't good enough. He's either too slow, or when he tries to speed things up the quality goes.

Farrell didn't have a great game but some of the criticism is a bit OTT.

Centres were excellent, although I think Davies is getting a bit more praise than he deserves. He had a good game but Roberts impressed me more, I thought Davies fumbled a few too many passes.

Maitland looked like someone trying too hard, I think looking at the squad from when it was announced he was one who you thought would struggle to make the test team and I think he knows it.

Cuthbert scores a lot of tries which surprises me as I don't think he's particularly great! Very poor defensively too.

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AussieJohn June 02, 2013 11:56 pm

Why was Shayne Warne playing for the Lions?

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brawnybalboa June 03, 2013 10:38 am

love the cut in the video. The commentator says "There is absolutely no question about this young mans temperament", next thing we see is him exchanging punches with a front row forward! Classic!

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Vinnie June 03, 2013 10:39 am

It's a good work out in a sauna room, good occasion getting the team together. Still lots of work to be done.

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15atHeart June 03, 2013 11:07 am

This comment sums it up perfectly regarding Farrell, IMHO. The inability to see a try scoring line from 10 metres out is astonishingly poor for any one let alone a fly half. His whole attitude is wrong, he looks and acts like a spoilt brat. I read an earlier comment about his defensive attributes, crazy! Unless the attacker runs directly at him he's useless. He has no pace going forward or back, no natural talent.
I'm an Englishman and I don't want him in an England shirt and certainly not a Lion.

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Colombes June 03, 2013 11:07 am

Nice victory by Wales
Baabaa's concept should be reformed isn't it?

And like many, quite amused by the usual personal-branling comment on Farrell "There is absolutely no question about this young mans temperament" and few minutes later, he's involved in a scuffle with his sarrie team-mate Brits

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Drivenend June 03, 2013 2:24 pm

I think Maitland is getting a bit of unfair criticism. He tackeld well, hit rucks and went looking for the ball. The 2 tries Cuthbert scored could have been finished off by any of the Lions wings if they had been there. Maitland was never given the ball in space where he could run. He did look seriously quick when running through on the grubber kick and Yachvili was clever to slide the ball away. I would say he is different from the other wingers as he is not all power but a bit more footwork and pace, hopefully he will get another chance, possibly even at FB is Kearney isn't fit.

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