Step and unbelievable dummy sets up try


Streaker starts mass brawl after tackle


Sam Burgess breaks cheekbone, plays on


Female Streaker has no regrets


Tameifuna's huge hit on Michael Hooper


Why you should always tackle low


Ben Flower red card for vicious punches


Southland sensational try after big bump


Benito Masilevu's huge side-steps

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The British and Irish Lions power past the Western Force in Perth

Skipper Brian O'Driscoll scored twice as the British and Irish Lions beat a weakened Western Force outfit 69-17 in Perth earlier today. Leigh Halfpenny kicked eleven from eleven kicks as the tourists flexed their muscles in their first midweek game.

The Lions had little trouble brushing aside the Force in their first match on Australian soil, scoring nine tries in the process as new caps got a run out to push for a Test spot.

The Force offered little resistance in a mid-season fixture that they didn't seem very motivated for. 

The tourists went about their business though, dominating up front while flyhalf Jonny Sexton ran lovely lines and found his runners. The loose forward trio of Sean O'Brien, Tom Croft and Jamie Heaslip were superb, giving Warren Gatland more of a selection headache over the next month.

The one negative from the game came as prop Cian Healy went off injured in the first half with what looked like a serious and painful leg injury, but is more likely ligament related. 

"He went for an X-ray and the medics say it wasn't broken," said head coach Warren Gatland.

"We just assume it is ligament damage. He may need a scan to further delve into the potential of the injury. We will potentially talk about someone who we might bring out once we find out what condition Cian is in. If it is more serious we will quickly look at getting a replacement out."

There was an allegation of a bite by Healy earlier in the game, with fiesty Brett Sheehan remonstrating to the Ireland loosehead after a ruck close to the tryline. Coach Michael Foley has said it was dealt with on the field [the TMO couldn't find sufficient video evidence], but citing commissioner Freek Burger has 12 hours from the end of the match to review the tapes.

While the Lions have scored 128 points and 17 tries in just two outings, the opposition hasn't been up to the standard required for sufficient Test series preparation.

That will change soon, and the run outs will have been good for combinations and confidence, ahead of their next best test, which will be the Reds in Brisbane this coming Saturday.

CIAN HEALY UPDATE: Alex Corbisiero has been called up, from England's tour of Argentina, as cover for Healy. His arrival date will be confirmed soon.

"Cian has had an X-ray and, while his left ankle is not broken, he will be assessed further when we get to Brisbane. In the meantime we need to get Alex over here as soon as possible and I am thankful to Stuart Lancaster for letting him go so quickly," said Warren Gatland.

View Extended Highlights | Tommy Bowe interview | Manu Tuilagi interview

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Posted at 11:57 am | 40 comments

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 40 comments

UceLove June 05, 2013 5:35 pm

'eard 'im scream lol

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DanKnapp June 05, 2013 6:38 pm

Great showing. Not many negative points. Handsomely dispatched the team in front of them - can't help the fact that the Farce decided not to let 8 of their first team players take part in a once-in-a-lifetime match against the Lions.

Very happy with everyone's showings. Bring on Saturday! I could get used to this twice-a-week rugby.

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Pipo June 05, 2013 11:53 pm

The Farce? You mean the Lions management are a farce? It is, to me, their fault and nobody else's for scheduling a match so close to the next Super 15 game of The Force.

The Force's coach, I'm sure I read this somewhere, explained they wanted to have the game the weekend before but the Lions preferred to go to Hong Kong (maybe HSBC is to blame?). He, the coach, obviously gets paid to reach a decent position in the Super 15, not to play against the lions, I find it absolutely reasonable to keep some players out. Now, I am sure you are not insinuating that the best 15 of The Force play 2 games so close to each other, because that would be dangerous to them and therefore unacceptable from a coach to ask from his players.

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TotesMcGoates June 06, 2013 1:34 am

The weekend before the Hong Kong game, eight Lions were in the Rabo final and six were in the Premiership final. In any case, the Force had their wooden spoon clash with the Highlanders that weekend. I don't think that playing it that weekend is entirely practical.

I take your point about Foley's interest being in the Super 15 and not in a friendly against a touring side but at the end of the day, the Force have a nothing game against the 'Tahs at the weekend and then have five weeks off before playing their final game. With very few Wallabies absent from the squad, I think it's reasonable to expect a bit more from them.

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Pipo June 06, 2013 1:46 am

The idea of The Force's coach was not to play the week before Hong Kong, but THAT weekend, INSTEAD of HK, when The Force had no games (if I'm correct).

Why the Lions went to Hong Kong? That's for the management to answer. But you can't blame the lack of time because of domestic NH finals on the Australian sides and expect them to adjust entirely to whatever the Lions demand.

I've thought for a long time now that the pro rugby schedule is either too full or not distributed properly along the year. This seems to back up my views.

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TotesMcGoates June 06, 2013 9:12 am

Well, the funny thing about the situation is that the Force should WANT to play the Lions. Think about it, it’s a lucrative game (more lucrative than the Waratahs game will be at the weekend, I’m willing to bet), only happens once every 12 years and it brings some exposure to them for fans in the NH. Whilst I agree, the scheduling is not favourable to them (four day turnaround); they will have played only two games in seven weeks. Not exactly taxing!

My main beef is that I feel sorry for any of the players who would have liked to take part that may have missed out. Looking forward to the Reds game.

"Playing against The British & Irish Lions is a once in a career type opportunity, so to be running out in front of a sold-out Suncorp Stadium crowd on Saturday night will be an experience these 23 players will never forget," Reds Director of Coaching Ewen McKenzie said.

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DrG June 06, 2013 11:15 am

I'd imagine the Lions went to HK because of HSBC sponsoring the tour...I'm with Totes, I'd have thought the Force would WANT to play the Lions... There was rumours of my local team being up against a team that was going to field an ex international of VERY high standard and I WANTED to play that game. A chance to play against an extremely high standard player was a brilliant prospect.....sadly he never played...

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benj June 06, 2013 10:00 pm

3 things.

the force are at the bottom of the aussie conference, with no chance of winning anything this year.

they cant get relegated from the competition as its a closed conference.

Australia and Australian rugby stand to make a much needed fortune out of the lions visit.

so for those reasons Michael Foley has severely underestimated and misunderstood the significance of this fixture which happens once every 12 years. Clearly the force have missed out on an opportunity to cause an upset of which would have raised the stakes and overall interest in the tour and would ultimately improve support for our great game.


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iluvyomumma June 05, 2013 7:28 pm

1. Why can Farrell not offer a running game like that normally?! First time I've seen him make a break!!

2. Can someone who watched the full game comment on how Tuilagi played please? As an Irishman, I'm leaning towards Tuilagi to partner BOD ahead of Roberts atm. I know Roberts was very good with O'Driscoll in '09 buying just feel Tuilagi offers more even though he's not really a 12.

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Tc June 05, 2013 10:25 pm

He would have looked a bit stupid if he didn't score here, as there was a 6/7 man overlap

A bit harsh however. i know he has a lot of critics, but its one thing making a break vs this opposition, different against international teams. I think the biggest requirement of any pivot is bringing others into the game and putting others into holes

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Jimothy June 05, 2013 8:42 pm

Halfpenny = Awesome. Takes the pressure off Sexton/Farrell so they can concentrate on ball playing. Kicking like that means he's got to be a sure starter!!! I would go as far as to say that this game showed Gatland what his starting backs should be. I think North and Bowe provide a variety of options compared to AC and who needs a winger to bosh the ball up when Manu is there. BOD, although David played well, is just in a different class and reads the game so beautifully! Maybe start Roberts at 12 and then after 50 minutes bring on a fresh Manu! Wouldn't want that in my channel.

15. Halfpenny
14. Bowe
13. O'Driscoll
12. Roberts (50 minutes Manu)
11. North
10. Sexton
9. Sniping game Phillips, quick ball Youngs
1. Jenkins (50 minutes Maku)
2. Best
3. Cole
4. POC
5. Parling
6. Croft
7. Tipuric
8. Heaslip

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Jimothy June 05, 2013 9:05 pm

I think Cole offers more options. Aussie's scrum not the greatest and Cole offers much more in the loose than Jones. Against someone like South Africa I would possibly choose AJ ahead of Cole!

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brawnybalboa June 05, 2013 9:35 pm

But then why not take advantage of the fact that Jones is the superior scrummager? I would rather dominate the scrum and gain a few penalties and shots at goal for Halfpenny/Sexton/Farrell than settle for parity. Gatland likes a dominant set piece, and he is more likely to get it with Adam.

At the other prop position, I am really looking forward to seeing Alex Corbisiero get some game time. He is a better scrummager than Vunipola and Jenkins.

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Jimothy June 05, 2013 10:01 pm

Because Jones is, imo, only a marginally better scrummager and more is needed against them which is what Cole offers.

Wasn't settling for parity, think Cole would dominate any Australian loosehead and gain just as many penalties as Jones would. Plus I'm a rugby romantic and hope Lions tests don't come down to which team has the best boot!

As for Alex, I would totally agree and although one player can't win a game I think the six nations might have had a slightly different outcome had Corbisiero been playing against Jones. Plus better rapport with Walsh!

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Tc June 05, 2013 10:33 pm

Cole is an excellent scrummager. Don't forget he's kept Castro out of the tigers starting line up for a while now

England's scrum had a bad day and some "curious" refereeing against Wales, so please don't judge a player on one performance and don't forget 4 other players contribute to a scrum (leaning doesn't count)

Adam jones is a very good scrummager and very savvy, but also a bit of a pudding round the park, so is a lesser option IMHO

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brawnybalboa June 06, 2013 1:29 am

Cole is a good player, but Castrogiovanni is not the Castrogiovanni of old. As Phil Vickey said on Scrum V you get a lot of hair flicking, gestures and complaining with Castro, but no longer the scrummaging prowess (shame really, he was one of my favourite players).

Judging Cole against Wales would be like judging Jones against France. For whatever reasons (lightweight tight 5 and poor pitch respectively) top class props will have poor days at the office.

Either way as long as Gatland makes the right call, and picks the right players for the style of rugby he wants to play, I am happy! We are Lions fans now, not Welsh and English.

That is part of the fun with the Lions, 2 people can pick 2 starting XV's and may not pick the same player in any position!

Going back to your original XV, loving picking Croft and Tipuric at 6 & 7, for the rugby romantic in me that is a perfect pairing for an open game

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UpTheLowEnd June 05, 2013 11:06 pm

I like it! Although in my mind Best is still the 3rd choice hooker. I'd even go as far to say that maybe Youngs should get the nod as the test hooker. Sure his throwing is nothing to write home about, but neither is either of the two other contenders. Youngs is comfortably the best in the loose (IMO), and as has been said, the scrums aren't going to be the biggest battle to win so that shouldn't be too much of an issue.

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ConorL June 05, 2013 11:51 pm

Not bad, but you have to fit SOB into that back row somehow! I'd have him ahead of Croft any day of the week. Also, I don't think Parling is anything more than 4th choice at the moment. Wyn Jones and Gray are both well ahead of him IMO

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dave June 06, 2013 1:19 am

I think everyone is downplaying parling, sure he's not that "sexy pick" but out of all the locks I would argue he has the highest workrate and he's very skilled, i've heard him compared in style to the all black locks like whitelock

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ConorL June 06, 2013 2:45 am

I think Parling's main problem is one of numbers. If you assume that POC has one of the second row slots sewn up, that leaves four guys fighting it out for just one spot. I can't see him being able to do enough in 3/4 games to separate himself and stand out from the crowd, especially considering two of the other three locks are Welsh and Gatland naturally favours them.

POC and AWJ will be the Test locks IMO

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DrG June 06, 2013 3:47 pm

Not trying to sound insulting, but you have to think that potentially there is 4 second row spots up for grabs... or at least 3. True there is only the 2 starting spots, but I don't know if POC has a full 80 strong minutes in him... I await for my opinion to be debunked but, I'm not sure he has it nailed for the full game...

I favour Gray (when on form) over Parling...

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ConorL June 07, 2013 12:34 am

I'm not sure I get what point you are trying to make here. How on earth can there be 4 second row spots up for grabs?? Last I checked, a rugby team consists of 2 second rows, not 3 or 4!

Are you trying to say that Gray or Parling will make the bench and come on for POC after 60mins? If so, that is kind of irrelevant as we are talking about the STARTING Test XV. I'm not sure what POC's ability to go the full 80 has to do with anything.

Whether he lasts the full match or not, the fact remains he is one of perhaps only 4 players in the whole squad who is nailed on to start the first Test (Phillips, Sexton and Halfpenny being the others IMO).

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DrG June 07, 2013 1:04 am

Yes Copernicus I was talking about the bench, last time I checked its nice to have a secon row or two that can come on. POC lasting the full 80 or not has a lot to do with it... If a player can't then generally the practised reaction is to take then off and bring on a fresh set of legs... Substitutions are quite a new phenomenon though, I learnt about it from this new website that just launched called google...

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DrG June 05, 2013 8:49 pm

Hear Cian Healy has been cited for gnashing on a scrummies arm *tut tut tut* sigh...

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brawnybalboa June 05, 2013 9:36 pm

I find it interesting that the two players who were being cited by people as undeserving of touring due to poor personal conduct were Hartley and Healy. Not a week of the tour has passed and potentially both may be gone!

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Cat June 05, 2013 10:38 pm

Something funny about over analysing a rugby tour no one cares about. Not even the opposing teams.

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Jimothy June 05, 2013 10:42 pm

Really, no one, I count 8 above! Why come and comment on something you're not bothered about?

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DaRabman June 05, 2013 11:11 pm

Aw bless, wee scone trying to stir it up

Nice try :)

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Facepalm June 05, 2013 11:37 pm

I'm not sure O'Driscoll is the guaranteed test start most people are implying. He's not got the same pace now he's approaching his pension. Don't write off Davies. Him at 13 with either Roberts or Tuilagi at 12 would give huge cause for concern for the ozzy centres.

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Tc June 05, 2013 11:50 pm

Not sure you can take two clips in isolation to make a point, especially when neither are consistent with the present. Of course he has lost pace, but with 3 crash centres you need someone with a bit of vision and ball skill.

If you want to use one of those clips for anything it should be to justify Ben foden being on the plane if Kearney isn't fit

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ConorL June 06, 2013 12:10 am

Agree with Tc. Pace isn't everything. Vision, awareness, handling, tackling, ability to create/exploit space are all vital skills for a centre, and BOD is light years ahead of Davies in those departments.

Davies is quality, but a fully fit and on form BOD is different class.

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JK June 06, 2013 10:44 am

Is there really that much of a difference in pace in the two videos you posted?

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Facepalm June 06, 2013 12:15 pm

Yes there clearly is. Obviously I'm not writing off BOD as a player but Davies is a much greater attacking threat with his pace.

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Flying Dutchman June 06, 2013 2:27 pm

O'Driscoll's pace isn't the aspect that made him the great centre back then. It helped finish some great tries but his real brilliance lies in the skill and vision he has both in defence and offence. No other centre can spot the cracks in a defence like O'Driscoll can and if he still has that magic about him (which I think he does) he should be able to put over any of the Lions back 3 over the line.

No disrespect to Davies, who is obviously a class player, but I think he still has and always will have a huge amount he can learn from O'Driscoll.

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Full Back June 07, 2013 10:38 am

I'd tend to disagree that there's the gap you're implying. Nobody's saying he's as quick as he always was, but you're talking maybe half a sec over 30metres lost. The biggest difference to be seen in the two clips for me is Fodens cover defence against some sloppy Aussie defending in '91.
I'm a huge BoD fan, have met the man and all, but as well as he took that try, he'd be the first to tell you that if he'd been hit with a tackle he'd have been isolated. In the second clip he doesn't pin his ears back, as a more seasoned player he looks for the off load on the inside.

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acreda June 06, 2013 12:07 am

He can make breaks but the opportunists have to present themselves, i remember Farrell making a very clean break against Gloucester @ kingsholm, he just ran from some depth behind a ruck, on to the fly half's shoulder and through the side of a bodygaurd that was a heavy forward, shame that Goode couldn’t get to the line off that!

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Lucius June 06, 2013 3:23 pm

No one cares about the two "Farce" tries?

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