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Prop lays into fullback with big shot


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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

British and Irish Lions thump Combined Country in Newcastle

The Lions scored ten tries on their way to beating a Combind Country midweek team 64-0 in Newcastle on Tuesday. The home side were totally overwhelmed early on, but put up a good fight in the second half, with Lions inaccuracy frustrating Brian O'Driscoll.

In the first half the Lions were beating the clock for the most part, scoring a point a minute on their way to what looked to be the first 100 pointer of the tour. In the second half errors crept in though as the Combined Country side never gave up and conceded just four tries.

"We probably got a little bit flat, and the accuracy of some of the passing suffered," said O'Driscoll. "Balls were thrown behind when a little bit of depth might have made things an awful lot easier."

The damage was already done though, as the Lions scored six slick tries in the first half, before adding four more in the second, and opting to bring on a number of replacements.

"It's a lot of use. The team only had one training session together. There was some excellent stuff and some average stuff as well," said Lions coach Warren Gatland.

He was full of praise for young Stuart Hogg, who played flyhalf for the first time in years.

"I thought he played very well. I was very pleased with his performance. He kicked and ran well, played nice and flat. It was a really good performance from him."

Combined Country coach Cameron Blades was very impressed with the Lions but said that he feels the Wallabies will be able to negate their attacking threat.

"We showed in the second half that if you get in their faces, they can make some errors," he said.

"If you can cut down their time to work with, there is turnover ball to be had. But they are a slick outfit and it is going to be a cracking series."

British and Irish Lions coverage | Midyear Tours Highlights

Posted at 5:36 pm | 39 comments

Posted in British & Irish Lions 2013

Viewing 39 comments

themull June 11, 2013 11:26 pm

Backrow was immense again...O' Brien and Tipuric both put in huge efforts and both were also effective with ball in hand...Unless Warburton steps up his game a lot it's gonna be a real shame for him to probably keep both of these players on the bench or worse...O' Driscoll, Maitland, Murray and North were also very good on the day...Both scrumhalf and backrow are going to be very difficult decisions to make as pretty much every player in those areas is playing really good rugby

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themull June 11, 2013 11:28 pm

*Cuthbert not north :)

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Bish Bash Bosh June 12, 2013 12:00 am

Wouldn't think you could learn much from a 64-0 training exercise over non-professional opposition, but Hogg may just have played himself into a bench spot ahead of Farrell (obviously Halfpenny and Sexton are nailed-on for actual starts in his two positions). Even as an England fan I'm excited about that, as he offers more with ball in hand than Farrell - and Halfpenny will be taking the kicks anyway.

Still not sure what centre partnership I'd go for (and can't predict Gatland on that one either), but the backrow of O'Brien - Tipuric - Heaslip has to be the favourite, with Warburton on the bench. Suspect they may go with Warburton starting at 6 and have O'Brien as the sub though. And Gatland will pick Phillips at 9 every day of the week.

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Bish Bash Bosh June 12, 2013 12:17 am

Barring injuries, my current prediction for the first Test would be:

1. Corbisiero
2. Hibbard
3. Jones
4. AW Jones
5. O'Connell
6. Warburton
7. Tipuric
8. Heaslip
9. Phillips
10. Sexton
11. North
12. Roberts
13. O'Driscoll
14. Cuthbert
15. Halfpenny

16. Youngs
17. Vunipola
18. Cole
19. Evans
20. O'Brien
21. Murray
22. Hogg
23. Tuilagi

Which isn't to say that's my preferred lineup, I'm just speculating...

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mrjmmlc June 12, 2013 4:27 am

evans? really? our weakest second row. parling should be starting! in not, at least on the bench

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ruckinmaul June 12, 2013 12:17 pm

yeah! I'm with you. Parling was superb in the lineout against the Reds. I think the best jumper they have right now

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UpTheLowEnd June 12, 2013 1:24 pm

Im not sure they'd risk having 2 out and out 7's instead of a 6 nd a 7. If Gats keeps to his word it should be Tipuric and either O'Brien or Croft... although even if it does go that way it'll be Lydiate that he picks. Although I have no doubts that Warburton'll be playing the first test regardless of form (or lack thereof).

Also, I recon Vunipola and Cole might get the start, unless they see Vunipola as a major impact player that can't sustain a full 80. Cole offers hugely more in the loose than Jones and not much less in the scrum!

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07015678 June 12, 2013 8:23 pm

Richie Gray has to start! He has been immense.

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DrG June 12, 2013 12:19 am

I agree with above sentiments, I think it's gonna be hard to take much away. I have found in the past when our team plays a game we SHOULD win easily, there are more school boy errors than ever, perhaps some complacency, occasionally in big scoring matches there is also a tendency to get a bit of white line fever with a "must get on scoresheet" sort of attitude, both I felt were apparent in the second half in this game.

I felt Maitland and Hogg played very well. I personally rate Hogg ahead of Farrell...

Thought the Aussies did well to keep their heads up. Must have been a massive game for many!! Would have loved a run out against the Lions :)

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WelshOsprey June 12, 2013 12:28 am

Thought Maitland and Hogg looked great playing in unusual positions. O'Brien and Tipuric looked quality together they complimented eachother perfectly.

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ron June 12, 2013 12:51 am

with Hogg playing so well with ball in hand it makes it even more frustrating to see him missing his kicks. I'd love to see how he holds up at 10 against tougher competition but I dont see it happening. I think if Sexton really impresses in the next few weeks i'd have to go for Sexton at 10 and Hogg at 15.

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DanKnapp June 12, 2013 8:10 am

But if you've got Halfpenny in the team, what does it matter if Hogg isn't kicking well. He won't be kicking in the tests!

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ron June 12, 2013 4:10 pm

But is he good enough for the 10 jersey? Otherwise he's not going to make it into the starting 15, a center partnership with BOD could potentially be explosive!

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mise June 12, 2013 1:29 am

Tipuric and SOB are real standouts, so far and of course both have been excellent when played and played in position in the last 2 years in general.

Yet one of the two will probably loose out because of the need for a pre-named series captain. That they complement each other just confounds the strangeness.

Surely a captain for the day is a captain, and that should override the notion of a series captain? Esp if someone else with experience as an international captain just takes over (e.g. POC or BOD, or any other old geezer!)

Thoughts?

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DanKnapp June 12, 2013 8:12 am

I agree. I understand why Gatland chose Warburton, but I wish he'd left his options completely open. Back row is our strongest area by a country mile.

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Ally June 12, 2013 1:35 am

Hogg could be a viable option at 10 (probably not but give him credit for running a game in a key position he hasn't played in years and doing it well even against weakish opposition) or 15.

Halfpenny could pay on the wing or 15. Both are players you would want in your team (Halfpenny for his superb kicking and pace, and Hogg for his all round game frankly) and are on form.

I think it's exciting to have Hogg, Halfpenny, Cuthbert, North, Maitland all playing so well. Competition for places is good. Phillips will be scrumhalf and I think backrow will be O'Brien, Tipuric, Warburton, Heaslip although who will start is hard to say - all deserve it probably.

It's beginning to look like a strong team potentially.

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DrG June 12, 2013 3:31 am

Whilst I like the idea of Hogg being on the field against the Wallabies, I just don't see it. Maybe as a back up 10/15...

I just think 1/2p has the 15 shirt nailed down pretty well. The man is brilliant under high ball (minus that interesting take in this game where he got flattened by the ball lol!) He can kick like a beast and he has great vision and is not afraid of a big tackle. I think Hogg has similar attributes but his kicking is not AS good and he is less experienced....

As others have said Tipuric and SOB were brilliant, would like to see them and Heaslip in the back row, or perhaps Croft?? Maybe or lineout option?? But I have to agree I can see perhaps one of them being left out to incorporate Warburton... Unless SOB goes to 8?

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mrjmmlc June 12, 2013 4:23 am

players who must be on the starting test team: parling, obrien, heaslip, sexton, north, halfpeny
players who must be on the 23: vunipola, jones, d cole, awjones, oconel, warburton, phillips, BOD

my test-23 from what ive seen:
1 vunipola (most in form prop)
2 hibbard
3 jones (cole would have much more impact coming off the bench for the last 30min than the other way around)
4 awjones (could as easily have POC starting)
5 parling
6 obrien (our best back rower, has to start)
7 warburton (as is captain, very likely to start)
8 heaslip (better than faletau, in form and more experienced and who cant forget him playing in SA 4 years ago...)
9 phillips (most likely)
10 sexton
11 north (in great form)
12 tuilagi (thoughest choice here! id give a chance to tuilagi)
13 BOD
14 maitland/zebo/cuthberth/hogg (have no idea lol could even have hogg starting here or halpeny with kearney at 15)
15 halfpeny

16 youngs
17 corbisiero (better than grant)
18 cole
19 POC
20 tipuric (feel sorry for croft after his games 4 years ago, but tipuric has been in great form all year and deserves it)
21 youngs (could be muray,depends on last two games)
22 roberts (have to take the center thats not starting)
23 hogg (would prefer him over farel and be able to take the other center)

we also need to wait and see how kearney goes, but he s likely to miss at least first test. also gatland really likes lydiate, but i dont see him having a place in this team.

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DanKnapp June 12, 2013 8:14 am

Hogg must be loving this tour. 20 years old, playing well, been shown a lot of faith and selected to play in an unusual position. Plus all the inevitable banter that comes with being the youngest. I'm really glad for him, I hope he's soaking it all up and making himself remember it all!

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lionstour June 12, 2013 10:36 am

Why is nobody considering Gray in the second row!? he has played extremely well so far this tour and adds some serious size to the pack as well as being pretty mobile

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07015678 June 12, 2013 8:26 pm

I know! Gray to start!

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Pipo June 13, 2013 6:54 am

Gray should definitely start for me. Every time he made a tackle at the Reds game he drove the opposition player back, and he made quite a few too!

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FatProp June 12, 2013 11:13 am

Really the biggest place up for grabs is the 14 shirt. No one has nailed it down yet and that is where we could see Hogg though it may be a waste of his talent? my team would be
1. Corbisiero
2. Hibbard/ Youngs both are throwing quite poorly which is concerning
3. Jones
4. POC
5. Gray
6. Croft
7. Tipuric
8. O'Brien
9 Phillips
10. Sexton
11. North
12. Tuilagi (just the best centre partnership I have seen so far though it may change)
13. O'Driscoll
14. Hogg
15. Halfpenny

16. Youngs/ Hibbard
17. Vunipola
18. Cole
19. Parling
20. Warburton ( can play anywhere on the back row)
21. Youngs
22. Roberts
23. Cuthbert/ Maitland ( Maitland's ability to play 13-15 does probably give him a slight advantage but neither have shown that much )
7.

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Adam Johnson June 12, 2013 11:20 am

I find it hard to believe Farrell's stock has fallen so badly that now people are genuinely seeing Hogg as stronger than him at fly-half based off of ONE senior start against a semi-pro, mostly amateur invitational outfit. REALLY? I know it's cool to dislike Farrell at the moment, but I don't think he's done much wrong on this tour. Fact is in the big match against the Reds he held his nerve and composure, kicked goals and generally from where I was sitting did well.

Yes, everyone is talking about Cardiff, but let's not forget he faced up against New Zealand not long ago and outplayed the best flyhalf in the world. And he's not that out of form at the moment. C'mon guys, let's not get ahead of ourselves and start seeing a full-time fullback as a stronger alternative. No disrespect to Hogg who's a good player and did well.

Also I just don't see why people are picking Roberts and Cuthbert in their Test teams. Roberts was anonymous for most of the 6N (another who got on the plane based solely on the England game methinks) and is easy to read defensively. Cuthbert is this tour's Monye - big guy but runs with blinkers on and defensively suspect.

Here's a novel thought - Halfpenny started his international career for Wales in the 14 jersey. Would a Test back 3 of North - Hogg - Halfpenny work? You'd have 1/2ps skills and goalkicking and running lines plus Hogg's nifty work at fullback in one team.

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mrjmmlc June 12, 2013 11:26 am

if sexton wasnt starting i would start farel, no doubt. just feel it gives better options to the bench to take hogg

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DrG June 12, 2013 11:53 am

"he faced up against New Zealand not long ago and outplayed the best flyhalf in the world."

It's in the past, that is why people are having trouble with Farrell....

In 2003 England won the Rugby world cup, and then were pants ever since... Form can switches and changes overnight, if Farrell steps his game up to NZ level, then fine, give him the 10 shirt. But at the moment Sexton is outplaying Farrell, offers more to the game, which in turn, as mrjmmlc said leaves room on the bench for a player of higher calibre all over the field, which I personally believe is Hogg....

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northdom June 12, 2013 11:52 am

Has everyone on here forgotten about Richie Gray? For someone who's literally just back from a fairly lengthy injury he's put all the other locks and a majority of our backrowers to shame. Mamoth in defence, attack and set piece.
Should be the first name down on all three test team sheets, along with North, Hogg, Lydiate and Dan Cole ... the rest is up in the air.
Additionaly, Maitland was world class yesterday; Quick, smart and unselfish

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leinsterfan June 12, 2013 12:03 pm

I can actually see Gatland benching Warburton. He can make hard decisions - don't forget he left Shaun Edwards at home. Of course, Warburton should never have been captain so it shouldn't be that hard.
for me it's
1 Vunipola
2 hibbard
3. A Jones
4. Gray
5. O'Connell (c)
6. O'Brien
7. Tipuric
8. Faletau
9. Philips
10. Sexton
11. Hogg
12. tualagi
13. O'Driscoll
14. North
15. halfpenny (kicker)

16. Youngs
17. Cole
18. Stevens
19. Parling
20. Croft
21. Youngs
22. Farrell
23. Kearney or Bowe if fit, Zebo if not

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Reality June 12, 2013 10:25 pm

I wish you were right, but he'll never bench Warburton. He picked him as the captain of the tour in spite of his form and other seemingly better candidates, and essentially nothing has changed, so his choice won't change either. As well as that, not picking the tour captain is just not something you do. It would cause too much of a rift in the camp and lead to unwanted drama, as well as causing both the captain and coach to lose face and credibility. It's the same situation as Martin Johnson appointing Steve Borthwick as captain. He shouldn't have been even starting in the first place, but after making him captain he couldn't just drop him and so stuck with him even if there were better players in the squad.

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ConnachtMan June 12, 2013 1:35 pm

Roberts + BOD in centre, they gel better and have good history, Tualagi just doesnt do it for me seems 1 dimentional...more of an impact sub

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Jimothy June 12, 2013 6:57 pm

Manu is 1 dimensional but Roberts isn't? Find me a clip of Roberts off loading...anytime :)

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Pipo June 13, 2013 7:35 am

Both Tuilagi and Roberts are the kind of players, for me, that take players out of play by going strongly into contact to create space for others; more than use up opportunities themselves, they create them.

Roberts is playing better than Tuilagi so far this tour IMO (not against great opposition, yes) and has lots more of experience (form is all about the now, but experience is valuable too).

Having said that both are great players and still young, especially Tuilagi, and I can see them both improving a lot. Roberts already distributes the ball well rather than just go into contact, I am sure Tuilagi will improve too, or hope so anyways!

Now, your comment ended with a somewhat stupid request. Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YMl9IyDJrDQ at 00:25. Roberts combining and offloading beautifully with O'Driscoll on the receiving end and ON A LIONS TOUR! There's plenty more offloads from him in that video and if you feel like watching some more, please click on the related videos on the right side.

Think before you post.

View Video

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Jimothy June 14, 2013 11:21 am

Firstly, don't end your comments with such a condescending statement! I'm not sure who you think you are or who you think you're speaking to but I'm not a 5 year old and I'll post whatever I want to post as long as it's not offensive, racist or rude!

I also feel the need to point out that it's called banter. I guess you're not aware of the term but it's something us rugby players have between each other. It is not meant to offend and if you had a sense of humour and removed your head from your own... you'd understand that.

AND Robert playing better, my arse!!!!!!

p.s. 4 minute clip and there is 1 off load, we're not talking passes, we're talking off loads in the tackle. Poor example! :)

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Jorge June 12, 2013 4:54 pm

What strikes me is Halfpenny's behaviour at the end of the match. The opposition players came to shake his hands, and he just looks down and shakes hands.
I mean, these guys are, mostly all, amateurs who just played the biggest game of their careers. A little more acknowledgment from Halfpenny wouldn't kill him.

I don't mean to judge Halfpenny based on this situation, just saying that act did not seem too nice.

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tucktuck June 12, 2013 5:21 pm

every ones team selections are excellent the truth of the matter is the selection taking on this tour is eminence but i agree that gatland will drop warburton no problem to him if hes not fit for the tahs and brumbies , what ever team is selected will give the ozzys the wooden spoon ,but one niggle for me is cuthberth he is brilliant for his support play for his trys is greats but when it comes to the wallabies i think he could be targeted for his field positioning in defence and for kick receiving positioning ,,

anyone see hoggs kick coming all the way back of the post and hitting gareth edwards in the head as he picked up the kicking tee :P

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FatProp June 12, 2013 5:58 pm

Twelvetrees has just been called up for cover. Hope he has something to do with the tour very talented player, though maybe hook should have been in the tour to start with ?

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Feet June 14, 2013 6:18 pm

This may sound stupid. But theoretically speaking shouldn't the lions be odds on favourite to win every match? They have a pick of the best players from the northern hemisphere as opposed to Australia picking from one country? Or is it the fact that Southern Hemisphere teams are generally better?

Forgive my lack of knowledge I'm new to rugby (14 years old)

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Jimothy June 14, 2013 8:29 pm

It's more to do with the fact that Australian team play together all the time and usually the Lions players are smashing into each other rather than with each other. The Lions team only has about a month to prepare and gelling as a team is really important. So I think that is the reason that the home team are usually favourites to win! Just my opinion though :)

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Feet June 15, 2013 11:59 am

Thank You very much

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