Wednesday Jun 5, 2013

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

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

Extended highlights of the Lions vs the Force from Perth

Time: 14:57
Credit: ttrugbyvids

Nick Heath had a chat with try scorer Tommy Bowe after the game, discussing the unfortunate injury to Cian Healy, combinations and other aspects of the match.

Time: 2:34
Credit: Nick Heath/RugbyMedia

Quick chat with Manu Tuilagi, who formed a strong partnership with Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll in the midfield. Manu touched on that, the atmosphere within the camp and the Healy injury.

Time: 2:14
Credit: Nick Heath/RugbyMedia

30 Comments


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  • 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.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    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...

    Reply
  •  conorl
    conorl

    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).

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    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...

    Reply
  •  lucius
    lucius

    No one cares about the two "Farce" tries?

    Reply

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  • 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.

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    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.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    "tru' dat"

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    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...

    Reply
  •  conorl
    conorl

    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

    Reply
  •  pipo
    pipo

    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.

    Reply
  •  totesmcgoates
    totesmcgoates

    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.

    Reply
  •  brawnybalboa
    brawnybalboa

    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

    Reply
  •  conorl
    conorl

    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.

    Reply
  •  pipo
    pipo

    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.

    Reply
  •  conorl
    conorl

    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

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    Compare 1:50 of this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=meJd5gGjdGc With this: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaDz4rGMdVM For me that's a worrying difference.

    Reply
  •  facepalm
    facepalm

    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.

    Reply
  •  darabman
    darabman

    Aw bless, wee scone trying to stir it up Nice try :)

    Reply
  •  upthelowend
    upthelowend

    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.

    Reply
  •  jimothy
    jimothy

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

    Reply
  •  jimothy
    jimothy

    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!

    Reply
  •  brawnybalboa
    brawnybalboa

    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!

    Reply
  •  brawnybalboa
    brawnybalboa

    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.

    Reply
  •  jimothy
    jimothy

    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!

    Reply
  •  brawnybalboa
    brawnybalboa

    No Adam Jones?

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

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

    Reply
  •  jimothy
    jimothy

    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

    Reply
  •  iluvyomumma
    iluvyomumma

    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.

    Reply
  •  danknapp
    danknapp

    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.

    Reply

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The British and Irish Lions power past the Western Force in Perth | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos