2005 Lions Tour: Tuesday, June 28Manawatu 6 Lions 109, Arena Manawatu, Palmerston NorthScorers: Manawatu: Pens: Jonathan Hargreaves 2Lions: Tries: Shane Williams 5, Martin Corry, Geordan Murphy, Jason Robinson, Charlie Hodgson, Ollie Smith, Neil Back, Gordon D'Arcy, Ronan O'Gara 2, Mark Cueto 2, Gareth Cooper; Cons: Hodgson 7, O'Gara 5
O'Gara, who came on as a second half substitute, racked up a 15-point haul by the finish as he converted five of the Lions' six tries in the final 25 minutes.
With Manawatu, who join New Zealand's NPC Division One ranks next season, totally outclassed, Ian McGeechan's midweek Lions eased out to their biggest ever win on Kiwi soil.
The home side, widely regarded as the tourists' weakest opposition when the 2005 jaunt Down Under was confirmed, were mere cannon fodder for what will come in Saturday's second Test.
All four Ireland players - Murphy, D'Arcy, O'Gara and Munster pack duo John Hayes and Donncha O'Callaghan enhanced their tour reputations, with lock O'Callaghan a possibility for inclusion against the All Blacks this weekend.
Williams chalked up his first try after only 3 minutes when quick hands from Murphy and Jason Robinson put the pint-sized Osprey away to beat his man and score.
England back row Martin Corry added a second on 11 minutes, after neat passing from scrum-half Chris Cusiter.
The Lions tallied up a 38-6 half-time lead as Williams (24 minutes), Ireland flyer Murphy (28), who stepped inside off the right wing to beat two Manawatu defenders for the line, Robinson (31) and Williams again (36) crossed the home line.
A high tackle on Lions number 10 Charlie Hodgson saw Manawatu hooker Nathan Kemp spend the final ten minutes of the first half in the sin-bin, but Jonathan Hargreaves did open the home side's account before the interval with two penalties (34, 39).
O'Callaghan was one of four Lions replaced at the break, perhaps with Saturday in mind, and with fresh legs, the tourists continued on their attacking rampage.
Inside four second half minutes, both Hodgson and centre Ollie Smith had powered over for converted tries. Williams (49) and veteran Neil Back (50), set up by an inspirational 55-metre break from England lock Simon Shaw, then pushed the Lions further ahead.
With O'Gara on, the men in red refused to sit back and let their frustration out as the Irish fly-half flicked a wide pass out to the left for D'Arcy to jet over for a 69-6 lead.
O'Gara quickly added another five-pointer down the left flank from a Back offload, Mark Cueto went under the posts on 66 minutes, O'Gara bagged his second sixty seconds later - leaving the Lions with an 88-6 buffer heading into the final ten minutes.
Tries from Gareth Cooper, Williams and Cueto polished off a confidence-boosting win for the visitors, who ended the match as the home side did - with a player in the sin-bin. England prop Matt Stevens earned a 74th-minute yellow card for a tackle straight after a Manawatu tap penalty, and the home side's replacement hooker Simon Easton was banished to the sidelines right on full-time for persistent infringing at the breakdown.
MANAWATU: Frank Bryant; Bevan Gray, Jason Campbell, Matt Oldrige, Johnny Leota; Graeme Smith, Jonathan Hargreaves; Sam Moore, Nathan Kemp (Capt), Keni Barrett, Paul Rodgers, Tim Faleafaga, Hayden Triggs, Josh Bradnock, Brian Matenga.
Replacements: Simon Easton, Isaac Cook, Paula Maisiri, Chris Moke, David Palu, Nicholas Buckley, Ben Trew.
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS:
Replacements used: Gareth Cooper (Newport-Gwent Dragons/Wales) for Cusiter, Andy Titterrell (Sale Sharks/England) for Bulloch, Brent Cockbain (The Ospreys/Wales) for O'Callaghan, Neil Back (Leicester) for M Williams (all half-time), Ronan O'Gara (Munster/Ireland) for Hodgson (51 mins), Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks/England) for Robinson (52), Matt Stevens (Bath/England) for Hayes (59).
Sin-bins: Nathan Kemp (Manawatu) (30 mins), Matt Stevens (Lions) (74), Simon Easton (Manawatu) (79).HT: Manawatu 6 Lions 38; Attendance: 13,000Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)