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Irish Shine In Lions’ Ten-Try Romp

Irish Shine In Lions’ Ten-Try Romp

Ireland’s Brian O’Driscoll, Tommy Bowe (2) and Stephen Ferris were amongst the try scorers as the British & Irish Lions put down a marker for the remainder of the 2009 tour with a power-packed pummelling of the Golden Lions in Johannesburg.

2009 BRITISH & IRISH LIONS TOUR: Wednesday, June 3

GOLDEN LIONS 10 BRITISH & IRISH LIONS 74, Coca-Cola Park (Att: 22,218)

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Scorers: Golden Lions: Try: Shandre Frolick; Con: Andre Pretorius; Pen: Andre Pretorius 
British & Irish Lions: Tries: Jamie Roberts 2, Brian O’Driscoll, Ugo Monye 2, Tom Croft, Tommy Bowe 2, James Hook, Stephen Ferris; Cons: Stephen Jones 6, James Hook 3; Pens: Stephen Jones 2

A Lions team showing 12 changes to the side that failed to impress against the Royal XV made it two tour wins from two as they mauled the Golden Lions into submission in Johannesburg.

Ian McGeechan’s men ran in 10 tries in total as they scored the Lions’ highest points total in South Africa since they beat South-West Districts 97-3 some 35 years ago.

Encouragingly from an Irish point of view, Brian O’Driscoll and five of his Grand Slam-winning team-mates all had significant roles to play.

O’Driscoll teed up man-of-the-match Jamie Roberts for the game’s opening try and then combined with Tommy Bowe to score the second himself.

Bowe boosted his tour tally to three tries, with a brace in the second half, while replacement Stephen Ferris thundered away for a late breakaway score.

Full-back Rob Kearney did little wrong on his Lions debut, impressing under the high ball and countering with obvious intent, while David Wallace and Jamie Heaslip both made lively contributions in the back row.

The other Lions tries were spread out among Ugo Monye (2), Roberts, Tom Croft and replacement James Hook.

Forwards and backs alike combined to keep the ball alive at every opportunity as the Lions made light of the limited time they have so far spent in each other’s company.

The Golden Lions, whose preparations were upset by a change in coach, struggled to make their mark on the game after leaking four tries in the opening 30 minutes.

The winning margin, thoroughly comprehensive as it was, was a touch flattering as the hosts played below par. On other night, it could have been much closer.

But credit to McGeechan’s fired-up charges, the result did reflect their dominance in all areas of play including the set piece.

The British & Irish Lions opened the scoring with just six minutes on the clock thanks to a cleverly-worked try from Roberts.

One of three players to have also started the mid-week win in Phokeng, Roberts picked an inside line off centre partner O’Driscoll after the team captain had turned a straight two-on-two into the first real scoring opportunity of the night.

With English flanker Croft claiming lineout ball at the tail, the Lions were soon over the gainline courtesy of second rows Alun Wyn Jones and Nathan Hines.

Mike Phillips and Stephen Jones spread the ball wide and O’Driscoll produced a trademark step to take two defenders out of the game and open a try-scoring gap for Roberts.

Try number two followed just three minutes later through the talismanic O’Driscoll as the fleet-footed provider quickly turned try scorer.

He stepped inside the final defender to supply an assured finish after Bowe had come in off his wing deep in opposition territory.

Two superb touches from the boot of Stephen Jones created the initial platform with the latter forcing Michael Killian to scramble the ball into touch just a metre from the Golden Lions’ try-line.

Having played his part in the score itself, the Welsh out-half added his second conversion to make it 14-0 before kicking his first penalty of the night with 19 minutes played.

Monye was next on the scoresheet, two minutes later, after he rounded off another stunning Lions attack.

Lee Mears kept the ball alive instead of taking contact, having looped round the back of a lineout in his own half, allowing Roberts to cross the gainline once more.

Roberts followed Mears in finding a team-mate rather than accepting a tackle, with Bowe on the Welshman’s shoulder 40 metres out from the home whitewash.

With one man to beat, Bowe unselfishly floated a lengthy pass out to his fellow winger Monye who out-sprinted the cover to dive over in the left corner.

The difficult angle of the conversion resulted in Jones missing the target for the first time but the Lions had established a 22-point advantage with just 25 minutes played.

That lead soon stretched to 29 a minute before the half-hour mark as Croft showed his blistering pace to join Monye in claiming a try on debut for the on song tourists.

The Golden Lions hit back with a try of their own prior to half-time as replacement full-back Shandre Frolick sprinted clear with 37 minutes gone, but it made only the slightest dent in a commanding opening half from the Lions.

Former Springbok out-half Andre Pretorius slotted a difficult conversion from wide on the right to reduce the deficit but, fittingly, it was the British and Irish variety of the Lions who claimed the final score before the interval.

With the clock having reached 40 minutes and no time left for a kick to touch, O’Driscoll decided his side would run the ball from just 15 metres shy of the try-line rather than take a simple three points.

It was a decision that paid dividends as Roberts powered over for his second try of the half.

With Stephen Jones completing the seven-point score, the Lions took a 39-10 lead into the break.

Bowe added a further two scores in the third quarter – the first coming after the Lions had used Roberts as a decoy to break the first line of defence before Stephen Jones provided the killer touch with a deft flick pass.

The second then arrived through an impressive intercept run from halfway, with Jones successful with both conversions – one from the right-hand touchline and the other from directly underneath the uprights.

Bowe was then involved in the Lions’ eighth score as he took possession and transferred it in the same movement to give Monye his second try of the game.

Monye left two covering defenders for dead as he sliced through the middle of the Golden Lions defence to increase the lead to 58-10 with 12 minutes remaining.

Replacement out-half Hook kicked the conversion before adding an intercept try and another two points to put even more shine on an accomplished performance from the 2009 Lions against a Super 14 side containing the majority of their first-choice side.

With the hooter then having sounded at the end of the 80 minutes but the ball being kept alive by the Golden Lions, there was still time for Ferris to race clear for a superb 70-metre score after Gethin Jenkins had driven the opposition back in the tackle.

Ferris, noted as one of the fastest forwards in European rugby, left the covering players for dead with Pretorious and others unable to prevent the big Ulsterman from crowning his Lions debut with a well-taken try.

The Lions, suitably boosted by this hammering of their namesakes, are next in action this Saturday when they face their second successive Super 14 opponents in the form of the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein (kick-off 3pm local time/2pm Irish time).

TIME LINE: 6 minutes – British & Irish Lions try: Jamie Roberts – 0-5; conversion: Stephen Jones – 0-7; 10 mins – British & Irish Lions try: Brian O’Driscoll – 0-12; conversion: Stephen Jones – 0-14; 12 mins – British & Irish Lions penalty: Stephen Jones – 0-17; 15 mins – Golden Lions penalty: Andre Pretorius – 3-17; 19 mins – British & Irish Lions penalty: Stephen Jones – 3-20; 21 mins – British & Irish Lions try: Ugo Monye – 3-25; conversion: missed by Stephen Jones – 3-25; 30 mins – British & Irish Lions try: Tom Croft – 3-30; conversion: Stephen Jones – 3-32; 36 mins – Golden Lions try: Shandre Frolick – 8-32; conversion: Andre Pretorius – 10-32; 40 mins – British & Irish Lions try: Jamie Roberts – 10-37; conversion: Stephen Jones – 10-39; Half-time – Golden Lions 10 British & Irish Lions 39; 47 mins – British & Irish Lions try: Tommy Bowe – 10-44; conversion: Stephen Jones – 10-46; 58 mins – British & Irish Lions try: Tommy Bowe – 10-51; conversion: Stephen Jones – 10-53; 69 mins – British & Irish Lions try: Ugo Monye – 10-58; conversion: James Hook – 10-60; 74 mins – British & Irish Lions try: James Hook – 10-65; conversion: James Hook – 10-67; 80 mins – British & Irish Lions try: Stephen Ferris – 10-72; conversion: James Hook – 10-74; Full-time – Golden Lions 10 British & Irish Lions 74

GOLDEN LIONS: Louis Ludik; Michael Killian, Jannie Boshoff, Doppies la Grange, Dusty Noble; André Pretorius, Jano Vermaak; Lawrence Sephaka, Willie Wepener, Gert Muller, Brad Mockford, Willem Stoltz, Cobus Grobbelaar (capt), Franco van der Merwe, Willem Alberts.

Replacements used: Shandre Frolick for Ludik (5 mins), Ernst Joubert for Stoltz (5-14, blood sub), Todd Clever for Mockford (39), JC Janse van Rensburg for Sephaka, Walter Venter for Boshoff (both 50), Ethienne Reyneke for Wepener, Ernst Joubert for Stoltz (both 56), Chris Jonck for Vermaak (65).

BRITISH & IRISH LIONS: Rob Kearney (Leinster/Ireland); Tommy Bowe (Ospreys/Ireland), Brian O’Driscoll (Leinster/Ireland) (capt), Jamie Roberts (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Ugo Monye (Harlequins/England); Stephen Jones (Scarlets/Wales), Mike Phillips (Ospreys/Wales); Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Lee Mears (Bath/England), Phil Vickery (London Wasps/England), Nathan Hines (Perpignan/Scotland), Alun Wyn Jones (Ospreys/Wales), Tom Croft (Leicester Tigers/England), David Wallace (Munster/Ireland), Jamie Heaslip (Leinster/Ireland).

Replacements used: Stephen Ferris (Ulster/Ireland) for Wallace (48 mins), James Hook (Ospreys/Wales) for Roberts (52), Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales) for O’Driscoll (60), Harry Ellis (Leicester Tigers/England) for S Jones (62), Andy Powell (Cardiff Blues/Wales) for Croft (64), Euan Murray (Northampton Saints/Scotland) for Vickery, Ross Ford (Edinburgh/Scotland) for Mears (both 65).

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)