Crusaders 3 – 12 British and Irish Lions
Well thank god for that!
The Lions have answered a few of the questions posed from the shaky start to the tour against the Barbarians and the loss the Auckland Blues. The game today was about getting a performance and proving to us and them that they are capable of putting some type of a performance up against the All Blacks in a few weeks time.
All the Lions scores came from the boot of Owen Farrell and he missed one kick which sailed over the post and what I thought might have crept inside the post but the referee never questioned it so it was counted as a miss. The Crusaders penalty came from the boot Richie Mo’unga.
Conditions were greasy tonight on the pitch so it didn’t lead to handling errors on both sides however the Lions discipline was very good and didn’t give any chance to the Crusaders to get cheap scores.
One of the positives of the game was the Lions defence, the line speed was fast and drifting was also good and countered the Crusaders attack. Johnny Sexton got a good chunk of the match under his belt too having come on for Johnathan Davies and switching position with Owen Farrell. Stuart Hogg also went off after running into the elbow of Conor Murray and splitting his forehead open.
The other positives were the bench, the likes of CJ Stander coming on and making an impression. The pack as well were solid in the scrum too and we can’t forget that the Crusaders front row is also the All Blacks front row, and tight five for that matter.
The Lions put a lot of attacking plays together and should have scored at least one try however they need to work on finishing their opportunities when getting so close to the line.
Sean O Brien hasn’t played a huge amount of rugby of late having suffered calf strain and carrying the hamstring issues but he was fantastic in the game, he expects it of himself, we expect it from him, and he always delivers. Maku Vunipola was also fantastic today as was Peter O Mahony.
Lions Coach Warren Gatland was happy with the performance, speaking after the game he said….
“It was about the result; but the performance was pleasing. They have been averaging five tries a game so our defence was outstanding, our lineout and set-pieces were pretty good. We knew we had trained well in the last couple of days and we knew we would put in a good performance.”
Next up is the Highlanders on Tuesday June 13th at 8.35am (Irish Time)
Listen to Episode Two of our “Between The Lions” podcast HERE