Saturday, 8 June 2013

Queensland Reds 12 v British & Irish Lions 22

Cracking stuff in Brisbane this morning. The Queensland Reds gave the Lions a real match and tore into them from the off. It was a classic northern v southern hemisphere clash with the Reds looking to run the ball at every opportunity and the Lions seeking sanctuary in set pieces and forward play where they held a significant advantage. 

It was a hard but fair game and the Queenslanders lost four players during the contest, two to gaping head wounds from clashes and two stretchered off semi-conscious from thundering tackles. It wasn't a game for the faint hearted and heads and bodies were put on the line. The Lions didn't go unscathed with Tommy Bowe breaking a bone in his hand which will end his tour and they will all be carrying knocks and bruises this evening. 

Owen Farrell kicked the Lions in front but the Reds landed the first try when the impressive Luke Morahan shimmed his way through the Lions rearguard before kicking and out-running Stuart Hogg to touchdown under the posts for a superb individual try. Farrell's boot and a fortunate Ben Youngs score which ran well for him from a ruck gave the Lions a 16-7 lead which looked like it would be good enough.

Queensland Reds battled on and Nick Frisby ran in to reduce the arrears but an easy conversion was squandered. Farrell landed two more penalties to secure the victory. The Lions kicking was booed at every attempt by the Queenslanders in the 50,000 crowd who had come to see running rugby.

As well as Morahan, Quade Gooper looked the Wallaby he is but he has fallen out with the Aussie management after critical comments and looks unlikely to get another chance on this tour. Ben Lucas looked incredibly quick and dangerous in the opening half and Beau Robinson looked like a wrecking ball on the field until he collided head on with Mako Vunipola and was knocked out cold before he hit the turf.

The game was played in a great spirit and the players were genuine in their congratulations, hugs and handshakes at the finish. Farrell looked to have scored an excellent try at one point but as the referee called for the replay, Farrell could clearly be seen telling him that he lost control before touching down that I thought was an entirely appropriate gesture for this match. 

Three more warm-ups before the first Test and it's Combined New South Wales on Tuesday next. If Gatland picks the right 15 it could be Wales v New South Wales, something I suppose the early settlers could never have imagined.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your fair comments. I'm an Aussie Addick (and a union fan) in Brisbane and was at the game. The Reds have played like that for the last 3-4 years and are great entertainment. Their rugby can be breathtaking and heart in mouth, but it's always great to watch. Our Super 15 title in 2011 was truly superb! The Lions were predictably strong at the set piece and the test series will be enthralling. Love your blog too, please keep it up, I always look forward to reading it!!!

Dave said...

Anon - Certainly a match that will stick in the memory. If you had your Wallabies to call on the Lions would have needed a stronger 15 to have had a chance of avoiding defeat. It's a great game when it's played so skilfully and competitively at this level.

Pete said...

how come you haven't mentioned the Sweaties victory over Croatia? A fine result indeed.

Dave said...

1. Because I didn't see it.
2. Because "one swalley disna make a Summer."

Great result though it was against the world's fourth ranked side.