Lions

The Lions take on the Brumbies in a final dress rehearsal for the Wallabies

John O'Sullivan Tue, Jun 18
ACT Brumbies v LIons
Brumbies
14
v
Lions
12
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  • 10:06
    John O'Sullivan here and I'll be taking through today's latest instalment on the Lions tour. Their hosts are the Brumbies under the coaching baton of former Springbok World Cup winning coach Jake White. The game in Canberra  kicks off at 10.40.

  • 10:12

    The Lions backline is dominated by a host of recent arrivals, English trio Brad Barritt, Christian Wade and Billy Twelvetrees while the retired Shane Williams has jetted in from Japan. Williams was due in Australia to work for a radio station, commentating on the LIons tour but has swapped a microphone for some match kit.

    He's just giggled his way through an interview with Scott Quinnell about whether the diminutive wing thought he might have been hallucinating when he got the call from Warren Gatland.  

  • 10:16

    There's an inbteresting interview with Australia's Adam Ashley Cooper in the Aussie media this morning in which he offers his thoughts about going head-to-head with Brian O'Driscoll in the first test on Saturday.

    Ashley Cooper is relishing the opportunity to measure himself against the Irishman. The versatile 29 year old  has played every position in the three quarter line for the Wallabies as well as fullback but is earmarked to wear the number 13 jersey in the first test against the tourists on Saturday.

    The 77 times capped Aussie rubbished the notion that the 34 year old O’Driscoll is less dangerous. “Oh mate, I disagree. I think O'Driscoll has got the experience and the ability to keep turning up. He's a soldier and that's why he's still one of the best 13s in the world. You can't presume anything with O'Driscoll. He's a freak, he's an absolute freak and getting the opportunity to play Brian on the weekend will be great for me. I haven't had that before and it will be a great test for me."

    Ashley Cooper paid tribute to Waratahs’ coach Michael Cheika for giving him the opportunity of a consistent run in the number 13 shirt during the Super 15 tournament. “It's been great, staying in the one position for more than one or two weeks. It's the first time it's ever happened. Getting to build on the 13 position week-in, week-out I feel like I'm playing some of the best football I've played in my whole career. I feel like I can continue those performances into the Test season."

     

  • 10:21
    The Brumbies have had an excellent season in the Super 15 - they lead the standings - and have lost just a single game, against the Crusaders, at Canberra stadium. They have lost five players to the Aussie squad and another seven to injury but are still expected to offer decent opposition, especially given the fractured nature of the LIons' preparations.  
  • 10:22
    Here are today's teams.

    BRUMBIES: J Mogg; H Speight, T Kuridrani, A Smith, C Rathbone; M Toomua, I Prior; R Smith, S Siliva, S Sio, L Power, S Carter, S Fardy, C Faingaa, P Kimlin (capt). Replacements: J Mann-Rea, JP Smith, C Cocca, E Oosthuizen, J Smiler, M Swanepoel, R Coleman, Z Holmes.

    LIONS: R Kearney (Ire); C Wade (Eng), B Barritt (Eng), B Twelvetrees (Eng), S Williams (Wal); S Hogg (Scot), B Youngs (Eng); R Grant (Scot), R Best (Ire, capt), M Stevens (Eng); I Evans (Wal), R Gray (Scot); S O’Brien (Ire), J Tipuric (Wal), T Faletau (Wal). Replacements: R Hibbard (Wal), A Corbisiero (Eng), D Cole (Eng), G Parling (Eng), D Lydiate (Wal), C Murray (Ire), O Farrell (Eng), S Zebo (Ire).

    Referee: J Garces (France).

  • 10:24

    Sky Sports are now showing Paul Wallace interviewing Sean O'Brien, a piece recorded earlier in the week.

    Now anybody like to guess what the first question was for the Tullow man....... 

  • 10:24
    Correct: Farming.
  • 10:26
    It's a big night for O'Brien - for several others too - a final opportunity to convince Warren Gatland that they deserve a place in the team for Saturday's first test.
  • 10:29
    The Sky Sports panel are discussing who should be number eight for the first test against Australia.

    Quinnell, a Welshman, has gone for Welsh international Toby Faletau. Greenwood, an Englishman, has opted for Faletau. Wallace, an Irishman, would have  plumped for Jamie Heaslip. There's a joke in there somewhere!  
  • 10:32
    You still have a few minutes to kickoff so just enought time to read Gerry Thornley's match preview.
  • 10:32
    Gerry's match report will be on the website roughly half an hour after the match.
  • 10:33
    Right for those of you in work, it's time to head off to that important meeting that'll take about an hour and three quarters, during which time you won't be able to accept any calls.
  • 10:35

    The LIons dressing room is full of players going round introducing themselves. No wait, they're just wishing each other luck.

  • 10:37
    It's a great moment for Ireland and Ulster hooker Rory Best, who will become the Lions' fourth captain on the tour and the third Irishman, after Paul O'Connell and Brian O'Driscoll to discharge those duties.
  • 10:39
    Best just delivered his last few words to his teammates in the dressingroom. He's also probably just checking to make sure there's been no late, late, late additions.  
  • 10:39
    The LIons are on the pitch. Here come the Brumbies.
  • 10:41
    Right, Frenchman Jerome Garces has blown his whistle and we're off.
  • 10:44
    First turnover to the Lions. Justin Tipuric. Best's lineout taken by Richie Gray, Ben Youngs sends Wade racing into the Brumbies 22; quick ruck ball and Williams is bundled into touch at the corner flag. 
  • 10:47
    Best's second lineout is nicked and in keeping with this tour the LIons find themselves a couple of metres from their own line. It's a poor relieving kick from Youngs and some shocking defending (Hogg) and tackling (Wade) that allows Fijian born centre Kuridrani to score a try.

    BRUMBIES 5 LIONS 0   
  • 10:49
    Hogg's restart goes out on the full but the Scot playing outhalf pushes a good kick through into the Brumbies 22 from a turnover.
  • 10:50
    Best's third throw is adjudged not straight.
  • 10:52

    Aerial ping pong ends when Hogg knocks on chasing his own kick. Lions turn over the Brumbies scrum.

  • 10:55
    Hogg has just given to hospital passes, the first to Best and the second to Twelvetrees. It's all heavily patterened stuff from the LIons.  
  • 10:56
    Wade knock on from an inside pass. A certain lack of cohesion is understandable but even allowing for that the LIons will be disappointed with the individual errors. The tourists concede a free kick for early hit at scrum.
  • 10:57
    Best's fourth throw is picked off. That's two nicked, one crooked and one that went as planned. It's not all the hooker's fault but it's most definitely a problem now.
  • 10:59
    Lions lineout. Keep your fingers crossed.
  • 11:01
    Ian Evans claims possession. Good surge from Best and the Brumbies transgress about eight metres from their own line. Best points at the posts and it'll be Hogg. The Scot watches in horror as his kick rebounds off an upright.
  • 11:02
    There's 20 minutes gone and the Lions are struggling for cohesion.
  • 11:02
    It's tough on Hogg, playing out of position at outhalf with two new centres, but he's got to overcome the handicap.
  • 11:05
    Great turnover from Tipuric saves the LIons after some decent continuity from the home side takes them into the Lions 22. Smart defending from Rob Kearney, who has been very good in that respect two or three times.
  • 11:07
    The Brumbies have dominated territorially and are value for their lead.
  • 11:09
    As you might have feared the Lions back play is pretty shabby. There's very little understanding or nuance.  
  • 11:11
    O'Brien has picked up a knock.
  • 11:12
    Brumbies fullback Jesse Mogg has taken on a penalty from his own half. It's wide.
  • 11:16
    Best's throw deemed crooked. This is the stuff of nightmares. Lions can not get a platform out of touch. The Brumbies know they can kick the ball out and probably get it back on the evidence of the match so far.
  • 11:19
    Brumbies win a penalty at a ruck. They should have been penalised for not rolling away at the tackle but Garces decides to penalise O'Brien for not releasing. Ian Prior takes on the kick  but misses from 40 metres.
  • 11:19
    Shane C Best throwing is as straight as a boomerang - shocking
  • 11:20
    LIons concede another penalty, this time for using hands in  the ruck. Fullback Mogg steps up this time. He's none from one.
  • 11:21
    He's now one from two. Bit of a boomerang but it goes between the uprights.

    BRUMBIES 8 LIONS 0
  • 11:24
    It's first half injury time and the Lions win a penalty at the breakdown. Hogg lands the 41 metre effort.

    BRUMBIES 8 LIONS 3
  • 11:28
    Where to start? No platform for the Lions out of touch. Back play cohesion non existent. Too many basic handling errors. Box kicks too long. No dynamism in carrying ball. Not getting forwards round the corner. No quick ruck ball. (PAUSES FOR BREATH)
  • 11:31
    Kick-chase is dire. Sky understandably focusing on the lineout. Four throws went west in the first half. PIctures from the Lions' dressing room suggests that defence coach Andy Farrell is leaning heavily on expletives.
  • 11:33
    On cue.
  • 11:33
    C Fitzgerald Where's your f-ing pride??!
  • 11:34

    Understand the sentiment.

  • 11:35
    The scope for improvement for the LIons is massive; the capacity to make that leap is questionable.
  • 11:35
    niall very tough on the players genuinely pushing for test places to playing in such a makeshift team. Simple solution to the lineout is to shorten it to guarantee possession
  • 11:36
    Agree NIall on both points.
  • 11:37
    Best is penalised for another crooked throw. He holds his hand up.
  • 11:39
    Great hands from O'Brien sends Wade scampering up the touchline. He's tackled high (around the collar) by Kuridrani. Penalty.
  • 11:41
    LIons kick to corner (Head scratching). Yes, you've guessed it. The Brumbies nick the throw. Arrange the words belief and beggars and put it in a sentence.
  • 11:42
    O'Brien penalised for not rolling away in the tackle. It's a penalty and it's very kickable.
  • 11:43
    Mogg, 35 metres, in front of posts, good.

    BRUMBIES 11 LIONS 3
  • 11:48
    Lions had possession for eight phases during which time they lost 20 metres and then kicked the ball away. In better news they won (O'Brien) a lineout.
  • 11:50
    Lions get nudged back at a scrum, ball shoots out, Faletau gets turned over at a ruck.
  • 11:53
    LIons loosehead Ryan Grant rightly pinged for dangerous grappling let's call it with the head area. Mogg posts it from a different postcode.

    BRUMBIES 14 LIONS 3
  • 11:55
    O'Brien wins a penalty at the breakdown. Hogg makes no mistake from 32 metres.

    BRUMBIES 14 LIONS 6
  • 11:55
    LTimm Best is in the headlights, this confirms his dirt tracker status from here on in, o'brien will still make bench for test as will Zebo if not starting, warburton can thank his armband for his place, him and faletau the least effective back rowers
  • 11:55
    Brendan Is it really as bad as it sounds???? Such a pity Best has darts problems - will never make the test side or bench while that continues regardless of what else he does right around the pitch....
  • 11:56
    Yes Brendan it's that bad.
  • 11:57
    Lions bring on a completely new front row, Alex Corbisiero, Richard Hibbard and Dan Cole.
  • 11:58
    Huge scrum from the LIons, wins a penalty. They splintered the Brumbies eight.
  • 11:59
    Hogg, hits the woodwork again.
  • 12:00
    Owen Farrell is on. The LIons lose another throw. Hibbard now understands what Best felt
  • 12:01
    Conor Murray is on too. Youngs passing was pretty poor on the night. A big 20 minutes from the Irish scrumhalf could get him a place on the bench.  
  • 12:02
    Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate also on.
  • 12:02
    Brumbies penalised on their own 22. Farrell points at the posts.
  • 12:03
    No mistake from the Englishman.

    BRUMBIES 14 LIONS 9
  • 12:05
    LIons trailed the Brumbies 12 years ago 19-3 and came back to win.
  • 12:07
    From an Irish perspective Best and O'Brien are gone, Murray's on and Simon Zebo is wondering where everyone has gone from the bench.
  • 12:08
    OISIN This would be the biggest win so far if they pull it back. Hope Murray show's how good he really is. Murray > Youngs. Any sign of Zebo?
  • 12:09
    NO, Oisin. No sign yet.
  • 12:10
    My timing is as good as the LIons. Zebo on for Shane Williams.
  • 12:11
    NEWS ALERT: Lions win Brumbies throw. Gray the man and a penalty too.
  • 12:11
    In fairness to Gray, it's his second of the match.
  • 12:12
    Farrell strikes the ball beautifully.
    BRUMBIES 14 LIONS 12
  • 12:13
    Excellent break from Murray and good chip through.
  • 12:14
    Good footwork from Zebo. Six minutes left.
  • 12:15
    Zebo nice footwork.
  • 12:16
    Murray surges from a ruck inside the Brumbies 22 but he gets isolated and is penalised for hanging onto the ball. Ouch.
  • 12:18
    Four minutes left. Lions win a free-kick and opt for scrum. They're looking for a penalty. They get a free-kick and go for another scrum.
  • 12:19
    Turnover for the Brumbies. Kind of sums it up.
  • 12:19
    Lions back in their own 22. Take a quick throw and it didn't go five metres. Brumbies scrum.
  • 12:20
    One minute and 57 seconds left.
  • 12:21
    Jake White told the Brumbies to go out and make history. They're on the cusp of doing exactly that.
  • 12:21
    Brumbies picking and going.
  • 12:21
    45 seconds left.
  • 12:22
    Brumbies scrum.
  • 12:22
    If the Lions don't take it against the head the game's over.
  • 12:23
    It's over the BRUMBIES WIN
  • 12:25
    The Lions lost this match, even allowing for all their problems and personnel changes.

    That's not taking away from a gutsy Brumbies performance. They toughed it out, scored the game's only try and earned a nod from lady luck from time to time.
  • 12:33
    The Lions coaching team look pretty unhappy. It was a poor performance. The lineout proved once again a major area of concern. It denied the tourists a platform. Hogg's place-kicking wasn't aswsured enough, twice striking a post.

    Best: "We got beaten up up front. We got beaten up at the breakdown. The forwards will stand up and take a bit of the heat and deservedly so. We were vey confident but didn;'t turn up tonight. We let our standards drop tonight."

    The Irishman acknowledged the shortcomings in the lineout and spoke about the disappointment in the overall standard of performance.

    Warren Gatland: "It was just disappointing. They put us under presure at the breakdown and deserved their win. We made a few changes, gave them a rocket at half-time. I thought the guys coming off the bench got us back into the game."  
  • 12:38

    The plus points for the LIons were the impact of the bench, Kearney's tidy performance at fullback, Tipuric in terms of turnovers, O'Brien's general work. These are silver linings on a very cloudy day.

  • 12:41
    Lions' negtaives. Intensity, execution, lineout, breakdown, back play, continuity, game management. It improved markedly when the replacements arrived.
  • 12:44
    Gerry Thornley's match report will be available on-line soon. The roadshow moves to Brisbane and the first test on Saturday. Thanks for joining us this morning. We'll be back on Saturday, to see if the Lions will roar or be declawed by the home side.
  • 12:45
    It's going to be a big four days for Warren Gatland and his coaching team. The preamble is over, the tour will now be defined by three test matches.