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Golden Lions 10-74 Lions

Golden Lions (10) 10
Try: Frolick Con: Pretorius Pen: Pretorius
British and Irish Lions (39) 74
Tries: Roberts 2, O'Driscoll, Monye 2, Croft, Bowe 2, Hook, Ferris
Cons: Jones 6, Hook 3 Pens: Jones 2

Brian O'Driscoll (left) and Jamie Roberts both scored for the Lions
Brian O'Driscoll (left) and Jamie Roberts both scored for the Lions

By James Standley

The Lions laid down a firm challenge to the Springboks as they put the Golden Lions to the sword in Johannesburg.

The tourists were a totally different proposition from the side which stumbled through their opening match.

A Jamie Roberts brace and tries from Brian O'Driscoll, Ugo Monye and Tom Croft helped them into a 39-10 half-time lead at Ellis Park.

Tommy Bowe grabbed a double after the break and Monye, James Hook and Stephen Ferris completed the 10-try rout.

Back in 1997 John Bentley scorched up the Ellis Park turf on his way to a superb solo try against the Gauteng Lions, the former name of the Golden Lions.

His dazzling score was seen as the spark which ignited the tour and set the Lions on their way to a 2-1 series victory.

And although there was no one moment which stood out as dramatically on Wednesday night, the tourists produced many marvellous passages of play to put Saturday's shoddy opening display against the Royal XV firmly behind them.

The Golden Lions had sacked coach Eugene Eloff in the wake of a disappointing Super 14 campaign which saw them finish only two off the bottom, and in protest a group of senior players had planned to make themselves unavailable.

606: DEBATE

In the end they were persuaded to play but may have rapidly regretted their decision as the Lions dominated from the first whistle at Ellis Park, which was filled to less than half capacity.

The opening minutes were marred by an injury to Golden Lions full-back Louis Ludick, who was stretchered off after injuring his knee in a collision with Lions flanker David Wallace.

No sooner had the match restarted then the Lions opened their account with a sparkling score.

A series of drives from the forwards took the tourists deep into the home 22 before O'Driscoll stepped inside his man and sent Roberts crashing over.

Two minutes later O'Driscoll, captaining the Lions for the first time since being carried off with a dislocated shoulder in the opening stages of the first Test in New Zealand in 2005, profited from Bowe's break to open his account for the tour.

Wales fly-half Stephen Jones, who missed only one attempt at goal out of nine before handing over kicking duties to Hook, converted both tries and soon added a penalty to give the Lions a 17-0 lead after 12 minutes.

Willem Alberts hammers Lions replacement Jameas Hook in the tackle
James Hook scored a late try but is well tackled this time

The hosts managed to break their duck through an Andre Pretorious penalty, but it was brief respite and the Lions soon went back on the attack.

Jones added a second penalty for the Lions before Bowe completed a rapid hat-trick of scoring passes by sending first Monye and then Croft galloping over.

Jones converted the second score to make it 32-3 and although Shandre Frolick finished off a sweeping attack to give the hosts a rapturously-received try, there was still time for Roberts to grab his second try of the half.

The Welshman, who built on his fine display in the opening match with another display of powerful running, used all his strength to dot down, with Jones's conversion making it 39-10.

With the job long since done the Lions eased off the accelerator in the second half but Bowe was still hungry and he took the chance to turn from provider into finisher.

He profited from fine hands from Jones to dive over out wide soon after the break for his first try before picking off an interception score.

Jones landed both conversions to take the Lions past the half-century mark and the tourists had not finished yet, despite bringing on a host of replacements.

Monye, Hook and Ferris all raced over for converted tries as the tourists ensured the only Lions deserving the epithet "Golden" at Ellis Park were the red-shirted ones from Britain and Ireland.


Golden Lions: Louis Ludik; Michael Killian, Jannie Boshoff, Doppies la Grange, Dusty Noble; Andre Pretorius, Jano Vermaak; Lawrence Sephaka, Willie Wepener, Gert Muller, Brad Mockford, Willem Stoltz, Cobus Grobbelaar, Franco van der Merwe, Willem Alberts.

Replacements: Shandre Frolick for Ludik (6), Walter Venter for Boshoff (50), Chris Jonck for Vermaak (66), Ernst Joubert for Stoltz (6 and 57), Todd Clever for Mockford (40), Ethienne Reynecke for Wepener (57), Janse van Rensburg for Sephaka (50).

British and Irish Lions: Rob Kearney; Tommy Bowe, Brian O'Driscoll, Jamie Roberts, Ugo Monye; Stephen Jones, Mike Phillips; Gethin Jenkins, Lee Mears, Phil Vickery, Nathan Hines, Alun-Wyn Jones, Tom Croft, David Wallace, Jamie Heaslip.

Replacement: Shane Williams for O'Driscoll (61), James Hook for Roberts (53), Harry Ellis for S Jones (62), Stephen Ferris for Wallace (49), Andy Powell for Croft (66), Euan Murray for Vickery (66), Ross Ford for Mears (66).

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)



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