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Last Updated: Wednesday, 8 June, 2005, 09:13 GMT 10:13 UK
Taranaki 14-36 Lions
Lions fly-half Charlie Hodgson makes a burst against Taranaki
Taranaki (7) 14
Tries: Masoe, Watt
Cons: Young 2
Lions (6) 36
Tries: Corry, Horgan, Murphy 2
Cons: Hodgson 2
Pens: Hodgson 4
The Lions subdued a dogged Taranaki to ease away to an ultimately comfortable victory in the second match of their New Zealand tour.

After trailing 7-6 at the interval to Chris Masoe's try, the visitors scored four of their own in the second half.

Captain Martin Corry, wing Shane Horgan and full-back Geordan Murphy, with two, all crossed the Taranaki line.

Fly-half Charlie Hodgson, who enjoyed a superb match, kicked 16 points to rub in the tourists' second-half dominance.

Taranaki replacement Brendon Watt powered through some tired tackling in injury-time for a consolation score, but by then the Lions had the match won.

Hodgson enjoyed a central role, staking his own claim for a Test spot with an accomplished all-round display.

Scrum-half Chris Cusiter, one wild pass aside, also impressed, while Michael Owen and Murphy furthered their claims.

Buoyed by a superb early touch-finder, Hodgson's tactical kicking was spot on.

His cross-kick to Horgan almost brought the opening try after nine minutes, only for the big wing's pass to Murphy to be adjudged forward.

An exact replica of the move brought the final Lions try five minutes from time, this time Murphy judging his run to perfection.

Lions number eight Michael Owen makes a burst against Taranaki
Owen played like a man who knew a Test spot was up for grabs in the wake of Lawrence Dallaglio's tour-ending injury.

The Welsh number eight started with a couple of half-breaks down the short side and his quick thinking and smart passing were prominent throughout.

It was 19 minutes before Hodgson opened the scoring with a penalty after his own break down the left led to Taranaki skipper Paul Tito infringing at a ruck.

A pop-up pass from Owen then started a dazzling counter-attack in which the back row and back three were all involved, before hooker Andy Titterrell knocked on in the tackle.

But minor errors hampered the Lions as Danny Grewcock gave away a penalty and Titterell's line-out throw went askew.

They appeared to have withstood a prolonged period of pressure by turning the ball over, only for Cusiter to send a pass high over Hodgson's head and over the dead-ball line.

That gave Taranaki a five-metre scrum, from which flanker Masoe dived over on the Lions side to pounce for the try which put the hosts ahead, Sam Young converting.

Hodgson pulled three points back with a second penalty, Taranaki lock Scott Breman fortunate to escape censure after a neck-high tackle on Cusiter as he tried to take a quick tap.

We are really delighted. We stuck at it and got the tries we worked so hard for
Lions captain Martin Corry
But the Lions still trailed at the interval, and looked vulnerable as Taranaki started the second half with a bang.

But a fumbled pass in defence after 47 minutes allowed the Lions to respond, Cusiter and Hodgson combining to send Corry sliding over in the right corner, the try awarded after reference to the video referee.

Hodgson narrowly missed the conversion from the touchline, but knocked over two more penalties before the hour to give the Lions a 10-point cushion at 17-7.

The second came after Taranaki hooker Andrew Hore was sin-binned for the home side's persistent offending.

Will Greenwood might have scored after 62 minutes when he charged down Young's clearing kick, but the ball spun away from him over the line.

But the England centre's burst moments later set up the position from which Murphy superbly conjured space for Horgan to score in the corner.

Hodgson's conversion effectively ended the contest at 24-7, and when Owen sent Murphy over for the first of his brace with nine minutes left, the Lions could finally relax.

Taranaki: S Ireland; S Tagicakibau, M Stewart, M Lifeimi, C Woods; S Young, C Fevre; T Penn, A Hore, G Slater, P Tito (capt), S Breman, J Willis, C Masoe, T Soqeta.
Replacements: P Mitchell, H Mitchell, J Eaton, R Bryant, M Harvey, B Watt, J King.

Lions: G Murphy; S Horgan, W Greenwood, O Smith, D Hickie; C Hodgson, C Cusiter; G Rowntree, A Titterrell, J Hayes, D O'Callaghan, D Grewcock, M Corry (capt), L Moody, M Owen.
Replacements: S Byrne, G Jenkins, B Kay, M Williams, G Cooper, J Wilkinson, G Henson.

Interview: Lions coach Ian McGeechan

Interview: Lions scum-half Chris Cusiter

Interview: Lions' Martin Corry

Report: Lions v Taranaki

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