June International Tours

It’s the start of things to come :O’Driscoll



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Maybe it was the thought of Gordon D’Arcy being summoned from his vacation in America to join the squad, but the British and Irish Lions produced the performance they had been waiting for with a 74-10 victory over a Super 14 team.

Scoring five tries in each half, the Lions outplayed the Golden Lions at Ellis Park – venue for the third of the three tests against world champion South Africa. They charged to a 39-10 halftime lead and then scored 35 unanswered points in the second half.

“Hopefully it’s the start of things to come,” said team captain Brian O’Driscoll, who led the team with lock forward Paul O’Connell rested.

“To score 70 points against a Super 14 team, somebody has got to take some note about it and we have got to keep working away. The most pleasing thing was that we didn’t concede in the second half.

We said at half time that we would go on and keep them scoreless (in the second half).”

O’Driscoll was one of the tryscorers with Jamie Roberts, Tommy Bowe and Ugo Monye helping themselves to two each and Tom Croft, Stephen Ferris and James Hook also crossing the Golden Lions line.

Flyhalf Stephen Jones kicked 18 points and Hook six.

It was a big difference from the shaky performance in their first tour game, a 37-25 victory over the Royal XV at Rustenburg where the Lions had to come from 12 points down with three late tries.

“Last weekend the boys felt a little bit constricted when they played on a smaller pitch,” O’Driscoll said.

“We managed to hold the ball in the phases.”

“I think people expect us to click together because it’s a group of good individuals and they automatically expect us to be a team.”

“We will need a little time to gel together. It’s far from the finished article but a good start for these guys in their first Lions game.”

Head coach Ian McGeechan, who is making his fifth Lions tour, said he hoped the result at Ellis Park would give the side a springboard towards the sort of performances he wants when they take on the Springboks at Durban (June 20), Pretoria (June 27) and back here July 4.

“I thought there was a lot of accuracy and good tactical decisions when we created the space and finished it well. It showed our thinking on the field was first class,” McGeechan said.

“It’s given us a sighter about what’s possible but we still have to go up another level or two in the next few weeks. That’s what we wanted and we will feed off each performance.”

The Lions have called up experienced Ireland center D’Arcy to their squad with Keith Earls and Riki Flutey carrying injuries from Saturday’s victory over the Royal XV.

Both are doubtful for Saturday’s game against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.


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