Lions tour: British and Irish Lions tuck into try feast against Combined Country XV
By Graeme Mair. Last Updated: 12/06/13 6:53am
The British and Irish Lions ran in 10 tries to beat a Combined Country XV 64-0 and maintain their unbeaten Australia tour record.
George North scored two of the Lions' six in the first half during a free-running display from the back division as Scottish youngster Stuart Hogg pulled the strings from fly-half.
There were also tries for Alex Cuthbert, Richard Hibbard, Conor Murray, skipper Brian O'Driscoll, Sean O'Brien, Hogg, Leigh Halfpenny and Jonathan Davies. Hogg booted four conversions and half-time replacement Halfpenny three.
Quite what head coach Warren Gatland learned from his side's demolition of a team made up of club players raised in New South Wales and Queensland - including an electrician, apprentice plumber and a medical student, plus some with Super Rugby experience - is open to question.
But the Lions did stand firm in defence on the few occasions required and some possible Test combinations - most notably O'Driscoll and Jamie Roberts in the centre - had a chance to gel.
The tour moves on to Sydney on Saturday when the New South Wales Waratahs will provide stiffer opposition ahead of the opening Test in Brisbane on June 22.
The Lions opened the scoring in the eighth minute when Cuthbert cruised over in the corner after the ball had been worked quickly across the field.
Two more Lions tries followed quickly; scrum-half Murray went under the posts from Justin Tipuric's inside pass and Hogg dropped the shoulder before racing through a gaping hole.
Hogg, the youngest member of the touring party, converted the first two but his third effort cannoned back off a post to keep the lead to 19-0 after 16 minutes.
The Combined XV enjoyed a decent spell camped on the Lions' line after a Hibbard lineout throw had gone awry, not an isolated occurrence from the Welsh hooker.
Twice the home team opted to kick penalties to the corner but could find no way through and were then hit on the break as North and Sean Maitland exchanged passes in a length-of-the-field breakout, finished off by North.
There was time for two further tries before half-time, Hibbard peeling off a maul to crash over from close range and North adding his second from an overlap on the left.
O'Driscoll, reunited with his 2009 Test partner Roberts, got in on the scoring act in the 49th minute, the impressive Maitland delivering the final pass.
Halfpenny, who came on for North with Maitland moving to the wing to accommodate the Welshman at full-back, got the Lions' eighth try and flanker O'Brien - who had earlier been denied by the TMO after stepping into touch - barged over for number nine.
Dale Ah Wang almost got the Combined XV on the board but failed to stretch quite far enough and was anyway pulled back for an earlier knock-on when referee Steve Walsh sent the decision upstairs.
Gatland had emptied his bench and it was another of the replacements, Davies, who completed the scoring in the final minute to take the try tally into double figures.
Lions v Combined Country 2013
Alex Cuthbert feels the British and Irish Lions could have been more ruthless in their win over the Combined Country XV.
Alex Cuthbert feels the British and Irish Lions should have been more ruthless in their win over the Combined Country XV.
Brian O'Driscoll is pleased with the performances so far from the Lions but insists improvements can still be made.
- Country-Lions recap
- Gatland: Lions in a good place
- Hogg revels in fly-half role
- Hogg display impresses Howley
- O'Driscoll satisfied with win
- Lions ratings
- Farrell backs rookie 10 Hogg
- C Country XV v Lions preview
- Farrell allays injury fears
- Robinson out of Lions clash
- Gatland hails Lions progress
- O'Connell: Bowe exit big blow
- Lions start for Corbisiero
- Country XV 0 Lions 64
- Bowe joins Lions casualties
- Combined Country squad named