The British and Irish Lions won their first match on Australian soil with a 69 – 17 thrashing of Super Rugby side Western Force.
The Lions scored nine tires, six of which came in the second half. Jonny Sexton, Brian O’Driscoll and Tom Croft gave the tourists a 27-3 lead at half-time.
O’Driscoll, Jaime Heaslip, Mako Vunipola, Tommy Bowe, Owen Farrell and Geoff Parling added tries in the second half to complete the rout.
The main talking point from the match will provide concern for fans and coaches alike, as prop Cian Healy had to be taken from the field on a stretcher with suspected ligament damage.
The Irishman was taken off just before the interval after twisting his ankle. Coach Warren Gatland confirmed after the match it wasn’t broken, but further tests will confirm the full extent of the injury.
Healy’s injury could potentially force him out of the rest of the tour, and made a bad day worse for the Leinster prop. Earlier in the piece he was the subject of a biting claim from Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan.
Sheehan pointed to his arm in the 18th minute, claiming he had been bitten after tangling with Healy following a tackle. "I don’t know if it was an accident or on purpose," Sheehan said at half-time. But the television match official ruled there was no evidence for his claim.
There was some impressive link play in the backs and the expected power up front, but this was far from a flawless performance and the concession of two close-range tries will cause some concern among the Lions coaching staff.
The flawless goal-kicking of Leigh Halfpenny with 11 kicks for 24 points was a particular plus, while Jamie Heaslip, George North, Brian O’Driscoll and Mako Vunipola off the bench were particularly impressive
Jonathan Sexton’s display was also a plus, with the Ireland fly-half’s neat inside dummy creating his trot-in try after 10 minutes.
The Lions’ next match is agaisnt the Queensland Reds in Brisbane this coming Saturday, as they prepare for the first test agaisnt the Aussies on June 22nd.
Western Force (3) 17
- Tries: Brown, McCaffrey
- Conversions: Sheehan (2)
- Penalty: Sheehan
British and Irish Lions (27) 69
- Tries: O’Driscoll (2), Sexton, Croft, Heaslip, Vunipola, Bowe, Farrell, Parling
- Conversions: Halfpenny (9)
- Penalties: Halfpenny (2)