Live Blog: The Lions Vs Western Force

Live Blog: The Lions Vs Western Force
By Balls Team Updated
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Score: The Lions 69 - 17 Western Force

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12:55: Jamie Heaslip, Brian O'Driscoll, Manu Tuilagi, George North, Sean O'Brien and Tom Croft all had great games. Laughable interview from Western Force captain Matt Hodgson: "I don't think the points differential reflects that effort from us. I think we held our own in the pack." Ye, sure Matt.

12:52: Full time and the Lions win 69-17. And here is the final try from Geoff Parling.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nV3bRdV0TFk

12:48: TRY LIONS. Geoff Parling goes over from close range after a buildup that featured almost every Lions player on the pitch. Lions lead 69-17. One more converted try and the Lions win by 59. Given I predicted a 60 point win, I will definitely claim a moral victory. Halfpenny is 11 from 11 from the tee.

12:42: Alun Wyn Jones goes to the sinbin for hands in the ruck as Tom Croft goes down after a clash of heads. He gets up but is being replaced by Toby Faletau as a precaution. The Lions have emptied their bench now.

12:40: And as the Lions defend their own line, here is Owen Farrell's try.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XwMm-LG3kX4

12:38: Here is the second O'Driscoll try. Such lovely interplay between Tuilagi and O'Driscoll. You could get used to seeing this.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t6AtBzBnVVw

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12:37: TRY LIONS. Good god a bit of a logjam is developing here. Straight from the kickoff replacement Owen Farrell streaks through for try number 8. I really like my 60 point prediction now. Lions lead 62-17.

12:35: TRY LIONS. Great inside centre line by Tuilagi as he goes in between two defenders before linking with O'Driscoll for an easy finish. Is Tuilagi and O'Driscoll a more exciting partnership than any of the other potential ones? Lions lead 55-17. Here is the Bowe try from a few minutes ago as well.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3yds6Xl715c

12:33: TRY FORCE. Substitute Lachlan McCaffrey breaks through the tackle of Sexton to get in under the posts. The game is over really at this stage and the only people really paying attention are those who bet the Lions on the handicap. Lions lead 48-17.

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12:29: TRY LIONS. A 5m scrum under the posts gets passed out to Tommy Bowe who breaks a tackle to score. The defence has been very weak from the Force. Stuart Barnes says "That is not a tackle Digby Ioane would miss in the test series." Halfpenny gets another touchline conversion. This is absurd. Tom Youngs and Geoff Parling come in as Lions lead 48-10.

12:27: The first yellow car of the game goes to the Western Force's Ed Stubbs for killing the ball five yards out from his own line.

12:22: Here is the Western Force try as well as Vunipola's score.

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRP6tcG0y04

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SVVkM4Lb76g

12:20: TRY LIONS. Healy's replacement Mako Vunipola gets over in the corner again for the Lions. That's five tries now and Halfpenny nails ANOTHER touchline conversion. Crazy stuff from the Welshman. Lions lead 41-10.

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12:19: David Pocock had some kind words for Healy after he was taken off. Pocock knows how it feels to miss a tour with injury.

 

12:16: TRY FORCE. Number 8 and former international Richard Brown burrows over after extended pressure from his side. The Lions gave away a couple of penalties in the build up which they won't like. Lions lead 34-10.

12:14: Here is Heaslip's try, watch for Sexton's exquisite pass.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5MyIUhD02IM

12:12: Yes he can. Halfpenny is on fire at the moment and with Kearney injured he is really staking his claim. Heaslip's try just caps off a very powerful performance from him. Lions lead 34-3.

12:11: TRY LIONS. Almost straight from kick off Jamie Heaslip makes a huge break up to the Force line. A few phases later Sexton flings a huge pass to the Heaslip to get over in the corner. Can Halfpenny nail another touchline kick?

12:09: Will Greenwood says Healy may just have a sprained ankle. Whether that means he can still take part in the tour will be unclear until after an x-ray.

12:07: Here is the Sky Sports panel talking about the bite claim.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJ5JTLzWrcQ

12:06: McGeechan praises the contribution of Bowe: "He has cut very good lines that just make players think that extra bit when he is around." McGeechan has actually been quite a good addition to the panel thus far.

12:03: Paul Wallace says about the Healy injury: "Sheehan grabs Healy's collar and puts is forearm near Healy's mouth." Word from the Force changing room is that Sheehan said he isn't sure whether it was intentional.

12:02: The talking points of the half are Halfpenny's great kicking but also the Cian Healy injury/bite claim. It is important to remember that the TMO checked for biting but couldn't find conclusive evidence. But the allegation will sour the game.

12:01: All of the Lions tries so far have been off the back of sustained pressure by the whole team. Everyone is getting their hands on the bal regularly and you can see that here.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8lgLm_hQ_xA

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11:56: TRY LIONS. Mako Vunipola makes a break that sucks in the Force defence. Eventually the ball is moved out the backline and Tom Croft finishes it off in the corner. Leigh Halfpenny nails the touchline conversion to end the half with the Lions holding a 27-3 lead.

11:52: Stuart Barnes seems to be taking the Healy injury hard as he calls Hong Kong "Kong". We know how you feel Stuart.

11:50: This is the moment where Healy's tour may have ended. Awful for the prop who was in with a great chance of a test start.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SiTP3pt8d9U

11:49: Healy is being taken off as Halfpenny extends the lead to 20-3. Will Greenwood comes in to confirm that Western Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan is accusing Healy of biting. A nightmare few minutes for the Leinster prop. Mako Vunipola replaces Healy.

11:46: Here is a video of the O'Driscoll try to take your mind of the potential Healy injury. This doesn't look good at all.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDIFv3Baddo

11:45: The close quarters hands for that try was amazing. They had almost no room to work with but kept the ball alive. Meanwhile, Cian Healy has gone down with an injury and it looks serious. We will update you as soon as we know.

11:42: TRY LIONS. O'Driscoll gets over in the corner after great hands across the line from O'Brien, Tuilagi and North. The Lions will be very pleased with that, everytime they get it through the hands they are threatening. Halfpenny's kick is good and the Lions lead is 17-3.

11:39: Sean O'Brien gets turned over outside his own 22 and the Force win a penalty. Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan kicks the 3 points and the Lions lead is cut to 10-3.

11:37: Rory Best overthrows a lineout in the Force 22. He will need to nail those if he wants to put pressure on Hibbard and Youngs.

11:36: The game has got very scrappy with a lot of penalties and knock ons. The Force have had a lot of ball but the Lions look comfortable in defence.

11:35: My 60 point win prediction may have been a little too bullish.

11:34: So apparently a Western Force player had marks on his arm and is saying that Cian Healy bit him. There was no video evidence of the bite but this will be something to keep an eye on.

11:33: The ball gets overthrown at the lineout and the Lions clear.

11:31: The Force have another penalty in front of the posts after O'Driscoll gets caught offside. They go to the corner again.

11:29: The Force have a lineout on the Lions 5 metre line after turning the ball over in their own 22 and breaking quickly.

11:27: Murray tries to do a Phillips snipe from five yards out but knocks it on. Maybe trying too hard to match the Welshman's exploits from saturday.

11:22: Lions have a scrum five yards out after Tuilagi gets extremely close following a Bowe offload. Bowe is making a nuisance of himself so far and is getting in some good positions.

11:20: As you can see here, the Force defence were very, very easily bamboozled by Sexton's show and go.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NoiK_Z_qT8

11:19: Another penalty for the Lions puts them deep in Force territory. The game will be a bit of a joke in around 7 or 8 minutes. And that is a conservative estimate.

11:17: TRY LIONS. Great recycling by the Lions with O'Brien, North and Tuilagi getting good carries in. Sexton took it flat in the 22 and one dummy later he sauntered under the posts. Halfpenny converts to make it 10-0. Very leisurely defence by the Force.

11:12: Lions linking very well so far. O'Driscoll finds Croft with a lovely offload in midfield and Sexton hits North mid stride with a perfect cross kick but North is penalised for not releasing and the Force clear.

11:09: Halfpenny's kick is good and the Lions lead 3-0. Inspired decision by Gatland. A masterstroke.

11:08: Halfpenny taking the kicks, does Gatland not have much confidence in Sexton? What is there to be gained by taking the 3 points when you are 40+ points favourite? Simulating test conditions?

11:08: Game gets underway and Tommy Bowe finds a huge in the Force defence. Lions get the penalty in front of the posts on the 22.

11:05: I'll go with a George Hook like prediction and say Lions by 60.

11:03: Remember to click our boss button at the top of the page if your superior walks in on you watching. By all means drop my name, although it defintely won't do you any good.

11:01: More controversial: weakened Western Force side or Sky going with a 3 man commentary booth?

10:59: The backrow today of Croft, O'Brien and Heaslip has a very similar balance to the 2009 test side, save for O'Brien instead of Wallace. Possible sign of things to come?

10:56: This is the first game with a strong Irish contingent on the field. Will be interesting to see how Tuilagi and O'Driscoll get on in the centre. Tuilagi isn't used to playing 12 but a few good performances will really put him in the test conversation.

10:53: Ian McGeechan says the Australians are disrespecting the Lions by playing the weakend teams in the pre-test games. Do you agree?

The teams:

Western Force: 15 Sam Christie, 14 Dane Haylett-Petty, 13 Ed Stubbs, 12 Chris Tuatara-Morrison, 11 Corey Brown, 10 Sam Norton-Knight, 9 Brett Sheehan, 8 Richard Brown, 7 Matt Hodgson, 6 Angus Cottrell, 5 Phoenix Battye, 4 Toby Lynn, 3 Salesi Ma'afu, 2 James Hilterbrand, 1 Salesi Manu.
Replacements: 16 Hugh Roach, 17 Sione Kolo, 18 Tim Metcher, 19 Ben Matwijow, 20 Lachlan McCaffrey, 21 Alby Mathewson, 22 Nick Haining, 23 Junior Rasolea.

British and Irish Lions: 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Tommy Bowe, 13 Brian O'Driscoll (c), 12 Manu Tuilagi, 11 George North, 10 Jonny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Jamie Heaslip; 7 Sean O'Brien, 6 Tom Croft, 5 Ian Evans, 4 Alun-Wyn Jones, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Rory Best, 1 Cian Healy.
Replacements: 16 Tom Youngs, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Matt Stevens, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Toby Faletau, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Sean Maitland.

Welcome to the balls.ie Lions live blog! This is the Lions first game in Australia and they start out as 43 point favourites against the weakened Western Force side. Is the tour being cheapend by the Force fielding an understrength team?

Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE

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