The Lions have landed Down Under. A sweeping nine try victory and an utterly dominant performance inspired complete apathy amongst their hosts however, who have been far more preoccupied with the opening game of the State of Origin series. The Lions do make it onto a few back pages though and the focus is largely on Cian Healy's alledged biting of scrum half Brett Sheehan rather than any aspect of their performance.
The Sydney Morning Herald were more concerned with the heroics of a team that lost by fifty two points with Georgina Robinson writing, "in no one's book will the Force side that played in front of 35,000 fans at Patersons Stadium go down as the contemptuous, second rate offering they were labelled in the lead up to Wednesday's game. From five-eighth Jonathan Sexton's first try in the 11th minute to Geoff Parling's last in the 77th, the Force competed with pride, repeatedly backing themselves to score in the face of Warren Gatland's not insubstantial slabs of prime rib." Not as much fawning praise for the Lions as an accusation of being flat track bullies.
In the same paper Peter Fitzsimons accused the Western Force of not doing their patriotic duty and putting out a full team to give the Lions a good bruising, writing "Back in the day, it was the duty of everyone playing in the provincial games to soften up touring teams – to either beat them or take a piece of them home with you to show your mother, so that by the time they got to play the Wallabies they were battered and bruised and maybe even missing one or two key players that had fallen by the wayside in the ferocity of provincial encounters."
Australia's best selling daily, The Australian said the performance was "efficient, if less than inspiring." There was much talk of the strength of the Western Force side fielded but there was little that could be taken from the Lions' actual performance, apart from Leigh Halfpenny's flawless kicking performance.
The West Australian, Perth's only daily paper focused again on the Halfpenny threat and the possible absence of Cian Healy. Clive Woodward's accusation that the Australian tour sides were not paying the Lions enough respect was jumped on by most outlets too, but probably only because of a lack of action on the pitch.
Picture credit: Stephen McCarthy / SPORTSFILE