Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lions Keep out the Rebels as They Finish with a Flourish

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Lions Keep out the Rebels as They Finish with a Flourish

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Jones

Melbourne Rebels 0 LIONS 35 THE LIONS' midweek team put their Brumbies debacle behind them to defeat the Melbourne Rebels and maintain the momentum generated by the First Test victory over the Wallabies.

With the Second Test in this city on Saturday, the Lions wanted another confidence boost and to avoid any more injuries. Luckily, they got both in front of a sell-out crowd. This was the 100th win for the Lions in Australia going back to 1888 and erased the hurt of that 14-12 loss to the Brumbies a week ago, the first to a provincial side since 1997.

Outside-half Owen Farrell, lock Richie Gray, No8 Toby Faletau and flanker Dan Lydiate put in bids for Test starting places while Ben Youngs made a tryscoring cameo appearance late in the game. There was also plenty of work for Irish wing Simon Zebo while Manu Tuilagi came through his first game since suffering a serious shoulder injury against the Queensland Reds two and a half weeks ago.

The Lions enjoyed a confident opening with Farrell firing out flat passes and bringing Tuilagi into the action straight away. However, the Rebels tackling was reliable and the England centre could not make the impact he was hoping for to push his case for inclusion in the Second Test squad.

With Farrell mixing up his game intelligently, there were some good phases of play but it was disappointing to see full-back Rob Kearney appear short of real pace when put into space by a long pass from Farrell.

Another good attack ended with scrum-half Conor Murray scoring a close-range try after 15 minutes thanks to pressure created by the pack. Farrell converted from the touchline and from the wrong side for a right footer.

The Lions kicked two penalties to touch close to the Rebels line but could not drive the line-out or make any impact and when Sean O'Brien was ruled offside at the ruck after the home side broke out, full-back Jason Woodward wasted the scoring opportunity with a poorly struck kick.

Sean Maitland punished the Rebels with a try started by a Tuilagi break and continued by the right wing. After Faletau had appeared to kill the chance by falling over, Zebo sent out a long pass for Maitland to take and score. …

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