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British and Irish Lions Down Under Group » Blogs » First Match vs Western Australia, Perth

  • First Match vs Western Australia, Perth

    Posted by Peter Richards June 5, 2013 - 189 views - 0 comments - 0 likes - #perth  #BIL  #Western Force 

    Lions second row Alun Wyn Jones said on Monday that Force may be a little more organised for obvious reasons, but even if there is any differential there, the hosts should not be able to live with the sheer power and class of the side Gatland has chosen.

    The beauty of an unfolding Lions tour is seeing new combinations of players from different nationalities with every passing encounter, and the pairing of O’Driscoll and Tuilagi at centre cannot fail to have you rubbing your hands.

    Tuilagi goes at 12 and those who remember him butchering that opportunity for England against Wales at the Millennium Stadium in March will be holding their heads in their hands at the Leicester man occupying a position which demands sleight of hand and quick thinking.

    But Tuilagi’s handling ability is underrated, and in any case he is likely to be asked to smash up the channel early on, make the hard yards, suck defenders in and create space that way for O’Driscoll, Tommy Bowe and George North.

    Other combinations have more familiarity about them.

    Irish pair Conor Murray and Jonny Sexton will want to show they have the understanding to be considered as a Test half-back pairing – Murray impressed as a replacement in Hong Kong – while the all-Welsh second-row duo of Jones and Ian Evans will go into the game with the same aim.

    Elsewhere in the side, the back row of Tom Croft, Sean O’Brien and Jamie Heaslip looks potential dynamite, but then you could probably say the same no matter who Gatland sent into battle in that department.

    And for the likes of Leigh Halfpenny, North and Bowe, this is an opportunity to get their bearings, feel their way into the tour and hopefully claim a try or two for confidence.

    And so the script is written, it decrees that the Lions will rack up another win with the minimum of fuss, surviving maybe one or two scares to make their class and brute force tell by the end.