Leigh Halfpenny scored 30 points, including two tries, as the British & Irish Lions beat the Waratahs 47-17 in Sydney, writes SIMON BORCHARDT.
The Welsh fullback was a constant attacking threat and also produced a flawless goal-kicking display (eight out of eight) as the Lions maintained their unbeaten record on tour. The quality of opposition has been poor, but at least the Lions have had two decent workouts, against the Reds and the Waratahs, going into the first Test next Saturday.
They will, however, be worried about inside centre Jamie Roberts, who limped off the field late in the game. Judging by the look of anguish on his face, his tour could be over.
Unlike the infamous 2001 meeting between the Waratahs and Lions, which saw a red card and five yellows, this game will be remembered for the rugby.
Simon Zebo, called up earlier this week for the injured Tommy Bowe, nearly made the perfect start to his Lions career when he went over in the left corner in the first minute, but TV replays showed he’d put a foot in touch while being tackled by Drew Mitchell.
Mitchell, though, failed to find touch five minutes later and the Lions went wide to Jonathan Davies, who gave the try-scoring pass to Jonathan Sexton.
The Waratahs hit back when a mistimed kick from Bernard Foley found Peter Betham on the left wing and he sent Tom Carter away for a converted try. They should have scored again from a three-man lineout soon after, but Will Skelton knocked on with the tryline in sight.
However, the Lions dominated the final minutes of the first half and were rewarded when Halfpenny went over for a try in the right-hand corner that he converted for a 23-10 lead.
The fullback scored again early in the second half, after great interplay between Roberts and Davies, but the Tahs responded immediately when Carter scored his second try.
The Lions, though, put the result beyond doubt when Davies’ interception resulted in a try for Tom Croft, and Davies himself then scored a simple try with eight minutes to go.
Waratahs – Tries: Tom Carter (2). Conversions: Brendan McKibbin (2). Penalty: McKibbin.
British & Irish Lions – Tries: Jonathan Sexton, Leigh Halfpenny (2), Tom Croft, Jonathan Davies. Conversions: Leigh Halfpenny (4), Owen Farrell. Penalties: Halfpenny (4).
Waratahs – 15 Drew Mitchell, 14 Cam Crawford, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Peter Betham, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Brendan McKibbin, 8 Dave Dennis (c), 7 Pat McCutcheon, 6 Jed Holloway, 5 Ollie Atkins, 4 Will Skelton, 3 Paddy Ryan, 2 John Ulugia, 1 Jeremy Tilse.
Subs: 16 Luke Holmes, 17 Richard Aho, 18 Sam Talakai, 19 Lopeti Timani, 20 AJ Gilbert, 21 Matt Lucas, 22 Ben Volavola, 23 Tom Kingston.
British & Irish Lions – 15 Leigh Halfpenny, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Jamie Roberts, 11 Simon Zebo, 10 Jonathan Sexton, 9 Mike Phillips, 8 Jamie Heaslip, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 6 Tom Croft, 5 Paul O'Connell, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Adam Jones, 2 Tom Youngs, 1 Mako Vunipola.
Subs: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Alex Corbisiero, 18 Dan Cole, 19 Geoff Parling, 20 Dan Lydiate, 21 Ben Youngs, 22 Owen Farrell, 23 Rob Kearney.
Photo: David Rogers/Getty Images
Ioane could settle at centre
Rieko Ioane may end up moving to the All Blacks midfield, writes JOHN PLUMTREE in SA Rugby magazine.
Ruan keeping options open
Ruan Ackermann will consider playing for England if he can’t fulfil his Springbok dream, writes MARTIN GILLINGHAM.
Five players to watch in 2018
CRAIG LEWIS identifies five South African players who could take the rugby world by storm in 2018.