Rate the match: Lions v Western Force


It was a walk in the park for the Lions as they brushed the Western Force aside 69-17 at the Subiaco Oval. The first half opened in a cagey manner, with the Lions only 10-3 up after half an hour after Johnny Sexton opened the try-scoring by waltzing through a huge gap in the defence. In the final ten minutes of the first half, however, the Lions turned up the intensity and Brian O’Driscoll and Tom Croft both crossed after superb build-up work.

The second half picked up where the first left off, with Jamie Heaslip and Mako Vunipola crossing either side of a Richard Brown try for the Force. A nice pass from Conor Murray sent Tommy Bowe over, before Lachlan McCaffery grabbed another consolation try for the Force after Sexton missed his tackle. Tuilagi and O’Driscoll combined beautifully for the fourth-time Lion to scamper in under the posts, and then Owen Farrell made an instant impact off the bench with a good solo try. Replacement Geoff Parling crashed over to round off the scoring, with Halfpenny converting to make it 10/10 for him on the night. Final score: Lions 69 – 17 Western Force.

What did you make of the match? Rate it and share your thoughts on the game below.

Rate the match: Lions v Western Force

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What were the main talking points from the game? Who impressed you most from the Lions camp?

22 thoughts on “Rate the match: Lions v Western Force

  1. youngs is ahead of murray from the added pace that he gave the backs once he came on. think murray was trying to be philips and was a poorer version. O’brien, heaslip and bod had good games and tuillagi at 12 worked well.

  2. Lots of positives.

    Such a shame for Healy fingers crossed its not too serious. However i thought Vunipola was immense when he came on its a position we can afford to have an injury in.

    I’m a Farrell slater so i’ll put my hand up and say he took his try very well. In fact i think thats one of the best things i’ve ever seen him do with ball in hand.

    Sexton, Tuilagi, O’driscall worked well. Roberts still played a bit better the other day but its a nice dilemma.

    North and Bowe looked very dangerous.

    Heaslip was huge i haven’t seen a performance like that for a while great to see maybe gats new something i didn’t. Croft and O’brien worked well as well.

    1/2 is a god. Gives Sexton less to think about.

    On the negatives i just thought perhaps our resolve to keep them out could have been stronger. When they were on our line we seemed not too bothered about conceding as we new the game was won.

    2nd rows were pretty average.

    I thought Connor Murray was also pretty poor.

  3. The Lions seemed to lose their intensity and flow following Rory Best’s overthrows which vidicated the decision to leave him out originally. Youngs was busy following his introduction but the front row of Vanipola, Youngs and Stevens did not look convincing. If Healy is out of tour SOS Corbisiero

  4. I can’t think of anyone who didn’t look good in that dirge.

    Halfpenny is immense and means that FH and FB are sorted – we don’t need Farrel on the pitch when we’ve got Sexton to play and 1/2p to kick.

    Cole was decent but did nothing to displace Jones.

    Murray – the Tesco Value version of Mike Phillips (copied that from @gwladrugby). Test side should be Phillips to start and Youngs on the bench.

    Tom Croft receives ball on wing and scores a try! Who’d have seen that coming? (joke)

  5. Team so far 1 Healy/Vanipola 2 Youngs 3 Jones 4 POC 5 Parling 6 Obrien 7 Tipuric 8 Heaslip 9 Philips 10 sexton 11 Bowe 12 Tuiligi 13 Bod 14 Cuthbert 15 Halfpenny 16 Hibbard 17 … 18 cole 19 AW Jones 20 Croft 21 youngs 22 Farrell 23 Hogg

    still very early days harsh on Roberts and haven’t picked anyone who hasn’t played.

    1. Only 1 prop on your bench, and he doesn’t play loose head?

      Hibbard is still the hooker front runner for me. Agree with others that Best reminded people today of why he was not originally called up. I did find it odd how many people were disgusted by his omission when his last few 6 nations games featured woeful throwing.

      1. He has Healy/ Vunipola starting to I assume the suggestion is that the one that doesn’t start benches? Or maybe it is in reference to his injury today? Any early news on how bad that is by the way?

        I would also swap the hookers round as well. Not because I think Hibbard is a massively better player than Youngs, but because I think Youngs offers more impact off the bench.

        My team currently would be:

        1. Healy (if injured then Corbs to come over and make a huge impact!)
        2. Hibbard
        3. Jones/ Cole (still can not decide)
        4. POC
        5. AWJ
        6. Croft
        7. Warburton
        8. Heaslip
        9. Phillips
        10. Sexton
        11. North
        12. Tuilagi
        13. BOD
        14. Bowe
        15. Halfpenny

        16. Youngs
        17. Vunipola
        18. Cole or Jones
        19. Gray
        20. O’Brian
        21. Youngs
        22. Farrell
        23. Hogg

      2. as said Haven’t picked anyone who hasn’t played and theirs a 50 5o call on the starting team so either the two of those. Jenkins will get his shot at the team once he plays.

  6. Two games in and The Lions have done what is required in putting a decent Baa Baa’s side and an understrength Force side to the sword, yes sterner test lie ahead but so far so good.

    The most impressive thing is that out of the 17 tries scored so far there have been 14 scorers, in various positions which will put doubts into the opposing coaches minds as to where the attacks will be coming from, also well done to Leigh Halfpenny for a wonderful kicking performance.

  7. Thought Sexton’s link play was superb, and all round a steady performance, unlucky with the shrugged-off tackle for the WF try under the posts.
    Agreed that Murray looked slightly off the pace and I’m looking forward to seeing more of Youngs.
    The player/try stats from the first couple of games are great – teams about to face the Lions will now know that a score can come from any player, at any time – and that’s a fearsome reputation to carry with you.
    Faletau impressed after he came on, his ability to offload is something special and Vunipola gave a great performance to give the coaches some selection problems, especially if Healey is OK to carry on with the tour (fingers crossed). And each time BOD plays, it’s two fingers to anyone who dares to say he’s past it!
    As for Halfpenny, his kicking performance was flawless, again steady under the high ball and in cover on the few occasions when needed in this match. Has to be a no-brainer for test FB now… Plus his kicking justified my too-long lunch break – I just couldn’t stop watching to see if he missed one!

  8. Too early for teams….not everyone has had a run out yet. Rick had Parling off the back of 30 mins !!!!

    1. yes was better than the two who started today thought they did nothing special and grey was invisible against baa bas.

  9. Starting tight 5 didn’t really put down much of a marker (fingers crossed for Healey though), a nudge in the scrum but not dominant, poor in the lineout and static second rows hanging around in midfield. Thought Vunipola was exceptional, his ability to make big metres in heavy traffic combined with better hands than many backs are really impressive attributes.

    Heaslip was brilliant; I saw the 8 shirt as a no contest, but think Heaslip really rose the challenge.

    SOB excellent all-round game

    Croft, made his tackles, but really surprised he didn’t manage to get his hands on the ball more in such an open game.

    Murray, glad Gatland kept him on and gave him a good run as he got a lot better in the second half, but pretty poor and ponderous in general.

    Sexton, excellent game. Pleasing to see him get some of his run-arounds going with Tuilagi too.

    Tuilagi, distributed and passed better than Roberts but wanted to see him running from depth onto the ball more often (Roberts style). Only happened once all game and resulted in a try. For an unfamiliar position and combination thought it was an encouraging performance.

    BOD – still got it!

    Bowe – Good game. Ahead of Maitland but maybe just shaded by Cuthbert and behind North

    North – Not an easy lion to tame wherever he pops up, put down a big marker.

    1/2p – What can you say, just a kicking master class.

    Well done to Farrell for bouncing back and making a positive contribution, hope it continues into Sat!

    My combined 15 from the players we have seen thus far for the very little it is worth ….
    1) Vunipola 2) Hibbard 3) Jones 4) Gray 5) POC 6) O’Brien 7) Tipuric 8) Heaslip 9) Philips 10) Sexton 11) North 12) Roberts (just!) 13) BOD 14) Cuthbert (just over Bowe) 15) 1/2p

  10. Much better game from Lions today, much better directed and (even if not on paper) a better test than the Baa-baas game.

    Sexton looked great, Murray was hot and cold but not awful. Quicker ball, better drilled harder work.

    Judging by the way Healy went down I’m assuming broken ankle or bad ligament damage, I don’t see him taking further part. Interesting to see who replaces him. Paul James? Euan Murray? Jonny Wilkinson?

    1. Isn’t Murray a tight head? Be hilarious if it was Wilkinson with the excuse that Stevens can cover both sides…

      But seriously, could be James, Corbisiero (who I’d have), or maybe even Sheridan?

      I’m hoping Healy is ok for his sake and the Lions, but it looks unlikely.

    2. Probably between Grant and Corbs? James is a decent option (having his head introduced to his sphincter by Jones probably not aiding his cause though). I would go for Corbs as I think he’s the more destructive in the tight.

      With Jenkins recovering and still to play I think it would be good to fly someone in now away rather than leaving Stevens as the contingency loose-head cover.

  11. Grant is who I was thinking of when I said Murray.

    I think Corbs is a decent option. Great player in the tight and loose and I feel underrated, but he is just back from injury and I don’t think Gatland would consider him.

  12. Just as a side thought after seeing tuilagi play well at twelve do we think that there could be an opportunity for him to play there for England and allow someone like JJ at 13 to play

  13. I was quite happy, thought that the front 5 struggled a bit early on, didn’t see too much to suggest Ian Evans will be competing for a test spot, mako did well when he came on and if healy is injured he has a chance. Heaslip and O’Brien were both great, lovely to see Heaslips open field running, and SOB bar one poor defensive error had a stormer, hes obviously not going to get the 7 shirt on tour don’t see why he shouldn’t play 6 though? Croft and Lydiate did nothing to suggest to me they’re better 6s on form, Murray was hot and cold, not Phillips caliber, I thought Sexton was great and I think he will be a key man come the tests, just a great attacking 10, I was relatively impressed with the wingers, its definitely a 3 horse race between north, cuthbert and bowe! Halfpennys kicking was a dream if he keeps that up come the tests then I fancy our chances, the centre partnership was quite successful although i suspect Manu will be an impact sub for Roberts around 60 mins. My test team for now would be:
    1. Vunipola
    2. Hibbarb
    3. Jones
    4. Gray/AWJ
    5. POC
    6. SOB
    7. Tips/Warbs
    8. Heaslip
    9. Phillips
    10. Sexton
    11. North
    12. Roberts
    13. BOD
    14. Bowe/Cuthbert
    15. 1/2penny

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