British & Irish Lions too powerful for Waratahs

The British and Irish Lions made it past the half way point on their tour without losing a match after they beat the Waratahs 17-47 in Sydney.

The Lions now have one more match – against the Brumbies – before the first Test in Brisbane next Saturday.

Fullback Leigh Halfpenny scored 30 points including two of the five Lions tries
and also enjoyed another golden night with the boot – kept the Lions unbeaten
in five games this tour, and gave them their biggest win over the Waratahs in
125 years of visiting Australia.

Halfpenny’s haul was also the highest individual total against the Waratahs
– surpassing Jonny Wilkinson’s 19 in 2001 – and was boosted by unblemished
kicking statistics of four conversions and four penalties.

But the big win had some of the gloss taken off it with a knee injury which
forced Welsh centre Jamie Roberts from the field in the final 10 minutes and
appeared to put him in doubt for the start of the three-Test series.

The Lions, who have been looking for hard matches in Australia, got what they
were looking for against the Waratahs, who gave a good account of themselves
despite playing without 11 internationals.

But the tourists got on with the job and after leading 23-10 at half-time,
they scored 24 points in the second half with Jonathan Davies, Tom Croft and
Halfpenny all outstanding.

“The Waratahs were really tough and the scoreboard didn’t reflect the
match,” Lions skipper Sam Warburton said. “The Waratahs play like
us and were very direct but we won the collisions to win the match.

“Next week will be immensely tough against the Wallabies and there will
be an edge. It will be game on.”

Irish winger Simon Zebo, who only arrived this week as injury cover, was over
the try-line with his first touch of the ball in the opening minute but his
foot clipped the touchline and the video referee ruled no try.

But the tourists crossed again in the sixth minute when Davies put flyhalf
Jonny Sexton over with a beautiful inside pass for a 10-0 lead.

But the feisty Waratahs hit back when winger Peter Betham swept on to Bernard
Foley’s crossfield kick and passed inside to centre Tom Carter, who scored in
the left corner.

However, Halfpenny was deadly accurate with his goalkicking and two penalties
gave the tourists a 16-7 lead after 27 minutes.

The Waratahs had their best period of the half as they ripped into the Lions
with ferocious tackles and edged to within six points with a Brendan McKibbin
penalty.

But the Lions finished the half strongly with Halfpenny crossing wide out on
an overlap, after the Lions’ forwards had taken play to within metres of the
home side’s try-line. Halfpenny’s conversion gave them a 23-10 halftime lead.

After the break, the Lions picked up where they left off and Halfpenny scored
his second try off a clever short pass from Davies to scoot over, and then added
the conversion.

But the Waratahs quickly hit back when impressive big lock Will Skelton won
the ball in a maul and found Carter for the centre’s second try of the match.

Owen Farrell came on for Sexton in the 49th minute as the Lions led 30-17.

Halfpenny kicked another penalty before Davies was quick off the defensive
line and intercepted the ball leading up to blindside flanker Croft storming
over for his team’s third try and a 40-17 lead.

Coach Warren Gatland used the opportunity to bring all his remaining seven
replacements off the bench and rest his potential Test stars for next week.

Davies capped a great match when he scored his team’s fifth try with eight
minutes left.

The rivalry between NSW and Britain dates back to the teams’ first meeting
at the Sydney Cricket Ground on June 2, 1888, and NSW were looking to post their

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