Jun 17, 2017
British and Irish Lions success for Sarries quartet
The British and Irish Lions revitalized their tour campaign, as they recorded an impressive win by 32 points to 10 in Rotorua, their hardest challenge before next week’s test match. Four Sarries started for the Lions, as the club provided 4 of the tight 5 in the form of Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, Maro Itoje and George Kruis.
A poignant start to the game’s proceedings saw incredible respect shown by all who filled Rotorua International Stadium, as a silence was held in memory of the Grenfell Tower victims- the calm before the storm.
Kick-off saw the start of a frantic and frenetic 80 minutes of rugby. After going ahead through 2 early Leigh Halfpenny penalties, the Maori All Blacks, who featured several full All Blacks caps in their ranks, hit back after a mistake in back play, and scored the match’s opening try through Liam Messam.
Considered by many as the unofficial fourth test match, kicks from the tee kept the tourists in the game, despite threatening advances from the Maori All Blacks in the first half.
During the first 10 minutes of the second half, the Lions attack, which has been under fire on tour so far, really kicked into action. After Sarries hooker Jamie George was denied a try by the TMO due to inconclusive evidence, the forward pack put in a stellar scrum performance to earn a penalty try. Under new laws from World Rugby, penalty tries are automatically converted, with no need to take the kick, so 7 points were in the bag for the Lions.
The Sarries quartet provided notable contributions all over the park, and Maro Itoje went over for his maiden Lions try on 53 minutes, which was converted by Halfpenny, who did not miss a single kick at goal, and the lead was extended.
Conceding only 4 penalties in the match, keeping their tackle completion rate at almost 90% and having over 3 times more possession than their opposition, the Lions continued to deny the Maori All Blacks opportunities to put points on the scoreboard, keeping them scoreless in the second half.
After an absorbing and entertaining contest, the British and Irish Lions recorded a record win against the Maori side, winning 32-10. The tourists’ next challenge is in Hamilton on Tuesday, where they will face Super Rugby side the Chiefs, with kick off at 08H35, before all eyes turn to Eden Park on the 24th for the first test match against the All Blacks.
Saracens players will also be in action this evening in the senior England team taking on Argentina in Santa Fe, kicking off at 20H15, live on BBC2, as well as some club representation for England U20’s in tomorrow’s World Rugby U20’s Championship Final against New Zealand.