Lions History

New Zealand 2005 - Fixtures & Results

Manawatu Turbos
British and Irish Lions

6 vs 109

December 28, 2005 19:10 PM - Arena Manawatu, Palmerston North Central, New Zealand

Manawatu Turbos 6 British and Irish Lions 109

Manawatu Turbos


Jonathan Hargreaves (2)

British and Irish Lions


Gareth Cooper (1)

Neil Back (1)

Ollie Smith (1)

Martin Corry (1)

Gordon D'Arcy (1)

Ronan O'Gara (2)

Shane Williams (5)

Mark Cueto (2)

Charlie Hodgson (1)

Jason Robinson (1)

Geordan Murphy (1)


Ronan O'Gara (5)

Charlie Hodgson (7)


The British and Irish Lions restored some badly-needed confidence today by scoring 17 tries in a crushing 109-6 win over Manawatu.

Trouncing a part-time second division outfit is, of course, a far cry from competing with the All Blacks, but many of the players in red showed enough class and desire to suggest they could trouble Tana Umanga and co on Saturday - if selected.

No one did more to impress than Shane Williams, the dynamic Welsh winger who plundered five tries, none of them straightforward. Though Jason Robinson, one of Williams's main rivals for a place on the wing against New Zealand, raised his performance substantially from his dismal display last Saturday - and even scored his first try in any game since January - Williams produced enough steel and trickery to suggest he should be in pole position.

Both wingers played a prominent role in the game's first try, which came just after three minutes. Robinson roared down the right before being held up just short of the 22. When possession was recycled all the way across to the other flank, Williams gratefully clutched the ball, burst past one opponent then goose-stepped à la David Campese to outfox another and touch down for a fine try in the corner.

Williams's second was even better, since it came after he showed the sort of strength his critics say he lacks. After the impressive Chris Cusiter quickly tapped a penalty in Manawatu's 22, Williams used brute force to barge through one tackle, then reverted to form to jink and dash past two others and plant the ball under the posts.

Crucially, bearing in mind the Lions' calamitous lineout last Saturday, Gordon Bulloch threw with precision and Donnacha O'Callaghan and Simon Shaw caught everything they were supposed to - both O'Callaghan and Bulloch were withdrawn at half-time, perhaps hinting that Sir Clive Woodward intends using them at the weekend.

The debate over the midfield partnership for Saturday is particularly intense, and of today's pairing of Ollie Smith and Gordon D'Arcy, it was the former who looked sharper, though both, almost inevitably, scored tries. Smith was stubborn in defence, broke the gain line more than the Irishman and was nifty in the offload, whereas D'Arcy seemed to disappear for long spells.

The fly-half role may also be up for grabs and both Charlie Hodgson and, when he came on in the second half, Ronan O'Gara steered the game with assurance, darting incisively and finding good touches with their occasional kicks.

Both scored tries - indeed the galloping O'Gara scored two - but both showed all-too familiar frailty from the place kicks, each missing comfortable conversions. And as the match wore on and the amateur home team tired, they were deprived of more practice, since the Lions were able to offer themselves the luxury of touching down right under the posts almost every time.

Afterwards, man-of-the-match Williams expressed his delight at being allowed to play his natural game. "I enjoyed myself, it was the last chance I had to prove a point before the weekend," he said. "I didn't want the game to end. We were willing to go out and throw the ball around and play rugby."

The big question now is: has Woodward taken note?

Source: Guardian

Line Ups

Manawatu Turbos

Frank Bryant

Bevan Gray

Jason Campbell

Matt Oldridge

Johnny Leota

Graham Smith

Jonathan Hargreaves

Sam Moore

Nathan Kemp (capt)

Keni Barrett

Tim Faleafaga

Paul Rodgers

Hayden Triggs

Josh Bradnock

Bryan Matenga


Nick Buckley

Ben Trew

David Palu

Isaac Cook

Chris Moke

Simon Easton

Paula Maisiri

British and Irish Lions

Geordan Murphy

Jason Robinson

Ollie Smith

Gordon D'Arcy

Shane Williams

Charlie Hodgson

Gareth Cooper

Andrew Sheridan

Gordon Bulloch (capt)

John Hayes

Simon Shaw

Donncha O'Callaghan

Martin Corry

Martyn Williams

Michael Owen


Mark Cueto

Ronan O'Gara

Chris Cusiter

Andy Titterrell

Matt Stevens

Brent Cockbain

Neil Back

Before the match...


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