Lions History

New Zealand 2005 - Fixtures & Results

Southland Stags
British and Irish Lions

16 vs 26

June 21, 2005 19:10 PM - Rugby Park, Invercargill, New Zealand

Southland Stags 16 British and Irish Lions 26

Southland Stags

Tries:

Hale T-Pole (1)

Cons:

Richard Apanui (1)

Pens:

Richard Apanui (3)

British and Irish Lions

Tries:

Gavin Henson (2)

Cons:

Ronan O'Gara (2)

Pens:

Ronan O'Gara (4)

Overview

He was told to take out his frustration on the opposition and today Gavin Henson did just that, giving Sir Clive Woodward a powerful presentation of his Test credentials by scoring two tries and producing a man-of-the-match performance in the Lions's 26-16 victory over Southland.

The Welshman was, however, one of the few tourists to emerge from this scrappy encounter with credit - the barnstorming Donnacha O'Callaghan, and substitutes Tom Shanklin and Andy Sheridan were perhaps the only others.

The Lions began the game impressively, ripping through their modest opponents with the verve and incisiveness that characterised Wales' grand slam campaign - while this may be a million miles from the style Woodward intends deploying against the All Blacks, it was still a delight to see the Lions play with such purpose and cohesion.

They were deservedly 10-0 up within ten minutes, the touchdown coming almost inevitably from a visibly super-motivated Henson. After Denis Hickie broke the gain line with a typical burst, he fed Ollie Smyth, who tossed it inside to Henson. From four metres out, Henson had the muscle to hold of two defenders and plant the ball down emphatically.

"We started well but I think after try we started trying to do too much and it got a bit scrappy. Maybe we were a bit too keen," said captain Michael Owen afterwards by way of explanation for what followed.

Moody committed their first of his several infringements just three minutes after that score, allowing Richard Apanui to pull it back to 10-3.

The Lions' play for the remainder of the half was blighted by sloppiness and that clearly buoyed Southland, who came out after the break intent on exploiting their raggedness. It didn't take them long - they deservedly drew level on 46 minutes, when the impressive Hale T-Pole claimed the ball from a five-metre lineout and piled over the line all too easily.

That was the cue for midweek boss Ian McGeechan to introduce the Scottish pair Gordon Bulloch and Chris Cusiter, and their presence, along with that of the colossal Andy Sheridan, who was brought on at half-time, gave new momentum to the Lions. In the 57th minute, the Lions got back in front after laying siege to the home 22 for several minutes. Cusiter recycled the ball after a maul was held up just short of the end zone, and O'Gara cleverly missed out a man as he passed to Henson to touch down under the posts.

O'Gara's passing throughout was astute and ambitious, but his place-kicking was again jittery and it was perhaps fortunate for him that the penalties the Lions won in the second half were - unlike the ones O'Gara scuffed in the first - in straightforward positions.

Afterwards, Henson was unsure that his performance would change Woodward's mind anytime soon. "I've been pretty devastated at not getting a Test place so it was nice to get a full game tonight," he said. "I'll keep on trying to play well and see what happens but I'm in a difficult position because it's not in my hands.

"I may not get a look-in unless there's a loss or an injury and I obviously don't want that to happen. So I'll just have to sit tight and see."

Henson's frustration and annoyance was evident in every syllable - and after this performance you couldn't help but feel he had a point.

Source: Guardian

Line Ups

Southland Stags

James Wilson

Mana Harrison

Bryan Milne

Faolua Muliaini

Watisoni Lotawa

Richard Apanui

Jimmy Cowan

Clarke Dermody (capt)

Jason Rutledge

Aarron Dempsey

Hoani MacDonald

Daniel Quate

Hua Tamaraki

Hale T-Pole

Paul Miller

Replacements

Pehi Te Whare

Adam Clarke

David Hall

Jay Murch

Rees Logan

Jeff Wright

Matt Petre

British and Irish Lions

Geordan Murphy

Mark Cueto

Ollie Smith

Gavin Henson

Denis Hickie

Ronan O'Gara

Gareth Cooper

Matt Stevens

Andy Titterrell

John Hayes

Simon Shaw

Donncha O'Callaghan

Lewis Moody

Martyn Williams

Michael Owen (capt)

Replacements

Gordon D'Arcy

Tom Shanklin

Chris Cusiter

Andrew Sheridan

Gordon Bulloch

Simon Easterby

Charlie Hodgson

Before the match...

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