Search

Saracens’ Farrell helps British and Irish Lions to laboured win

PUBLISHED: 11:27 03 June 2017 | UPDATED: 11:27 03 June 2017

British and Irish Lions' Anthony Watson dives in to score his side's try against the NZ Provincial Barbarians, as Owen Farrell looks on (pic David Davies/PA)

British and Irish Lions' Anthony Watson dives in to score his side's try against the NZ Provincial Barbarians, as Owen Farrell looks on (pic David Davies/PA)

PA Wire/PA Images

New Zealand Provincial Barbarians 7 British & Irish Lions 13

Saracens’ Owen Farrell answered the misfiring British and Irish Lions’ distress call to sink the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, as Johnny Sexton endured a wretched night in Whangarei.

Ireland fly-half Sexton trudged off after just 48 minutes of the Lions’ opening tour clash in New Zealand – removed in part due to a potential leg injury, but also after a miserable performance.

Self-employed maintenance engineer Sam Anderson-Heather’s try put the Barbarians 7-3 ahead at the break, with Farrell forced to rescue the tourists in a wholly unconvincing victory.

Sexton boasts 66 caps for Ireland and three for the Lions, but was eclipsed by his opposite number, Bryn Gatland, the 22-year-old son of Lions boss Warren.

England star Farrell had hardly set foot on the sodden Toll Stadium turf when he launched the killer move, then supplied the scoring pass for Anthony Watson’s decisive try.

Sexton had admitted in advance of this clash that he was already lagging behind Sarries talisman Farrell in the race for the Lions’ number 10 Test shirt.

And against a scratch team of part-timers and youngsters, the vastly experienced Sexton ceded considerable ground in that individual battle with Farrell.

The Lions’ gruelling schedule has been dissected in the build-up to their punishing 10-match tour and playing their first match after just four days in the country took a clear toll on head coach Gatland’s men.

Tour captain Sam Warburton insisted jet-lag would be no excuse for the Lions on their first hit-out, so on this evidence Gatland’s side have much work to do to build a side to challenge New Zealand.

The Lions move quickly onwards to face Blues in Auckland on Wednesday, and will know full well they must improve out of sight to cope with full-strength Super Rugby sides – let alone the back-to-back world champion All Blacks.

Taulupe Faletau, Kyle Sinckler and Ben Te’o were the only starting Lions to emerge with any credit from an insipid, limited performance.

The hosts showed slick, aggressive interplay at jarring odds with the sloppy, sluggish and error-strewn approach of the big-name tourists, who turned around in embarrassing arrears at half-time.

Barbarians captain Anderson-Heather squeezes in his rugby around his engineering day job, but wriggled home here for the game’s sole first-half score, converted by Bryn Gatland as Sexton posted a solitary penalty for the Lions.

Jet-lag or not, this Lions XV lacked intensity, incision and accuracy in a hugely underwhelming opening to one of the storied franchise’s toughest-ever assignments in New Zealand.

Scotland full-back Stuart Hogg butchered two near dead-cert tries by fluffing the scoring pass – first miscuing his effort to Watson, then failing to ship on at all with Tommy Seymour awaiting a walk-in.

Iain Henderson struggled as well, dishing out one cheap penalty in a lacklustre first 40 minutes, and Sexton looked every inch a man who had only played three times for Leinster since January in a hugely ring-rusty opening salvo.

The Ireland playmaker had to let Greig Laidlaw slot a second-half penalty after receiving treatment, and was left limping lightly.

His awful night was cut short soon afterwards, with Warren Gatland sounding the clarion call for Farrell.

The England fly-half offered an immediate uplift, first setting Ross Moriarty loose, then providing the scoring pass for Watson.

Farrell then converted what ought to have proved the breakthrough score, but still the Lions continued to struggle.

The teak-tough Saracen even blasted a penalty against the left post after the hour, with only six points still separating the sides.

The Lions had to defend a driven lineout in the final minute, where a converted try would have handed the Barbarians the victory.

But the replacement front row of Saracens duo Jamie George and Mako Vunipola, plus Tadhg Furlong, squeezed the hosts into submission as the Lions held on in a match where they ought to have powered home - not inched across the line.

Latest Islington Sports News

Fri, 19:35

Middlesex coach Richard Scott hailed his side after a third successive win in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Fri, 18:14

Paul Stirling defied a thigh injury which forced him to bat with a runner to score his second century in less than a week as Middlesex beat Sussex by 74 runs at Hove in the Royal London One-Day Cup.

Fri, 10:00

After chasing down 333 to defeat local rivals North Middlesex last weekend, Muz Ali’s team will eye more success on Saturday

Fri, 09:30

There are plenty of sporting events going on across Lee Valley Regional Park to keep youngsters in London busy during half-term.

Thu, 12:00

Pratik Patel is eager for the new boys to impress again in Division Three and show their class in the Bertie Joel Trophy on Sunday

Thu, 08:49

Royal London One-Day Cup, South Group: Glamorgan (302-9) lose to Middlesex (304-6) by two runs

Thu, 02:40

Unai Emery looked immaculate in his fitted Arsenal suit bearing an embroidered club badge with red thread. He wore an expensive but not ostentatious watch and his jet black hair was slicked back. The only hint of a rushed few days on the red-eye to the US was the fact his cufflinks on a stylish cream shirt were white pins rather than more classic silver a man of his stature might sport – a nod to the fact he perhaps hadn’t had time to shop for himself recently.

Thu, 02:00

New Arsenal head coach Unai Emery has been explaining his football philosophy to supporters of the North London giants – and it’s good news.

PROMOTED CONTENT

Fostering older teenagers means giving them the skills for life as an adult. Here, a supportive lodgings carer with Islington Council and young adult who has left care share their stories

“I try and do my best to enhance the young person’s capabilities. I’m very focused on their education, their wellbeing and their cultural needs.”

Newsletter Sign Up

Islington Gazette twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Most read sport

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Islington Gazette
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now