B&I Lions run riot at Ellis Park
MATCH REPORT: The expected slaughter happened at Ellis Park on Saturday, when the touring British and Irish Lions feasted on their outclassed opposition.
From the outset the chasm of the difference in class between the two teams was obvious – the tourists outscoring the willing, but deprived hosts by eight tries to two for a 56-14 win.
Despite enjoying some parity in terms of possession, the B&I Lions showed their class – their defence the one obvious difference.
The hosts missed an astonishing 29 tackles and the visitors just nine.
The Johannesburg Lions won nine turnovers to the two of the B&I Lions, but were unable to turn their opportunities into points.
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Wing Josh Adams scored half (four) of his team’s tries in the opening match of a South Africa tour.
The home side, who are likely to prove the weakest opponents for the tourists, trailed 7-21 at half-time and collapsed during the closing stages behind closed doors at Ellis Park.
Adams was the only starter who also began the warm-up victory over Japan in Edinburgh last Saturday and scored all his tries in the second half as the South Africans faded.
Judgment on the tourists will be reserved given the poor quality of the opposition, but they adapted comfortably to the 1,753-metre altitude and were clinical when scoring chances occurred.
The tourists needed only 203 seconds to score on a 14th tour to South Africa as Louis Rees-Zammit collected a Chris Harris kick and raced over for a try which Owen Farrell converted.
Hamish Watson powered over after a tap penalty and another simple conversion for Farrell stretched the lead to 14 points with just eight minutes gone.
Having breached the South Africans’ defence twice, the British and Irish Lions were subjected to severe pressure for seven minutes inside their 22 before winning a penalty to end the assault.
Having weathered multi-phase attacks, the visitors scored again on 33 minutes when Ali Price took full advantage of a gap to score and Farrell added the extra points.
The South Africans responded with a try two minutes later thanks to Democratic Republic of Congo-born flanker Vincent Tshituka, who barged over and Jordan Hendrikse converted.
Wyn Jones thought he had scored a fourth try for the tourists just before half-time but it was disallowed after the television match official spotted an illegal clear-out by Courtney Lawes in the build-up.
The second half was only 49 seconds old when Adams opened his account and apart from his four tries, replacement Gareth Davies also scored.
Farrell converted all eight tries, most from simple positions.
All the South Africans could manage in return was a try from Rabz Maxwane, which cut the visitors’ lead to 14 points for 10 minutes before the floodgates opened.
Next up for the tourists is a match on Wednesday against the Sharks, one of the two strongest South African franchises, also at Ellis Park.
The Sharks are based in Durban, but the fixture was moved to limit travelling for the Lions amid a third wave of COVID-19 in South Africa.
Man of the match: The loose trio – Sibusiso Sangweni, Francke Horn and Vincent Tshituka – was the epitome of the never-say-die attitude of some of the players in the home team. The B&I Lions lock pairing of Jonny Hill and Maro Itoje set a solid foundation. Ali Price had his moments and Josh Adams was good value for his four tries. Our award goes to British and Irish Lions flank Hamish Watson – with plenty of strong carries and some huge tackles. He is a complete loose forward and made strong claims for Test place.
Moment of the match: Some really great tries – especially the Hamish Watson power play early in the first half and the four Josh Adams scores. However, the full-time whistle ended the slaughter and brought mercy to the deprived hosts.
Villain of the match: No real villains, although there will be question marks
For the Lions
Tries: Tshituka, Maxwane
Cons: Hendrikse 2
For the British and Irish Lions
Tries: Rees-Zammit, Watson, Price, Adams 4, Davis
Cons: Farrell 8
Lions: 15 EW Viljoen, 14 Jamba Ulengo, 13 Manuel Rass, 12 Burger Odendaal, 11 Rabz Maxwane, 10 Jordan Hendrikse, 9 Dillon Smit, 8 Francke Horn (captain), 7 Vincent Tshituka, 6 Sibusiso Sangweni, 5 Reinhard Nothnagel, 4 Ruben Schoeman, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Pieter Botha, 1 Nathan McBeth.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Visagie, 17 Sithembiso Sithole, 18 Carlu Sadie, 19 Ruhan Straeuli, 20 Emmanuel Tshituka, 21 Morne van den Berg, 22 Fred Zeilinga, 23 Dan Kriel.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg (captain), 14 Louis Rees-Zammit, 13 Chris Harris, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Josh Adams, 10 Finn Russell, 9 Ali Price,
8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Hamish Watson, 6 Courtney Lawes, 5 Jonny Hill, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Kyle Sinckler, 2 Jamie George, 1 Wyn Jones.
Replacements: 16 Luke Cowan-Dickie, 17 Mako Vunipola, 18 Zander Fagerson, 19 Iain Henderson, 20 Sam Simmonds, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Bundee Aki, 23 Elliot Daly.
Referee: AJ Jacobs (South Africa)
Assistant referees: Wayne Barnes (England), Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
TMO: Stuart Berry (South Africa)