The British and Irish Lions made it two tour wins from two this morning as they crushed Australian side Western Force by a score of 69-17.
Johnny Sexton, Brian O'Driscoll and Tom Croft all ran in first-half tries as the visitors built a commanding 27-3 interval lead, but the shine was slightly taken off of the performance when prop Cian Healy was lost to injury moments before the interval with a potentially-tour ending ankle injury.
It did not prevent the Lions finishing the job in the second-half however, as six more tries came courtesy of O'Driscoll, Jamie Heaslip, Mako Vunipola, Tommy Bowe, Owen Farrell and Geoff Parling. Leigh Halfpenny was also in sparkling goal-kicking form, landing nine out of nine conversions and adding two penalties to finish with a personnel tally of 24 points.
Coach Warren Gatland's only complaint is likely to be the fashion in which his team conceded two late, consolation tries in what was otherwise a thoroughly impressive display.
Healy was the only player unlikely to have enjoyed the run-out with the Leinster player already the subject of a biting claim from Force scrum-half Brett Sheehan before his injury. The television match official later ruled there was no evidence for Sheehan's claim. Bowe helped Halfpenny open the scoring with a penalty when he burst onto a short pass from Sexton, before the Irishman deservedly scored the game's first try: throwing the hapless defender a wonderful dummy after latching onto a George North pass.
Sheehan kicked the Aussie's only first-half points after Rory Best over-threw a line-out, but the home side were soon further behind when O'Driscoll released North and then took a return pass from the Welsh winger to score his sixth try for the Lions, 12 years after his first in the same city.
Sean O'Brien and Alun Wyn Jones then helped force Croft over in the left corner and Halfpenny registered his third conversion of the half, this time a wonderful effort from the far touchline. Only a minute into the second-half a dominant Heaslip strolled in try number four after a defence-splitting pass from Sexton, but the Force did restore some pride when number eight Richard Brown crept over after a quick pick-and-go from captain Matt Hodgson.
Despite the setback the Lions continued to play some enterprising rugby with Vunipola - on for Healy - finishing powerfully in the right corner after another deft Sexton pass. A disheartened Force soon lost centre Ed Stubbs to the sin-bin for killing the ball and Bowe squeezed over for another try moments later.
They did get a second try however when a mistake by O'Brien - out of position in the line - allowed Lachlan McCaffrey to slip through Sexton's tackle and run in a score. The Lions responded with the pick of the games 11 tries: Sexton and Manu Tuilagi combining superbly to present O'Driscoll with his second.
Owen Farrell was on for barely a minute when he scored with his first touch, and there was still time for Croft to depart after smashing heads with Brown, Jones to be sin-binned and Geoff Parling to stretch over in a breathless finale. The Lions next game is on Saturday when they take on the Queensland Reds. Kick-off is 10.30am British time.
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