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IT WAS TIME for the British & Irish Lions to get their tour off to a winning start and stake a claim for a Test match jersey.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts on the game. E-mail patrick@thescore.ie, tweet @thescore_iepost a message to our Facebook wall, or leave a comment below.

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Lions 59-8 Barbarians

Welcome along to TheScore.ie’s first (of 10) Lions liveblogs. Kick-off is 40 minutes away so we will try to set the tone for you, as well as posting some pictures and videos to get you in the mood.

We’ll start you off with the team news.

Lions XV v Barbarians: Hogg, Cuthbert, Davies, Roberts, Maitland, Farrell, Phillips, Vunipola, Hibbard, A Jones, Gray, O’Connell (c), Lydiate, Tuperic, Faletau.

Replacements: T.Youngs, Healy, Stevens, Wyn Jones, Heaslip, Murray, Sexton, North.

(Credit: @espnscrum)

Barbarians XV: J Payne, J Rokocoko, E Daly, C Laulala, T Ngwenya, N Evans, D Yachvili: P James, S Brits, M Castrogiovanni, M Wentzel, D Mumm, S Manoa, S Jones, S Parisse.

Replacements: L Ghiraldini, D Jones,  J Hamilton, I Harinordoquy,  A Lo Cicero, K Fotuali’i, J Hook, M Tindall.

How do you think the Lions will fare today?

Poll Results:

Streaky victory (462)
Comfortable win (240)
Defeat (80)
No injuries please (45)

TheScore.ie rugby columnist Shane Byrne, a Lion in 2005, has given us his pre-match thoughts. This is just a taster:

I was enough to play for both sides and can tell you that the Barbarians would like nothing better than turning the Lions over. The Lions are the better team, of course, but guys like Sergio Parisse and Dimitri Yachvili are incredible players. You never know, if they click they’ll be an almost impossible side to stop.”

Ian McGeechan wants a test for The Lions but still wants to win by 30 points. He doesn’t ask for much, Geech, does he?

These Lions fans got to the Hong Kong Stadium earlier:

Hands up who loves pink trousers. (©INPHO/Dan Sheridan)

The Lions were late getting to the stadium so kick-off is delayed by five minutes.

Gats has been talking to Sky Sports. ‘There’s no panic with the boys’ after the traffic delay, he says.

Gatland added, “We want to keep the ball on the park and play some good rugby… You want a tough game (today). We’ve got six games going into the First Test and you want them to be as tough as possible.”

We won’t dip into the Jim Telfer well just yet in this seven-week tour so here’s a clip of Jamie Heaslip scoring against the BaaBaa’s:

YouTube credit: docathail

The lads are on the pitch as the stadium announcer asks for all to be upstanding for the Chinese national anthem. Who had money on that?!

The Lions look tiny in front of the BaaBaa’s:

Oh… wait. (Credit: Sky Sports)


O’Connell with an early steal as the Barbarians hash up the claim from Farrell’s kick off. Lions on the attack and Philips makes the first linebreak of the tour.

PEN: Lions 3-0 Barbarians (Farrell ’3)

Penalty conceded not long after Laulala smashes Stuart Hogg in the tackle. Farrell lines up a penalty from 39 metres. Slots it over.

Owen Farrell with a poor clearance that falls into Payne’s clutches. He grubbers on but Philips cleans up.

Welcome to Lions rugby young Master Hogg.

Farrell with a lazy grubber attempt that Hogg has to clean up. Schalk Brits then absolutely hammers Owen Farrell with a punch and there are some afters. Steve Walsh, the ref, is not going to red-card the hooker ‘given the match’. He gets a yellow instead.

Brits and Farrell are teammates at Saracens. Lovely.

Close to a try. Maitland hares up the left wing but Yachvili does enough to put him off. 11 minutes gone.

Another penalty conceded as the Barbarians struggle to hold up the Lions at the breakdown. Farrell, glistening with sweat after less than 15 minutes, pulls his kick left and wide. Just three minutes of the Brits sin-binning remain.

What did you think of the lenient yellow for Brits? Did Farrell have it coming?

PEN: Lions 3-3 Barbarians (Daly ’15)

Turnover ball for the Barbarians as Castrogiovanni steals well with Faletau asleep at the switch. Elliot Daly, the outside centre, belts a 49-metre penalty and we are level. WATER-BREAK TIME!!

The Lions’ jerseys are wringing wet already. Humidity in the late 80′s. Will Greenwood remarks that Sean Maitland looks asthough he has entered a wet t-shirt competition. O’Connell just about claims a lineout with Hibbard there to take the return feed.

Parisse steals breakdown ball but O’Connell gets it back. Davies with a fine pass to open up space for Maitland out left.

Richie Gray busts a tackle but his pass to Hogg, on his shoulder, is slightly forward and low. Brits is back on and the sin-bin is over. 3-3 after 19 minutes. What do O’Driscoll and Kearney make of it all?

‘Did you see that punch?’

PEN: Lions 6-3 Barbarians (Farrell ’20)

Adam Jones wins his side another penalty at the scrum and Farrell, to the right of the posts, nails it this time.

Tipuric with a turnover as Yachvili is isolated. He presents for the ball as the Lions us the phases before Farrell sends up a midfield bomb. Well claimed by Dr Jamie Roberts and Walsh plays advantage, which runs out, after the BaaBaa’s don’t release. O’Connell almost releases Hogg up the left flank but the pass doesn’t stick.

We’re hearing multiple (two) reports of the first rendition of Fields of Athenry ringing out at the Hong Kong Stadium. Davies and Roberts looking the best things about the Lions so far and they link up well again up the righthand side.

Philips CLOSE but held up just shy of the line. O’Connell then dives over but Walsh thinks it may have been lost forward. TMO…

TRY: Lions 13-3 Barbarians (O’Connell try)

It’s been given by the TV official. O’Connell gets the first try of the tour. The lock goes off for a blood injury as Farrell converts.

TRY: Lions 20-3 Barbarians (Philips ’31)

70 tackles made by the Barbarians so far but they can’t get a sniping Philips and he gets it down despite the attentions of Joe Rokocoko. Farrell, to the left of the posts, gets it.

Cuthbert and Davies are winning turnover ball for their side too. Here we see the benefits of the big Welsh backline boys in the Lions XV. Farrell’s less than perfect day gets shakier as he spills a dolly of a catch forward. Hands up, he apologises to his teammates.

Here’s a pic of Philips touching down:

POC and Magic Mike the try-scorers. 2009 all over again. (Credit: Sky Sports)

Farrell is playing very, very deep at times. The competition is almost said n’ done unless the Barbarians can get the next score. Maitland with a weak pass to Davies sees the ball slip forward. Scrum for the BaaBaa’s but Gatland won’t mind as, yes, their setpiece gets minced. Farrell will go for the posts in the last action of the half.

PEN: Lions 23-3 Barbarians (Farrell ’40)

Despite Hogg asking if he can take the distance kick, Farrell tells him, politely, to back off. 47 metres and to the right. No problem. Over it goes. 20 points ahead at the break. Time to change the jerseys.


Well, what did you make of that? O’Connell and Philips already nailing down the 5 and 9 jerseys?

The ex-pats get the beers in at the break but here comes a patched-up Paulie and the lads. A lot of players wearing new/fresh jerseys.


Faletau claims Evans’ restart and Philips box-kicks up to the halfway.

TRY: Lions 30-3 Barbarians (Philips ’42)

Another snipe from Magic Mike off the back of a Lions lineout and it is so, so easy. No-one patrolling the back of that setpiece. The scrumhalf points to the tryline before doing a mini swan dive over. Farrell lands another fine conversion.

Lions get a penalty. O’Connell instructs Farrell to hit the line. Gray takes Hibbard’s lineout throw and another attack is on. Jones flicks a pass for Vunipola, who offloads well to Tipuric. Rokocoko hates losing so he puts his body into holding the flanker up. Scrum for the BaaBaa’s.

The question marks over Farrell’s attacking play will pop up again as he fails to locate an unmarked Maitland out wide left and inside the 22. Tipuric had put Farrell free after a chip ahead by the Scottish Kiwi. 53 minutes gone as Harinorduqoy comes on for the Barbarians.

TRY: Lions 30-8 Barbarians (Fotuali’i ’56)

Cian Healy and Matt Stevens are on for their Lions starts. Solid scrum and Faletau picks from the back. Lions looking for more points but the BaaBaa’s strike next and Kahn Fotuali’i gets over after a superb break from Rokocoko up the right. Evans misses the conversion.

Here’s Jonny. Murray on the pitch now too. Lions debuts for the Irishmen.

TRY: Lions 37-8 Barbarians (Davies ’57)

Poor play from Sam Jones at the back of the lineout. His loose pass, under pressure from Tipuric, spills forward for Roberts. His pass to Davies is knocked forward by Laulala and Davies is there to clean up. Confirmed after a TMO. Sexton gets the extras.

TRY: Lions 42-8 Barbarians (Cuthbert ’60)

Four Welsh players involved – and Conor Murray – before Cuthbert is sent clear up the right wing by Roberts. He dives over in the corner. Sexton just off with his touchline conversion as Heaslip comes on for Faletau.

TRY: Lions 47-8 Barbarians (Cuthbert ’69)

Conor Murray with his best Mike Philips impression as he snipes through two men, after George North makes room in midfield, and finds Cuthbert. He races up the touchline again to dive over. Another touchline tester for Sexton but this time his conversion goes left and wide.

Cian Healy trying to make an impression in the final 10 minutes as he piles into some black and white shirts. Sexton and Heaslip then link up outside the BB’s 22. They go offside to slow the play down so Sexton hits the corner for some lineout practice.

TRY: Lions 52-8 Barbarians (Lydiate ’74)

Youngs finds Heaslip as second man up in the lineout. Driving maul and Lydiate, who is getting a full run, crashes over. Same position yet again for Sexton and it is third time lucky. Four minutes to go.

Heaslip does a Happy Gilmore on Nick Evans and rips his jersey up over his head to make him look quite roughed up and foolish.

After Sexton’s conversion it is Lions 54-8 Barbarians

Mike Philips gets the Sky Sports man-of-the-match award.

TRY: Lions 59-8 Barbarians (AW Jones ’80)

A charge by Healy and an offload to Tom Youngs sets up the Lions in the Barbarians 22. Murray, to Sexton, to AW Jones and for the fourth time in 20 minutes, they cross over in that righthand corner. Sexton with the last kick of the game but left and wide it goes.


A “delighted” Paul O’Connell pays credit to the Lions pack for providing an attacking platform while rival captain Sergio Parisse says he is frustrated then adds ‘It was difficult for me but, whatever’. Sums up the contest really.

What did you make of that? Who were your stand-out players?

Cheers for the company this afternoon. One win down and nine to go for the Lions. Stay with us over the day for match reaction, injury updates and post-game comments.

About the author:

Patrick McCarry