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Dublin: 12 °C Saturday 25 May, 2019
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Here we go again. The Lions games keep coming thick and fast as the tour becomes seven day’s old with its third fixture.

With Quade Cooper in opposition, this should be the biggest test yet for Warren Gatland’s men.

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

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Reds 12 – 22 Lions

Good morning rugby fans.

No great fanfare this morning, but we should be in for a fine game as the Suncorp Stadium in Queensland has an expectant crowd.

Here are your teams.

Reds: 15 Ben Lucas, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Ben Tapuai, 12 Anthony Faingaa, 11 Luke Morahan, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Nick Frisby, 1 Ben Daley, 2 James Hanson, 3 Greg Holmes, 4 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 5 Ed O’Donoghue, 6 Eddie Quirk, 7 Beau Robinson, 8 Jake Schatz.

Replacements: 16 Albert Anae, 17 Sam Denny, 18 Jono Owen, 19 Radike Samo, 20 Jarrad Butler, 21 Jono Lance, 22 Mike Harris, 23 Dom Shipperley

British and Irish Lions: 15 Stuart Hogg, 14 Alex Cuthbert, 13 Manu Tuilagi, 12 Jonathan Davies, 11 Tommy Bowe, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Ben Youngs, 1 Mako Vunipola, 2 Tom Youngs, 3 Matt Stevens, 4 Richie Gray, 5 Geoff Parling, 6 Dan Lydiate, 7 Sam Warburton (c), 8 Toby Faletau.

Replacements: 16 Richard Hibbard, 17 Dan Cole, 18 Adam Jones, 19 Paul O’Connell, 20 Justin Tipuric, 21 Conor Murray, 22 Jonathan Sexton, 23 George North

KICK OFF: Farell kicks to the Reds 22 and they waste no time. Cooper spins the ball left metres from his line and Tommy Bowe is penalised for a high tackle as Ben Tapuai shaped to break.

Cuthbert has to scramble to prevent Morahan getting into the corner. The Reds look willing to run from deep, but it’s another kick into space that tests Hogg’s awareness.

This is terrific rugby.

What’s the Australian for champagne rugby?

The hosts probably should be at least five up here, after they moved left to right inside the 22. Bowe managed to force Davies back inside and with the Reds unwilling to draw defenders close to the ruck, the tourists are able to fan out.

The move breaks down with Beau Robinson spilling a relatively straight-forward pass from Frisby.

Huge slaps on the back for the touring pack as they force the scrum penalty 10 metres from their own line. After the line-out on halfway, he back-line malfunctions and Hogg is left isolated, meaning another turnover for the home side.

Wow, a shoddy kick from Frisby give the Lions ball in their own half. Bowe steps and weaves his way through a gap hat didn’t look on and breaks 20 metres before passing to Cuthbert.

We went to the TMO, but Cuthbert was clearly deep in touch before he grounded the ball.

The Reds’ lust for running costs them and the Lions can take a breath as Owen Farrell opens the scoring.

PENALTY: Reds 0 – 3 Lions ( Farrell ’14)

TRY: Reds 7 – 3 Lions (Morahan ’17)

A terrific individual effort from the winger. He stepped Cuthbert just over the midfield line, then fended off Sam Warburton before chipping and beating Hogg to the line.

Manu Tuilagi has been forced off early. George North will run from outside centre for the remainder. Suncorp is rocking and this Lions XV look a little shell-shocked right now.

PENALTY: Reds 7 – 6 Lions (Farrell ’22)

A reprieve. The Reds hold on at the breakdown and the young out-half has a chance to narrow the gap to a minimum from a difficult angle. Beautiful place-kick

Fearless reporter Will Greenwood of SkySports tells us that Manu Tuilagi’s issue is a shoulder injury.

With two loose-heads lost to injury in two days, Gatland will be praying the injuries don’t spread to the back-line.

When the Reds do kick, they do so in the knowledge that the Lions pose an inferior threat on the counter. Hogg, then North, then Davies are swarmed as each off-load is delayed.

After winning the ball back, Cooper goes wide again from 30 metres and Bowe does well to stop Davies in his tracks and we go back for a penalty in the middle of the park….

Bu Quade’s claims for a Test jersey are cooled by a a bad strike that sees the ball drift left of the posts from directly in front.

Tr…. WHAT?

A brilliant break from North down the left and his pass puts Farrell in for a certain score, but somehow he failed to ground. It’s knocked out of his hand as he was about to plant it.

This game never stops. We’re with the TMO again as Ben Youngs seemed to steal the ball from Schaltz and he reached it first over the whitewash.

TRY: Reds 7 – 13 Lions ( Youngs ‘ 33)

Farrell adds another very good conversion.

Jonathan Sexton is preparing to come on, but hold on. George North is having a field day. He makes another clean break in midfield and draws a man before sending Sam Warburton to the corner.

His lack of fitness told, though, as he had to check back inside and Cooper (with AN Other) prevented the ball being grounded.

As the hooter goes for half time, the Lions have a line-out and from the maul the Youngs brothers combine with Ben breaking down the left to set up a platform.

PENALTY: Reds 7 – 16 Lions (Farrell ’42)

No breakthrough, but the Reds impinge at the breakdown and Farrell has another chance to do what he does best.

So, the score at the break was

HALF TIME: Reds 7 – 16 Lions

But enough about the first half, the second is under way with Quade Cooper’s kick claimed by Richie Gray just outside his 22.

The tourists have most certainly made the effort to take the sting/pace out of this game with a series of pick and drives.

Jonathan Sexton is finally on the field, but he’s taking the palce of Tommy Bowe who looks be having his hand examined.

Sexton takes over at 10 with Farrell moving to centre and North reverting to the wing. Shame.

Finally, Toby Faletau does something worthy of a mention, breaking off the back of a scrum and providing a base for Sexton to set up Farrell on a lovely angled line.

PENALTY: Reds 7 – 19 Lions ( Farrell ’51)

Sexton is the 10, but Farrell is still the goal-kicker. On Wednesday he watched Leigh Halfpenny take and make every shot. Today, it’s Owen Farrell as Sky remind us that the LIons are yet to miss a kick since arriving in Oz.

16/16 ain’t bad.

Oof, Beau Robinson is down. Hard. An very, very sore looking blow for the Reds flanker there.

A lot of concern from the medical team. Robinson is placed on a stretcher and driven from the field.

Radike Samo is off the bench in Robinson’s place. Things are about to get a lot more interesting with him around.

J-Sex hits the sideline now for a quick rub down on his hamstrings. If he goes down, we may pack the whole thing in.

TRY: Reds 12 – 19 Lions (Frisby ’62)

Just as the game looked to be fizzling out, the home side generate something special again. A sweeping move on the right finished off by the beautifully named Nick Frisby.

Amazingly, though, replacement kicker Mike Harris somehow smashes the easy conversion against the post.

The changes were likely coming anyway, but Gatty’s emptied the bench. O’Connell, Jones, Cole and Hibbard are all on now to try to squeeze the Reds at source.

So, 12 minutes remain and the Lions’ lead is just seven points. Time to really put the shoulder to the wheel and prove you’re worthy of a Test spot.

GOOD NEWS. Beau Robinson is back on the sideline and giving the crowd a thumbs up.

BAD NEWS: Tommy Bowe is out on the bench with his arm in a sling and a worried expression on his face.

Sam the captain is leaving the field. Tipuric is on as the Lions set for a five metre scrum. The game has been very patchy in the second half. You suspect the Lions are pleased enough to keep it that way as long as they have the lead.

Credit to the Reds, they continue to try and run from deep, but once they run in against O’Connell, it’s game over.

Penalty on the 22 line after the Munster lock forces Schaltz to hold on.

PENALTY: Reds 12 – 22 Lions (Farrell ’76)

The reds come again, Jono Owen galloping through the middle. Tipuric gets in over him, but concedes a penalty. Whoever hires Ewen McKenzie is in for a treat.

FULL TIME: Reds 12 -22 Lions

The players come off drenched. Clearly the tropical conditions round Brizzy had an effect on the run of play in the second half, but the Lions will certainly take heart that this time they were at least pushed on by their opposition and they managed to come out the other side.

Of much more concern will be the injuries to Tommy Bowe and Manu Tuilagi.

We’ll bring you news of them as we get it as well as all the reaction from Suncorp as we edge ever closer to the big three Tests against Australia.

Be careful out in that sun, ya hear?

About the author:

Sean Farrell

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