Sunday 18 February 2018

Phillips stars for Lions

Mike Phillips, second right, races clear to score one of his two tries
Mike Phillips, second right, races clear to score one of his two tries

Wales star Mike Phillips inspired the Lions to a comprehensive 59-8 victory over the Barbarians at Hong Kong Stadium as their 10-game tour began in successful fashion.

Stamina-sapping conditions proved the real winner, though, as humidity levels touched 94%, contributing greatly to both sides struggling for sustained passages of error-free rugby.

Scrum-half Phillips, the Lions' most consistent performer, scored two tries, while wing Alex Cuthbert also claimed a double and there were further touchdowns for skipper Paul O'Connell, centre Jonathan Davies, flanker Dan Lydiate and substitute Alun-Wyn Jones.

Fly-half Owen Farrell kicked 15 points but he had a mixed bag of a game elsewhere, making some poor decisions, with one handling blunder leading directly to a Barbarians try. His replacement Jonathan Sexton added two conversions.

Northampton-bound Samoa international Kahn Fotuali'i touched down for the Barbarians, and there was also a penalty by Wasps centre Elliot Daly, but they were again crushed following a drubbing by England in last Sunday's encounter at Twickenham.

The Lions, who struggled to win their first tour match in South Africa four years ago, head to Australia on Sunday, where far greater challenges await, including three Tests against the Wallabies.

They are on the trail of a first Test series triumph since 1997, and by the time things are up and running Down Under, their Hong Kong excursion will be remembered as little more than the equivalent of a pre-season friendly.

Phillips apart, there were some impressive individual contributions by Wales back-row forwards Justin Tipuric and Toby Faletau, while Scotland pair Richie Gray and Stuart Hogg had their moments.

But with a crowd of just under 29,000 - more than 11,000 short of capacity - struggling to become enthralled by the action, it was a case of job done for the Lions, yet nothing more.

Press Association

Promoted Links

Sport Newsletter

The best sport action straight to your inbox every morning.

Promoted Links

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport