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Lions roar to nine-try triumph

The British and Irish Lions roared to a 69-17 victory over Western Force in nine-try fashion at Patersons Stadium - but they were left sweating on an ankle injury suffered by Ireland prop Cian Healy.

The Leinster forward was carried off and taken to hospital for an X-ray, although initial reports were that he had sprained his ankle rather than anything more serious. Healy's departure was the only setback for a Lions side far quicker in thought and deed than their spirited, but outclassed, opponents.

The tourists ran in tries from captain Brian O'Driscoll (2), Jonathan Sexton, Tom Croft, Jamie Heaslip, Mako Vunipola, Tommy Bowe, Owen Farrell and Geoff Parling, while full-back Leigh Halfpenny produced a goalkicking masterclass.

Halfpenny, this year's Six Nations player of the tournament, booted all nine conversions - several from the touchline - and two penalties for 24 points and a 100% record.

The Force replied with touchdowns by forwards Richard Brown and Lachlan McCaffrey, while scrum-half Brett Sheehan converted both and landed a penalty, but they had no answer to some perpetual motion rugby by the tourists.

The Lions went ahead through an early Halfpenny penalty after Bowe sliced open Western Force's defence. The Force had their work cut out keeping a consistent defensive shape, and they were horribly outfoxed by Sexton when he danced his way over from 20 metres, beating three players in the process.

A Sheehan penalty eight minutes before half-time then opened the Force's account, before O'Driscoll claimed a well-worked touchdown and Croft also scored. And the third quarter was one-way traffic with Heaslip powering over before Healy's replacement Vunipola touched down in the corner.

It was relentless by the Lions, and even though Brown's try momentarily knocked them out of their stride, they quickly surged back upfield to camp deep inside Western Force's 22.

The Force's job was made even tougher midway through the half when centre Ed Stubbs was sin-binned for not rolling away from a ruck. And Stubbs' poor discipline was immediately pushed when the Lions easily worked Bowe across for try number six.

The Lions were in no mood to take their foot off the accelerator, and further scores followed in quick succession for O'Driscoll and Farrell - before Parling's effort four minutes from time - although Croft's evening ended early when he left the action gingerly after a clash of heads with Brown.


From Belfast Telegraph