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Lions 109 Manawatu 6

Lions 109 Manawatu 6

Shane Williams bagged five tries for the British & Irish Lions as they responded to Saturday’s defeat with a 109-6 thrashing of Manawatu.

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The Lions put their touring show back on the road in Palmerston North last night with a comprehensive victory at the FMG Stadium, after the ignominious defeat in Saturday’s first Test against the All Blacks in Christchurch, the Lions struck back to register a sixth win in eight games.

The star of the show, once again, was Wales’s Shane Williams who added five tries to the one he scored in the victory over Otago ten days ago. It took the Ospreys star just five minutes to open the scoring for the Lions; his second of the tour and the ninth by a Welshman since the side kicked off against Bay of Plenty in Rotorua. Within a matter of seven minutes and with Manawatu struggling to contain, the tourists were 12-0 to the good when Martin Corry was sent away for a try by Chris Cussiter. Hodgson converted and the game, even then, was already beyond the hosts.

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Williams was again in on the action on twenty-four minutes, a quickly taken penalty from Cussiter saw the diminutive wing collect the ball eight metres from the Manawatu line. His initial side step set up the chance and his second and third took him over for Hodgson to once again improve.

Michael Owen’s pass and Jason Robinson’s pass gave Geordan Murphy an opportunity to add try number four and after Manawatu captain Natham Kemp had been yellow carded for a high tackle on Hodgson, Robinson added number five on half an hour. A crowd of 17,100 were enjoying the fare and after the first of two penalties from scrum half Jonathan Hargreaves on thirty-three minutes, Williams completed his hat-trick following a wonderful offload from Ollie Smith.

Hargreaves added his second penalty on the stroke of half time to reduce the arrears to 32 points, but within eight minutes of the start of the second half, the Lions had added another four tries.

Hodgson scored and converted the first after his pack had driven the Lions to within ten metres, Ollie Smith added the next after replacement Brent Cockbain had given the scoring pass and Shane Williams and Neil Back added the next two to take the Lions to 64-6. The Lions added another try through Gordon D’Arcy on fifty-three minutes as Manawatu began to chase shadows and when Back found himself in plenty of space on the left, Ronan O’Gara popped up to add yet another nail.

Mark Cueto danced around three would-be tacklers on sixty-four minutes to add a thirteenth try for the Lions, O’Gara appeared on the shoulder of Neil Back to make it fourteen and Gareth Cooper made it fifteen after Williams had hacked on towards the Manawatu line. Shane Williams brought up the century of points with his fifth try, three minutes from time, although it seems not even this return and his previous contribution will be enough to persuade Clive Woodward that he is good enough to have a crack at the All Blacks.

British & Irish Lions
G Murphy
J Robinson (M Cueto 53mins)
O Smith
G D’Arcy
S Williams
C Hodgson (R O’Gara 61mins)
C Cussiter (G Cooper 40mins)
A Sheridan
G Bulloch (capt. A Titterell 39mins)
J Hayes (J Hayes 60mins)
S Shaw
D O’Callaghan (B Cockbain 40mins)
M Corry
M Williams (N Back 40mins)
M Owen

Lions 109 Manawatu 6

Hargreaves (2)

S Williams (5), Corry, Murphy, Robinson, Smith, Hodgson, Back, D’Arcy, O’Gara (2), Cueto (2), Cooper
Conversions: Hodgson (7), O’Gara (5)

Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)
Attendance: 17,100

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