Flyhalf Owen Farrell yesterday slotted four penalties as the British and Irish Lions produced a performance of Test intensity to beat the Canterbury Crusaders 12-3 in Christchurch to win for the second time on their New Zealand tour.
Warren Gatland’s Lions had been under immense pressure after a mediocre start to their 10-match tour, with an unconvincing 13-7 victory over the Provincial Barbarians and a 22-16 loss to the Auckland Blues on Wednesday.
However, a victory born of a huge defensive effort and the almost unerring boot of Farrell — the one kick he missed looked from TV pictures to have gone over — will give them a major boost as they head to Dunedin to face the Otago Highlanders on Tuesday.
“We can be pleased with our defense, we probably need to be more clinical when we do get line breaks, but we are happy with our turnaround tonight,” Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones said. “We tried to improve from the last game... I wouldn’t say that we were off track, I’d say we are just keeping our momentum going.”
Richie Mo’unga kicked a first-half penalty for the only points for the Crusaders, who have claimed seven Super Rugby titles and won all 14 of their games in the competition this season.
“We didn’t have our rhythm,” Crusaders captain and All Blacks second row Sam Whitelock said. “Full credit to them, they put pressure on us and our mistakes kept them in the game.”
Scrumhalf Conor Murray and Farrell both sent strong messages that they should be the starting Lions halfback combination for the first Test in Auckland on June 24 with their attacking kicking game putting immense pressure on the Crusaders.
The tourists also upped their intensity on defense, shutting down the Crusaders’ attacking options with their fast line speed and forcing them into mistakes.
However, the Lions suffered two injuries, with fullback Stuart Hogg receiving a bad cut above his left eye when he accidentally collided with Murray’s elbow while chasing a high kick.
Center Jonathan Davies, making his first appearance on the tour, also failed a head injury assessment after he was tackled heavily by Mo’unga in the first half.
The battle between the packs had been seen as crucial, with the Crusaders having six All Blacks forwards in their starting side, including the likely starting Test front row.
However, French referee Mathieu Raynal did not allow any momentum to develop and caused a great deal of confusion with some of his decisions.
Raynal’s enigmatic decisionmaking was evident when he penalized Crusaders loosehead prop Joe Moody during an attacking scrum when he had Tadhg Furlong under extreme pressure.
Chen Jifang hits the gym for at least two hours every day and has the physique to prove it. At nearly 70, she is being held up as a shining example as China orders its vast population to get fit and lose the bulge. The grandmother from Shanghai has become a minor celebrity in in the past few months after her newfound and unlikely love for working out made national headlines. After becoming a gym regular in December 2018, Chen lost 14kg in three months, and now sports the kind of flat stomach and toned muscles that people decades younger aspire to. She
’SO CONSISTENT’: The victory gave the world No. 1 and world No. 2 a 21-1 win-loss record and their fourth title of the season after successes in Brisbane, Dubai and Doha Taiwan’s Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strycova of the Czech Republic on Sunday cruised to their fourth women’s doubles title of the season at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia in Rome in their first tournament back since the suspension of the WTA Tour due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The top seeds took just 63 minutes to complete a comprehensive 6-2, 6-2 victory over unseeded German-Romanian duo Anna-Lena Friedsam and Raluca Olaru at the Foro Italico. It was the Taiwanese-Czech pairing’s first outing since they won the Qatar Open in February. “After five months, you don’t know what to expect,” Strycova told the WTA Web site.
ANOTHER SCANDAL: Searches focused on several riders, including Dayer Quintana, a source said, while the two being held were reportedly a doctor and physiotherapist French police on Monday detained two people as part of an investigation into suspected doping in the Arkea-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, prosecutors announced. The probe is the first significant one in several years for the repeatedly scandal-hit tour, which on Sunday wrapped up in Paris with a victory for 21-year-old Tadej Pogacar, who became the youngest winner in more than a century. Prosecutor Dominique Laurens in Marseille said in a statement that an investigation was being carried out into a “small part” of France-based Arkea-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody. Laurens added that the two
Former MLB pitcher Wang Wei-chung has signed the biggest contract with a local team in Taiwan’s professional baseball history, the Wei Chuan Dragons said yesterday. The 28-year-old left-hander signed a five-year US$2.08 million contract with the Dragons, team chairman Hsu Wen-fang told a news conference. It is the biggest contract in the CPBL’s 31-year history, surpassing a three-year, US$1.36 million deal Lin Chih-sheng signed in 2016 with the CTBC Brothers. Although the overall value of Wang’s deal set a new record, his average monthly salary of NT$990,000 (US$33,886) is lower than Lin’s pay of NT$1.2 million per month in 2017