Winger Jack Nowell yesterday scored two tries as the British and Irish Lions ruthlessly exploited a yellow card for Waikato Chiefs flanker Mitchell Brown to register a 34-6 victory in their final tour match before the opening All Blacks Test.
The Lions were awarded a penalty try, which resulted in Brown receiving his 10-minute sojourn on the sidelines, then Nowell and Jared Payne both touched down while he was off the field as the visitors’ sustained pressure finally paid off.
Flyhalf Dan Biggar added three conversions and two penalties in the Hamilton encounter for the Lions, who now head to Auckland to face New Zealand in the first match of a three-Test series on Saturday.
Captain Stephen Donald slotted two first-half penalties for a Chiefs side put under constant pressure from the visitors, who retained the ball for long periods and smothered any Chiefs attack.
“We’re very happy, this was a tough fixture,” Lions captain Rory Best said. “We came here tonight to mix it up. We felt we had a good pack, a good scrum and that we could maul them, but at the same time we didn’t want to limit ourselves and when we get decent ball you see what the backline can do.”
Lions head coach Warren Gatland had said beforehand that places for the Test series were still up for grabs, but few pundits believe that many if any of the side that eased past the Chiefs would feature in Saturday’s clash against the All Blacks.
Ireland No. 8 C.J. Stander was one of those who might have put himself in the frame for selection at the weekend as the Lions forwards controlled the game by building phases and forcing errors.
On the downside, they lacked any real creativity or game-breaking penetration in the backs, although Nowell’s second try was arguably the best of the tour so far.
“They suffocated us and scored some great tries,” Chiefs skipper Donald said.
“Disappointing in front of a great crowd that we just couldn’t get going, but we have got no complaints. They were just too good,” he said.
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