Queensland Reds 12-22 Lions: Tough win for tourists

George North of the Lions moves past Rod Davies. Picture: Getty
George North of the Lions moves past Rod Davies. Picture: Getty
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THE Lions preserved their 100 per cent tour record but were given a punishing workout just two weeks before returning to Suncorp Stadium and a first-Test appointment with Australia

QUEENSLAND REDS Tries: Morahan, Frisby Conversion: Cooper

LIONS Try: B Youngs Conversion: Farrell Penalties: Farrell 5

But they left Brisbane with further fitness concerns, winger Tommy Bowe suffering a broken bone in his hand and centre Manu Tuilagi departing nursing a shoulder injury midway through the opening period.

Props Cian Healy (ankle ligaments) and Gethin Jenkins (calf muscle) were already booked on flights home, their replacements Alex Corbisiero and Ryan Grant having flown in from Argentina and South Africa, respectively.

After scoring 128 points and 17 tries in battering the Barbarians and walloping Western Force, the Lions had to dig deep following a breathtaking early try from Reds wing Luke Morahan.

Scrum-half Ben Youngs claimed a close-range touchdown for the tourists, while stand-off Owen Farrell kicked 17 points.

The Reds conjured touchdowns for Morahan and scrum-half Nick Frisby – Quade Cooper kicked one conversion – yet the Lions ultimately prevailed following a game of high intensity and ferocious commitment watched by a 50,000 crowd.

The Reds flew out of their starting blocks, putting the Lions under immediate pressure as half-backs Cooper and Frisby toyed with a stretched defence before home wing Rod Davies was tackled just short.

For the first time on tour, the Lions found themselves thoroughly tested in all areas, but they released almost ten minutes of unremitting pressure when Tuilagi freed wing Bowe from deep.

Ireland star Bowe ran brilliantly before finding his fellow wing Alex Cuthbert, yet the Welshman was denied a try by Morahan’s superb tackle that completed another breathless passage of play.

The Reds were hell-bent on moving possession wide and at pace, yet the Lions showed signs of scrum and lineout dominance that underpinned Farrell’s opening penalty strike after 14 minutes.

Morahan, though, then scored one of the greatest individual tries of any Lions tour when he produced a stunning 70-metre break that initially took him through Cuthbert’s tackle and around Ben Youngs.

Lions skipper Sam Warburton was also brushed aside before Morahan had the presence of mind to kick final defender Stuart Hogg, gather the rebound and touch down.

Cooper converted, and then Tuilagi departed after just 20 minutes to be replaced by Wales wing George North, who went into midfield alongside his countryman Jonathan Davies.

A second Farrell penalty narrowed the gap to a point, but Cooper missed a penalty chance 35 metres out that he should have landed as the game’s astonishing pace showed no sign of relenting.

North’s speed caused problems for the Reds’ defence, and his approach work carved open the Australian side, but Farrell lost possession as he attempted to ground the ball under pressure from Morahan, and a golden chance went begging.

The Lions, though, only had to wait another three minutes before claiming their opening try, resulting from Youngs robbing Reds No.8 Jake Schatz of possession at a scrum five metres out and sniping over.

Farrell added the extras, and only some last-ditch tackling from the Reds prevented a Warburton score after North ran strongly from deep, before Farrell slotted his third penalty as a pulsating first half drew to a close.

Farrell kicked a fourth penalty ten minutes into the second period, and with rain making conditions difficult for both sides the Lions adopted a more pragmatic approach through the back-row forwards’ direct running.

Reds flanker Beau Robinson was carried off after being caught flush in the face by a charging Vunipola, which caused a lengthy stoppage while he was carefully treated by medics before being helped away with his neck in a brace.

Frisby scored a second try for the Reds 16 minutes from time, but Cooper missed a simple conversion attempt, meaning the Lions held a seven-point advantage as Paul O’Connell appeared off the bench.

And with props Adam Jones and Dan Cole also on, the Lions were able to close out a win that was sealed by Farrell’s fifth penalty three minutes from time.

Queensland Reds: Ben Lucas; Rod Davies; Ben Tapuai; Anthony Fainga’a; Luke Morahan; Quade Cooper; Nick Frisby; Ben Daley, James Hanson, Greg Holmes, Ed O’Donoghue, Adam Wallace-Harrison, Eddie Quirk, Beau Robinson, Jake Schatz.

Replacements: Albert Anae (for Daley, 24), Sam Denny, Jono Owen (for Holmes, blood 36-40, 69), Jarrad Butler (for Robinson, 55), Radike Samo (blood, for O’Donoghue, 12-19, for Wallace-Harrison, 55), Jono Lance (for Frisby, 68, Frisby for Lucas, 70), Mike Harris (for Fainga’a, 53), Dom Shipperley (for Morahan, 44).

British and Irish Lions: Stuart Hogg; Alex Cuthbert, Manu Tuilagi, Jonathan Davies, Tommy Bowe; Owen Farrell, Ben Youngs; Mako Vunipola, Tom Youngs, Matt Stevens, Richie Gray, Geoff Parling, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton, Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Richard Hibbard (for T Youngs, 64, Dan Cole (for Vunipola, 64), Adam Jones (for Stevens, 64), Paul O’Connell (for Gray, 64), Justin Tipuric (for Warburton, 74), Conor Murray, Jonathan Sexton (for Bowe, 46), George North (for Tuilagi, 20).

Referee: Jerome Garces (Fra)

Attendance: 50,136

Aussies accused of spying

THE Wallabies have been accused of spying on the British and Irish Lions last week, with a man reportedly chased out of a training session in Perth and ordered to delete video footage.

The Lions are also investigating another breach of security in which a training session was filmed, and it is understood the Australian team also recorded their own footage of the Lions’ demolition of the Western Force.

The allegations were reported in the Queensland Sunday Mail with Lions head coach Warren Gatland quoted as saying: “We chased someone with a video the other day but we are not getting too paranoid about that. We know last week the Australian side were videoing us and doing individual videos on the players.

“We have a completely new set of calls that we will introduce at some stage, because we think they’ve been listening to us.”

In the 2001 tour Down Under it was believed the Wallabies cracked the Lions’ lineout codes through espionage, helping them win the decisive third Test in Sydney.