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Lions tour

Lions overcome plucky Barbarians in opener

Warren Gatland

Warren Gatland: tough start (photo by Terry Murden)

 

Provincial Barbarians 7 British and Irish Lions 13

The British and Irish Lions stumbled to a testing opening victory in their tour of New Zealand.

With three Scots in the opening line-up, they overcame the plucky Provincial Barbarians in Whangarei.

This was the first of 10 fixtures and had been considered one of the easiest against a side made up of fringe players from Super Rugby.

However, they proved to be stubborn opposition for the visitors who were forced to come from behind to secure the win.

The home team included Bryn Gatland – the son of Lions coach Warren – and his conversion gave the Provincial Barbarians a 7-3 lead at the break.

Greig Laidlaw added to Johnny Sexton’s first-half penalty before Anthony Watson crossed to restore the visitors’ lead on 53 minutes.

Replacement Owen Farrell added the conversion but then missed a penalty, and the Lions survived a late surge from the hosts to hang on.

Warren Gatland’s side face all five Super Rugby teams, the New Zealand Maori, and the All Blacks, during the five-week tour, with their next match against the Blues on Wednesday (08:35 BST).

Provincial Barbarians (7) 7
Tries: Anderson-Heather Cons: Gatland
British and Irish Lions (3) 13
Tries: Watson Cons: Farrell Pens: Sexton, Laidlaw

Lions team: S Hogg; A Watson, J Joseph, B Te’o, T Seymour; J Sexton, G Laidlaw; J Marler, R Best, K Sinckler, AW Jones, I Henderson, R Moriarty, S Warburton, T Faletau.

Replacements: J George, M Vunipola, T Furlong, G Kruis, J Tipuric, R Webb, O Farrell, E Daly.

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