Lions Head To Wild West

Image courtesy of Rogers/Getty Images
The Lions easily accounted for the Barbarians in Hong Kong. Image courtesy of Rogers/Getty Images
The last time the British & Irish Lions toured in 2001, they thumped Western Australia 116-10 in the teams’ first match of its Australian visit. You can be almost certain the margin won’t be as great when the composite side again kicks off its tour in Perth on Wednesday night, but this time against the state’s Super Rugby outfit, Western Force .

The Lions warmed up for the tour proper with a 59-8 thrashing of a weak Barbarians side in Hong Kong at the weekend. Lions captain Sam Warburton will miss another match with a knee injury. Veteran Ireland centre Brian O’Driscoll will captain the team.

Force has run in to some reasonable form over the past month and will no doubt be fresh after a week off from Super Rugby commitments. They scraped home by one point last start against the Highlanders; also in May they held Queensland to a draw before going down 22-21 away to the Chiefs.

Michael Foley has named a team with a few experienced hard-heads, but also a number of youngsters who haven’t even played Super Rugby. There’s a strong back-row with Test players Matt Hodgson and Richard Brown lining up, while Salesi Ma’afu is in the front row. Outside of Brett Sheehan and Sam Norton-Knight in the halves, the Force have the uncapped Corey Brown and Chris Tuatara-Morrison, as well as three other players with just 19 games of Super Rugby experience behind them.

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