Waratahs 17-47 British & Irish Lions, Sydney
Lions march on with big win against Waratahs
June 15, 2013
Date/Time: Jun 15, 2013, 19:40 local, 09:40 GMT
Venue: Sydney Football Stadium
New South Wales Waratahs 17 - 47 British and Irish Lions
Half-time: 10 - 23
Tries: Carter 2
Cons: McKibbin 2
Pens: McKibbin
Tries: Croft, Davies, Halfpenny 2, Sexton
Cons: Farrell, Halfpenny 4
Pens: Halfpenny 4
Lions fly-half Jonathan Sexton celebrates scoring a try, Waratahs v British & Irish Lions, Allianz Stadium, Sydney, June 15, 2013
Lions fly-half Jonathan Sexton celebrates scoring a try
© Getty Images

The British & Irish Lions made it five wins in-a-row with a comprehensive 47-17 victory over the Waratahs at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney on Saturday night.

Match Analysis by ESPNscrum's Graham Jenkins

  • Man of the Match: There were several eye-catching performances from the Lions but centre Jonathan Davies was arguably the most impressive player on the park. The Welshman had a hand in three tries and also notched one himself in a superb all-round display that, along with the hamstring injury suffered by Jamie Roberts, must have boosted his Test chances significantly.
  • Key Moment: The Waratahs only trailed by six points midway through the first half when they almost caught the Lions napping with a clever short lineout move. The otherwise impressive lock Will Skelton claimed the ball and surged towards the line thanks to his massive 203cm and 135kg frame but he spilled the ball as the Lions swarmed to stop him and the chance to really worry the visitors was gone. A victory may have been unlikely even if he had scored but it would have placed a seed of doubt.
  • Hero of the Game: Irishman Simon Zebo only arrived in Australia as injury cover a few days ago but wasted no time in staking a claim for a Test berth. A 'bit of rust' on the boots denied him a dream start in the first minute but he didn't dwell on the missed chance with an incredibly busy performance - his industry was outstanding an underlined by his superb kick chase and lung-busting effort to make a last-ditch tackle in the closing moments of the game.
  • Villain of the Game: The Waratahs produced a spirited and gutsy performance but prop Paddy Ryan threatened to undermine their efforts with a cheap shoulder check on Lions flanker Tom Croft after he had touched down for his try. Thankfully it was an isolated incident and the Lions did not rise to his petulance.
  • Talking Point: Most of the talk pre-game was centred on Lions skipper Sam Warburton who was increasing pressure to deliver a big performance and cement his place in coach Warren Gatland's Test plans. The Wales flanker rose to the challenge with an assured display that may not have produced the most dazzling stats but his composure and industry around the breakdown in particular will ensure he leads the Lions into the first Test showdown with the Wallabies next Saturday.
  • Play of the Game: The Lions sounded a warning to the Wallabies with this commanding victory with Leigh Halfpenny's second score perhaps the pick of their five-try haul. Fly-half Jonathan Sexton pulled the strings with centre Jamie Roberts providing the grunt to draw in a couple of tacklers. He then found his midfield partner Jonathan Davies who in turn found fullback Halfpenny whose superb line and pace carried him over for the try. That impressive cohesion and understanding will not have escaped Australia coach Robbie Deans - although the injury to Roberts suggests that this Welsh trio are unlikely to combine in a similar fashion in the near future.

Leigh Halfpenny produced a command performance as the Lions delivered their best display Down Under just seven days before tackling Australia in the first Test. Wales fullback Halfpenny scored 30 points - two tries, four conversions and four penalties - while fly-half Jonathan Sexton, flanker Tom Croft and centre Jonathan Davies also added touchdowns to complete an outstanding team performance.

The Waratahs played their part - centre Tom Carter claimed two tries - but they were ultimately outclassed, with Halfpenny finishing just seven short of equalling the all-time individual Lions points record set by Alan Old in 1974.

There was, though, another injury scare for the Lions when centre Jamie Roberts limped off midway through the final quarter. He appeared in considerable discomfort as he departed with what is thought to be a hamstring injury, adding his name to the Lions' injury list that is currently headed by juggernaut wing George North.

Watching Wallabies head coach Robbie Deans, though, would have been far more concerned by the Lions' quality of play, rather than any injury count. There were outstanding displays by Halfpenny, Davies, Sexton, wing Simon Zebo - he enjoyed a high-class Lions debut just four days after arriving from America as injury cover - locks Paul O'Connell and Alun-Wyn Jones, plus hooker Tom Youngs.

At times, the Waratahs were blown away by the Lions' pace, intensity and support play, and they will arrive in Brisbane seven days from now as favourites to take the opening Test series rubber. On today's evidence, Australia have got it all to do as the Lions target a first Test series triumph since they beat South Africa 2-1 in 1997.

The Lions made a blistering start, moving 10-0 ahead after just six minutes - and it could have been even more. Zebo thought he had scored with his first touch of the ball in a Lions shirt on 40 seconds, but Waratahs fullback Drew Mitchell completed a superb try-saving tackle.

Halfpenny, though, kicked a 50-metre penalty three minutes later, before superb approach work from the Wales full-back, Zebo and Davies created an opening for Sexton that he finished emphatically. Halfpenny landed the touchline conversion, leaving the Waratahs with an early mountain to climb as they faced a Lions side that had moved up a gear in terms of intensity.

Sexton then took a huge tackle from Waratahs lock Will Skelton, and as he was receiving treatment the Lions conceded a soft try, with Carter being freed in space and capitalising on some weak defensive work. Scrum-half Bernard McKibbin added the extras from wide out before another successful Halfpenny penalty ended a fast and furious opening quarter with the Lions 13-7 in front.

The game was of a similar pace to last Saturday's clash against Queensland Reds, but the Lions looked more composed under pressure than seven days ago, and another Halfpenny penalty extended their advantage to nine points.

McKibbin then found his range from 45 metres, though, before Halfpenny converted his own try and the Lions trooped off well ahead at the halfway stage. And they began the second period in similar fashion to the first by posting an early try when Sexton, Roberts and Davies combined at pace to give Halfpenny an easy run-in.

Halfpenny's conversion gave him 25 points in the game, and even though Carter claimed his second touchdown shortly afterwards - converted by McKibbin - the Lions still enjoyed control.

Another Halfpenny penalty, his fourth, made him the highest points-scorer in one match for the Lions against New South Wales, and with the Waratahs tiring, more opportunities looked set to present themselves.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland made six substitutions in one go with 20 minutes left, which included a first tour appearance for Ireland full-back Rob Kearney following his recovery from hamstring trouble.

The Lions played the final 10 minutes with 14 men after Roberts departed, yet there was still time for Davies to sprint clear and claim try number five, with substitute Owen Farrell converting.

Lions winger Simon Zebo attracts the attention of the Waratahs' defence © Getty Images
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