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Can the Lions keep up their 100 per cent record?


Kirudrani was immense tonight for the Brumbies, as was Matt Toomua, who is surely a future Wallaby. The silver linings are few and far between tonight. The much-vaunted loose forwards, who were surely pained at not making the test squad, were average at best. O'Brien was far from the destructive force he can be and Tiperic barely touched the ball. Conversely Faletau carried well and controlled the ball at the back of the scrum. Youngs did well with the scraps he was given to work with. Richie Gray was ineffective and Rory Best's line-out display vindicated Gatland's decision to leave him out of the original squad. 

The Lions camp will surely point to the plethora of backline injuries that left them with a fullback at fly-half and two call-up centres in the midfield. All the fluency that has characterised the tourists in the first three games in Australia was all but non-existant. However, there is no excuse for the shamble at the line-out. The Brumbies dominated the possession and looked infinitely more dangerous with ball in hand. Garces it has to be said had a poor game; inconsistent at both the breakdown and in the scrum. The Brumbies deserved to win and the Lions underestimated this Super Rugby Australian conference leaders. If Gatland can lead his charges to victory in the first test though, all will surely be forgiven.

Garces abandons the rules at the scrum, The Lions turn the Brumbies who pop out. It's over. The Lions have lost this. Some poor decision making, and some crucial refereeing decions have gone against them. But the Brumbies were bigger and stronger in the first half, and determined not to lose their lead in the second half.

Going back to that lost scrum. It looked for all the world like the Brumbies simply walked it round. The Lions have to force the penalty from this scrum or the game is over. 

But the Brumbies steal it and Jess Mogg dabs a beautiful kick into the Lions 22. 

The Lions look threatening going forward, Connor Murray snipes through a gap but is isolated. The late-coming Lions forwards go off their feet, Garces pings Murray for holding on, but the Brumbies cock-up the line-out and the Lions have the scrum. They want the penalty.  

12.12 PENALTY Lions (Farrell)
The Sky commentators are doing their now seemingly customary round of florid praise for Owen Farrell every time he kicks a penalty, which he has by the way, from a difficult angle.

Matt Toomua puts a beautiful kick in, pushing the Lions back into their own 22. Connor Murray is on for Youngs who did well with what little he was given. Zebo is also on for Shane Williams. Twelvetrees is smashed again in the midfield by Kuridrani; the Englishman doesn't look as sharp as he did all season. His game tonight has been characterised by indecision going forward. 

The Lions finally looking like the aggressors in this game. Kearney collects the Gary Owen but the Lions are slow to the breakdown and the Irishman is forced to hold on.

Let's play a game of Call It Now: Who Are Your Winners? I'm going to say the Brumbies will hold out to win this game. 

12.00 PENALTY Lions (Farrell)
Finally some possession for the Lions' fans to cheer. Geoff Parling is on and controlling the line-out, and Farrell in on at stand-out. Garces pings Mann-Rea who makes exactly no effort to roll away from the tackle. Farrell lands the pen. Could the Lions do it?

11.57 PENALTY Lions missed
Gatland finally changes it. The front row plus O'Brien are off and at the first scrum the Lions waltz through the Brumbies pack to secure a decent penalty. Hogg hits the post. 

11.53 PENALTY Lions (Hogg)
The Lions will do amazingly well to get anything out of this game now. Gatland seems reticent to go to the bench, but if he doesn't this game, and the 100 per cent record, are finished. O'Brien forces Toomua to hold on and Hogg slots the pen.

11.49 PENALTY Brumbies (Mogg)
A Lions scrum goes backwards and Brumbies turn it over. Prior knocks it on, but Garces is unmoved. A dull moment from Ryan Grant as he pulls a Brumbies forward out of the maul by his head and concedes the penalty. Mogg slots it beautifully from a tight angle.

Twelvetrees is absolutely levelled by Faingaa off the first piece of decent line-out ball the Lions have had all night. It looks like the first time the backline has ever played together. Oh wait.

I can't remember a Lions line break. I can't think they've had one all game. Gatland needs to make some changes or this game is going to get away from the Lions. 

11.42 PENALTY Brumbies (Mogg)
Another very harsh penalty from Garces. Twelvetrees makes the hit in midfield, two Brumbies fly into the ruck off their feet, pinning the Englishman, mainly of his side of the breakdown, and Garces pings him for not rolling away. A very odd decision. Mogg stands up and smashes the penalty from in front of the posts. 

Another, another, line-out from Rory Best isn't straight. < style="font-size: 12px;">Many of the Lions players were surely trying to play themselves into the Test squad. Best looks to be playing himself out of it. Wade is tackled over the shoulder by Kirudrani, but his arm slips up to the winger's neck and the Lions get the pen. They go for the line-out and the Lions loose it again. AGAIN. Abject. The Brumbies get a pen at the breakdown and clear. 

11.23 PENALTY Lions (Hogg) - HALFTIME
The Lions finally get a decision from Garces; the Brumbies have been very canny slowing the ball down on the floor at the breakdown without incurring the wrath of the Frenchman, but he spots a hand and Hogg smashes the kick through to give the Lions something of a life-life at halftime: 8-0 would have been a fair reflection at halftime.

11.20 PENALTY Brumbies (Mogg)
The Brumbies take the kicking duties off Prior and Mogg slots a penalty after the Lions are called for holding on. It looks a strange decision, the ball rattling around in the legs of the forwards at the breakdown. 

11.18 PENALTY MISSED Brumbies (Prior)
O'Brien, seemingly now okay, is pinged for holding on. But Prior pulls the pen wide from a simple position.

The Lions are noticeably flat. It looks for a minute as if they've finally won a clean line-out, but the touch judge says it's not straight. Harsh decision by the looks of it, but yet again it's a possession surrendered. The Lions simply can't get a hold of the ball. 

11.11 PENALY MISSED Brumbies (Mogg)
Man mountain O'Brien looks to have taken a knock. Jesse Mogg is lining up an absolute monster of a kick, a good five metres behind the halfway line and slightly to the left. Even wind-assisted he'll need a mammoth boot to land this. It's got the length, but not the direction, scooting just to the right of the sticks. 

The Brumbies just looks so much stronger going through the phases. They're getting over the gain line with stunning regularity. The Lions are little short of a shambles from the lineout. They win a scrappy one, but it goes ten yards back and out of play for the Brumbies. Kearney denies the Brumbies a try scoring chance, showing his experience in a two-on-one to deny Kirudrani a free-run to the line.


Match liveblog: Brumbies vs British and Irish Lions
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