The Write Profile wrote:Well, it was dour and occasionally turgid, but the Lions deserved their 12-3 win over the Crusaders tonight. The gameplan seemed to be based around rushing defence and ensuring the Crusaders had no gaps to work with. The Crusaders didn't seem to read the tempo of the game at all tonight, far too often they were left stranded midfield and resorting to box kicks that went nowhere in particular. It will be interesting to see whether this is how the Lions will play against the ABs, certainly, there were moments where they almost showed flair, but the sheer desire to win trumped creativity tonight.
That was the first sighting of a close to full strength Lions and they did pretty well by and large.
The Crusaders are unbeaten this year and are supposed to be the best club side in the world, although Sarries may argue with that as did the Sarries who lined up with the Lions, and they were shut down by very strong defence and bullied a bit up front. They are a team with a fair few All Blacks as well so theL ions will be pleased with shutting them down and pushing them around. They were far more disciplined today as well.
Once again they butchered at least 4 solid chances because the last pass did not go, or in Stander's case was not taken. That is because the attack is still a work in progress with players who do not know each other, losing JDII didnt help.
I think Murray and Farrell were excellent together. 2 generals on the pitch moving the ball around very well. It was a shame that Farrell had to move to 13. I think the Lions coped very well with that disruption, but then they had Sexton to come on and link with Murray and Farrell is defensively sound anywhere, but the disruption cannot have helped their creativity.
All in all very positive, back row still a work in progress as are the centers, but Front 5 and back 3 sorting themselves out.
Be interesting to see whether Hogg or Watson get the nod at 15, Watson was very impressive there.
Didn't realise that was the ABs tight 5 playing today, that will be a worry for them.
They obviously wanted to have a real go at the Lions scrum today but could not manage that legally and gave away penalties like party treats.
The ref will talk to the test refs about what he perceived their illegality was so it is unlikely to be a one off interpretation although you could see it angered them, this was a froggy ref wasn't it and they like a good scrum so it wasn't the Lions conning the ref because they were weak, it seemed to be early pushing and wheeling they were getting pinged for, early pushing is what packs lacking confidence do to get an edge. Wheeling is more of a 50:50 call but the ref obviously decided it was the Crusaders front row who were up to skulduggery by that stage.
One up to the Lions there, the ABs front row will have to have a rethink. They don't usually try and get a dominant scrum they just use it as a restart, this smacked of getting a psychological blow in at what they perceived to be a Lions strength, and it didn't work .