Second century Lions

The Lions may have been on the wrong end of a series whitewash on the 2005 tour to New Zealand but they were able to celebrate passing 100 points in a single fixture for only the second time in their history. [more]

Second century Lions

The Lions may have been on the wrong end of a series whitewash on the 2005 tour to New Zealand but they were able to celebrate passing 100 points in a single fixture for only the second time in their history.

The mid-week side gave their Test counterparts a timely (but ultimately fruitless) boost as they hammered Manawatu 109-6 in between the first and second of three matches against the All Blacks.

The Lions scored 17 tries as they recorded their second-highest ever score and their second-biggest winning margin in 117 years of touring.

Shane Williams crossed for five of those tries to take his place on the individual scoring charts behind David Duckham and JJ Williams. The Wales and Ospreys winger became the seventh Lion to score five tries in a tour match, with Duckham and JJ Williams going one better in 1971 and 1974 respectively.

MANAWATU 6 BRITISH & IRISH LIONS 109

Half-time: 6-38 Venue: North Palmerston

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Scorers: Manawatu: Pens – Jonathan Hargreaves 2; Lions: Tries – S Williams 5, Cueto 2, O'Gara 2, Cooper, Corry, Hodgson, D'Arcy, Smith, Murphy, Back, Robinson; Cons – Hodgson 7, O'Gara 5

SETTING THE SCENE

The Lions travelled to Palmerston North on the back of a humiliating first Test defeat against the All Blacks five days earlier.

The 21-3 defeat to New Zealand had left plenty of questions surrounding team selection ahead of the second Test in Wellington and both Shane Williams and Donncha O'Callaghan earned call ups to Saturday's starting XV on the back of their performances against Manawatu.

Sir Clive Woodward's men had already played seven games by the time they reached Palmerston North, winning all five of their provincial fixtures but losing to the All Blacks and the New Zealand Maori.
Although the Lions were expected to make it six wins on tour against a team of semi-professionals, no one could have imagined the ease at which the Lions would sweep past their opponents.

"No

Shane Williams scored an incredible five tries in Palmerston North

THE TEAMS

The choice of squad for the game against Manawatu was as much about who would be playing in the second Test than it was about who would actually be taking the field in Palmerston North.

Supporters and the media, both in New Zealand and back home in Britain and Ireland, spent hours discussing what the choice of matchday 22 meant for the must-win clash against the All Blacks the following Saturday.

Two of the starting XV had also begun the first Test in Christchurch, with Martin Corry named on the blindside flank and Jason Robinson switching from full back to wing. Leicester flanker Neil Back, who wore the No7 shirt against the All Blacks on June 25, came on as a replacement in Manawatu, with those three players experiencing mixed emotions after the team selection for the second Test on July 2.
Robinson retained his place in the Test side, while Corry dropped to the bench and Back missed out altogether.

The non-selections of Gavin Henson and Ryan Jones for the Manawatu game suggested that the Welsh Grand Slam winners would be involved in Wellington, with the same to be said for the absence of both Simon Easterby and Lewis Moody. Those who guessed that the four absentees would start for the Lions against Graham Henry's side were proved right, with Henson playing inside centre and Jones, Easterby and Moody making up a brand new back-row combination in the 48-18 defeat.

Back's appearance against Manawatu was his last in a Lions shirt, while second row Brent Cockbain made his Lions debut as a replacement after being called up for the suspended Danny Grewcock.

Gordon Bulloch captained the team from hooker, with Wales skipper Michael Owen also included at No8.

"No

Ollie Smith started at outside centre, scoring the eighth try in a 109-6 win

Geordan Murphy and Shane Williams joined Robinson in the back three, with Ollie Smith and Gordon D'Arcy forming an Anglo-Irish midfield partnership. Charlie Hodgson and Gareth Cooper combined at halfback, while Andrew Sheridan and John Hayes started alongside Bulloch in the front row.

O'Callaghan impressed next to Simon Shaw at lock, with Martyn Williams completing the back row selection at openside flanker.

Manawatu: F Bryant; B Gray, J Campbell, M Oldridge, J Leota; G Smith, J Hargreaves; S Moore, N Kemp (captain), K Barrett, T Faleafaga, P Rodgers, H Triggs, B Matenga, J Braddock

Replacements (all used): I Cook, P Maisiri, C Moke, S Eaton, D Palu, T Brew, N Buckley

British & Irish Lions: Geordan Murphy (Leicester/Ieland); Jason Robinson (Sale Sharks/England), Ollie Smith (Leicester/England), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster/Ireland), Shane Williams (Ospreys/Wales); Charlie Hodgson (Sale Sharks/England), Gareth Cooper (Newport Gwent Dragons/Wales); Andrew Sheridan (Sale Sharks/England), Gordon Bulloch (Glasgow/Scotland), John Hayes (Munster/Ireland), Simon Shaw (Wasps/England), Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster/Ireland), Martin Corry (Leicester/England), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales), Michael Owen (Newport Gwent Dragons/Wales)

Replacements (all used): Andy Titterrell (Sale Sharks/England), Matt Stevens (Bath/England), Brent Cockbain (Ospreys/Wales), Neil Back (Leicester/England), Chris Cusiter (Borders/Scotland), Ronan O'Gara (Munster/Ireland), Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks/England)

Referee: Lyndon Bray (New Zealand)

THE MATCH

The Lions start as they mean to go on, scoring the game's opening try after just four minutes. Shane Williams is the first to get on the scoresheet as he squeezes in at the corner after a fine sidestep and lighting acceleration.

Charlie Hodgson is off-target with the conversion but he adds the extras when Martin Corry finishes off a fine Lions counter attack with 10 minutes played.

"No

Martin Corry dives over for the Lions' second try of the evening

It takes a further 14 minutes for the Lions to cross again and, when they do, it's Williams who grabs his second score of the night in Palmerston North. Hodgson kicks the conversion from underneath the posts before doing the same three minutes later when Geordan Murphy cruises over.

Manawatu find themselves down to 14 men after skipper Nathan Kemp is sent to the sin bin a minute before the half-hour mark.

The Lions capitalise, scoring a further two tries in the next six minutes through Jason Robinson and Williams, who completes his hat-trick.

The hosts dig deep to show their character, however, as Jonathan Hargreaves kicks two successful penalties in between Robinson's first and Williams' third score to reduce the half-time deficit to 38-6.

If the first period was a procession, the second-half proves to be even more one sided, with the Lions registering a further four tries inside the opening 10 minutes.

Hodgson converts his own score and does the same to Ollie Smith's effort on 45 minutes, with Williams grabbing his fourth before a 50-metre run from Simon Shaw sees Neil Back claim the Lions' 10th try of the opening 50 minutes.

"No

Neil Back makes it 10 tries for a rampant mid-week Lions side

Irish duo Gordon D'Arcy and Ronan O'Gara make it 74-6 after crossing for unconverted scores after 54 and 56 minutes respectively, with the latter then adding the extras to Mark Cueto's try 10 minutes later.

O'Gara claims his second try just a minute after Cueto's effort before Gareth Cooper strolls over with 72 minutes gone after the ball spills loose at a ruck close to the Manawatu line.

Matt Stevens receives the game's second yellow card after the Lions desperately attempt to stop their hosts from crossing for a try of their own following an unexpected counterattack, but the tourists soon break past the 100-point mark with their 16th score.

Fittingly, it is Williams who takes the Lions into a century of points for only the second time in their history after his team-mates make full use of an overlap on the left-hand side.

Manawatu replacement Simon Eaton becomes the third player to sent to the bin with two minutes remaining and Cueto finishes the scoring to make it 109-6 as the game approaches injury time.

"No

Gordon D'Arcy scores the 11th of the Lions' 17 tries in a one-sided affair

THE LIONS IN PALMERSTON NORTH:

The Lions boast a 100 per cent record in Palmerston North, having won all nine matches they have played there.

Two of those fixtures have been against Manawatu, with Manawhenua forming the opposition on another occasion and a combined Manawatu / Horowhenua side facing the Lions in the remaining six matches.

The record-breaking victory in 2005 was in stark contrast to the scoreline the previous time the Lions appeared in Palmerston North. In 1983, tour captain Ciaran Fitzgerald led the Lions to a much narrower win by just 25 points to 18.

The size of the 2005 triumph could well mean that Palmerston North doesn't appear as a venue the next time the Lions visit New Zealand in 2017.

P 9 W 9 D 0 L 0

1908: Manawatu / Horowhenua 3 Anglo-Welsh 12

1930: Manawhenua 8 Lions 34

1950: Manawatu / Horowhenua 8 Lions 13

1959: Manawatu / Horowhenua 6 Lions 26

1966: Manawatu / Horowhenua 8 Lions 17

1971: Manawatu / Horowhenua 6 Lions 39

1977: Manawatu / Horowhenua 12 Lions 18

1983: Manawatu 18 Lions 25

2005: Manawatu 6 Lions 109

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