Jones: tough test awaits

Adam Jones says the British & Irish Lions will face a far tougher test against the Western Force this Wednesday than they did against the Barbarians last night. [more]

Jones: tough test awaits

Adam Jones says the British & Irish Lions will face a far tougher test against the Western Force this Wednesday than they did against the Barbarians last night.

Jones started the opening fixture of the Tour in Hong Kong as The Lions ran riot to record a 59-8 victory over Dai Young’s invitational XV.

The tourists totalled eight tries in their solitary Asian fixture but Jones doesn’t expect a similar scenario when the adventure continues in Australia.

And with the Force only losing Nick Cummins and Ben McCalman to Robbie Deans’ Qantas Wallabies squad, Jones reckons the challenge in Perth could even be sterner than anywhere else Down Under.

“It’s a massive thing to play against The Lions and we expect strong challenges wherever we go,” said Jones.

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“The Baa-Baas had only been together for a week-and-a-half. The Aussies will be more structured, more organised and younger.

"In Australia they will be all out to beat The Lions. They won’t shy away from the challenge, which is what you would expect – it’s a massive sports country.

“I expect the Force to be a pretty strong outfit because they don’t have so many international players – when we get to the Brumbies and Waratahs they might be a bit weakened by Wallaby call-ups.”

Starting with a comfortable win over the Baa-Baas before heading to Oz was certainly a step in the right direction as far as The Lions were concerned, especially when you consider that they trailed at half-time in their opening matches on the last two tours.

The Royal XV were eventually beaten 37-25 first time out in South Africa but Argentina held firm to secure a 25-25 draw at the Millennium Stadium en route to New Zealand in 2005.

An equally close encounter was on the cards when Warren Gatland’s men led just 6-3 after 26 minutes but a brace of quick-fire tries from Paul O’Connell and Mike Phillips created some daylight and The Lions never looked back.

And, like his head coach, Jones was pleased with the result and the performance, even though he knows improvements will have to be made Down Under.

“It was a good win in the end. We knew it was going to be tight in parts, but we knew if we wore them down we would be alright,” added Jones, who singled out Dan Lydiate and Richie Gray for praise as they showed no ill effects from their long-term injury problems.  

“Four years ago we were disappointing in the first game but we played well here – we knew what we had to do to wear them down.

“The Baa-Baas were in it for a certain time, but then we pulled away. They had a lot of good players, but our scrum and lineout were good, although we are still getting used to the calls and different systems.

“I think they struggled more than us but it was a good hit-out as a lot of us haven’t played for a good few weeks.

“Dan Lydiate and Richie Gray were there for the full 80 minutes and they were both excellent given their recent injuries. They have set a standard for others to follow.”

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