Magic moment for Morahan

Luke Morahan's maiden outing against the British & Irish Lions will live long in the memory after he produced a stunning individual display at the Suncorp Stadium. [more]

Magic moment for Morahan

Luke Morahan’s maiden outing against the British & Irish Lions will live long in the memory after he produced a stunning individual display at the Suncorp Stadium.

The Lions may have beaten the Reds 22-12 in Brisbane but the manner in which Morahan performed in both attack and defence will be remembered regardless of the result.

The once-capped Qantas Wallabies wing saved two certain scores with heroic last-ditch tackles on Alex Cuthbert and Owen Farrell but it was his wonder try early in the first period that really stole the show.

Morahan claimed Farrell’s up and under close to his own 22 before evading Cuthbert’s tackle and plotting his way to the line. His arching run took him wide of skipper Sam Warburton and in between Ben Youngs and Mako Vunipola before a deft chip over the top of Stuart Hogg and a kind bounce straight back into his hands allowed him to touch down underneath the posts.

The solo score had the entire stadium on their feet and prompted plenty of praise from both sets of supporters as the Reds got off to a fine start in The Lions’ third game of the tour.

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“The opportunity opened up and I just took it. The rest is history, I suppose,” said Morahan.

“First of all, I just tried to catch the ball and stay alive. From there I just kept trying to beat players and make as many metres as I could. It opened up and it all worked.

“It felt really good, in front of a home crowd, and a 50,000 home crowd at that, and against The Lions.

“I come from a pretty strong rugby family where we all enjoy it so I’ve been aware of The Lions for plenty of years now.

“Once I knew that we were playing The Lions, it was in my diary. I was like, ‘I’ve got to make this game and stay fit’. It was a big moment for me. I knew all about it, all the history and everything that goes with it.

“I’d like to have a few more highlights yet but it’s definitely up there. Even just playing the game was a massive achievement for me and a massive highlight.” 

It’s an achievement that was made all the more special by the fact that the Reds put up far more of a fight than their Western Force counterparts who shipped nine tries to The Lions in mid week.

The tourists were made to work far harder for their second win in Australia, with the Reds regularly threatening in attack and scrambling well in defence.

“We put it to The Lions and hopefully they respect us for that,” added Morahan.

“It’s something that we set out to do: not to roll over. We’re a quality side, we’ve been together a while, we’ve built a good culture, and we showed that.

“It was our plan to go out and play that attacking style of rugby. We’ve been doing that for a few years now. We pride ourselves in playing that running game and creating opportunities, and I thought we did that.

“I don’t think we went past them too easily, it was just that our game plan worked well. They covered it in well in the end, though, and they did well enough to win it.

“Defence is also something we pride ourselves on here at the Reds. They made a lot of breaks and created a lot of opportunities, but our scramble defence is pretty good here and we did well there.”

So what does Morahan expect from the Test series between The Lions and the Qantas Wallabies later this month?

Well, first of all, he’s predicting that Warren Gatland’s men will learn from their mistakes when they return to Suncorp in a fortnight’s time, and secondly, he’s putting his money on a tight tussle regardless of what style of play The Lions employ in in the internationals.

“There were certain areas that opened up a little bit but they’ll look at that and say ‘we’ll have to fix that up’. By no means is it going to be an easy job for the Wallabies – they’ll fix that and come out firing,” continued Morahan, who doesn’t except his stunning showing to lead to a place among the six additions to Robbie Deans’ national squad this Tuesday.

“It will be a lot tighter in the Test matches. Test matches are a lot different.

“I think you’ve got to play to your strengths. Obviously the tighter game is a strength (for The Lions). In saying that, northern hemisphere rugby’s come all long way in the last few years. They’ve started to do that (play a wide game) and they’ve got world-class players who can do that. If that’s the way they want to play, good luck to them.

“Selection for the Wallabies isn’t done on one game, you’ve got to be performing all year and lots of guys have been doing that. That’s what I expect so I’m off to the Sevens World Cup in Moscow. That’s in late June and we go into camp before that so I won’t be around to watch the first two Tests. I hope to be able to get to Sydney, though, for the final Test match.” 

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