Five Key Moments: Chiefs 6 Lions 34
The Lions built on their victory over the Maori All Blacks with an impressive win against the Chiefs in Hamilton, running in four tries in total.
Jack Nowell crossed twice, with Jared Payne and a penalty try providing the others as they ran out 34-6 winners in the final game before the first Test in Auckland.
It was another powerful performance up front from the Lions pack, with the three-quarter line really clicking in the second half as the Lions built some momentum heading into the first Test.
Here we’ve picked out five of the key moments to the game as the Lions recorded their biggest win of the Tour so far.
NOWELL OFF THE MARK
Jack Nowell arrived on the Lions Tour fresh from helping Exeter Chiefs to a maiden Aviva Premiership title, and he showed that he is far more than simply a finisher out wide.
Constantly looking to get involved, Nowell revealed afterwards that he is known as the pick-and-go king for his ability to steal tries from the forwards, and he was at it here as he sniped over following a Dan Biggar run.
The Chiefs could not stop him, and with Biggar’s conversion the Lions led 13-3 with 25 minutes gone in the game.
LAWES SLOWS CHIEFS MOMENTUM
Immediately after half-time the Chiefs looked to pick up the pace and as the tempo rose, the game broke up considerably.
With just a seven-point lead, the onus was on the Lions to stop any Chiefs momentum, but following one break down the right it looked as if the red defence might crack.
Instead Courtney Lawes did brilliantly to get over the ball and force a turnover, with the Lions able to turn that into a penalty followed by a kick to the corner…
LIONS PACK EARNS SECOND PENALTY TRY
That kick to the corner didn’t result in a try directly, but the field position proved vital to the Lions getting a second score and all but sealing the result.
After a first maul ended with Rory Best going down the blindside and the Chiefs recovering, only to be forced into touch, the Lions had a second bite at the cherry.
This time they were able to get into position and drive the Chiefs back, with home flanker Mitchell Brown coming in from the side to sack the maul.
As a result, referee Jérôme Garcès had no hesitation in awarding the penalty try, with Brown sent to the sin-bin for his troubles – the second time the Lions have scored a penalty try in as many games.
With the new law amendment, that meant an automatic seven points to the Lions and at 20-6 they had some breathing space.
LIONS AMBITION ON SHOW WITH 80-METRE SCORE
The Chiefs needed an immediate response to stay in the game, and they thought they had an opportunity with a lineout in Lions territory soon after.
Instead it was the Lions who stole the ball and quickly spread it wide. Justin Tipuric fed Biggar who released his back.
From Robbie Henshaw to Payne to Liam Williams and finally Elliot Daly, the Lions opened up space and the England winger raced down the left.
As he was finally tackled, he found Payne and Henshaw inside him, with James Haskell then getting up brilliantly to clear out the ruck.
From there the Lions went right with a lovely wide pass by Iain Henderson out to Nowell. The winger needed no second invitation, dancing through the Chiefs defence as they drifted right and cutting inside to score. Biggar’s conversion made it 27-6 at the Lions were pulling away.
PAYNE CAPS IT ALL OFF
Trailing by three scores, the Chiefs started to throw caution to the wind, trying to run the ball at every opportunity.
With the Lions racing up in defence the Chiefs tried a clever little chip over the top, but Nowell was alive to it and took the ball as he arced around.
Williams was up in support and when Nowell found him, he burst through a gap in the line and up into the 22.
With two men to beat he stepped and effectively took them both out of the game before offloading to send in Payne for the simplest of finishes.
Biggar converted and the Lions led 34-6 having scored three converted tries in just ten minutes.