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Rampant Lions send 74-point warning to Boks

HOURS after calling for reinforcement, the British and Irish Lions thrashed the Johannesburg-based Golden Lions 74-10 to rebound from a stuttering tour opener and revive expectations for the series against World Cup champion South Africa.

Scoring five tries in each half on Wednesday, the Lions outplayed the local Super 14 club at Ellis Park - venue for the third of the three tests against the Springboks. They charged to a 39-10 halftime lead and then scored 35 unanswered points after the break.

"Hopefully it's the start of things to come," said Irish center Brian O'Driscoll, who led the touring team because lock Paul O'Connell was rested.

"To score 70 points against a Super 14 team, somebody has got to take some note about it and we have got to keep working away. The most pleasing thing was that we didn't concede in the second half. We said at halftime that we would go on and keep them scoreless."

The Golden Lions had a tumultuous preparation. After finishing 12th in the Super 14 competition with only four wins from 13 matches, the club faced a player backlash after coach Eugene Eloff was fired.

Reported threats of a boycott did not materialize on Wednesday but the upheaval translated onto the pitch for the Johannesburg club and the tourists took full advantage.

O'Driscoll was one of the tryscorers with Jamie Roberts, Tommy Bowe and Ugo Monye helping themselves to two each and Tom Croft, Stephen Ferris and James Hook also crossing the Golden Lions' line. Flyhalf Stephen Jones kicked 18 points and Hook six.

The British and Irish Lions had their own trouble after a shaky performance in their first tour game, a 37-25 victory over the Royal XV at Rustenburg, where they rallied from 12 points down with three late tries.

Experienced Ireland center Gordon D'Arcy had to be drafted into the squad earlier Wednesday because Keith Earls and Riki Flutey were carrying injuries from the Royal XV win. Both are doubtful for tomorrow's game against the Cheetahs.

One of the stars of Ireland's long-awaited Six Nations triumph, D'Arcy joins the touring squad with a chance of facing the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein.


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