x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Rugby union: British & Irish Lions look ahead after blanking Combined Country XV

Lions centre Brian O'Driscoll scored one of 10 tries but the tourists paved the way with defence in their 64-0 drubbing of Combined Country XV.

British and Irish Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll, left, is tackled by Combined Country player Dale Ahwang during their rugby union tour match in Newcastle on Tuesday. William West / AFP
British and Irish Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll, left, is tackled by Combined Country player Dale Ahwang during their rugby union tour match in Newcastle on Tuesday. William West / AFP

Combined Country XV 0 British & Irish Lions 64

Lions Tries: North 2, O’Driscoll, Hibbard, O’Brien, Davies, Halfpenny, Murray, Hogg, Cuthbert; Cons: Hogg 4, Halfpenny 3

Man of the match Brian O’Driscoll (Lions)

Brian O'Driscoll was pleased with the British & Irish Lions' performance in both attack and defence after seeing them sweep aside Combined Country XV in a one-sided tour match in Newcastle.

O'Driscoll, who captained the side Tuesday, ran in one of 10 Lions tries as the tourists claimed an emphatic 64-0 victory over a Country XV side that was made up mostly of part-time players.

The Ireland centre was happy to see the Lions amongst the tries, as they were expected to be, but he was also delighted to keep their opponents scoreless.

He told Sky Sports 2: "I think it was 10 tries we scored, which is good against any opposition.

"I guess we didn't know what to expect with the opposition but they certainly gave it the full 80 and tested us at times.

"I think one of the most pleasing factors was that we kept them to zero, we put a lot of emphasis on our defence and we're pleased with that aspect today."

The victory was the Lions fourth in succession on their tour and O'Driscoll is confident they will continue to get better and better.

He said: "The team is going to grow with games, going to try new things to make sure we keep the Wallabies guessing.

"There's hopefully a little more to come, the more games we play together the more opportunity we have to gel and I think the more we're enjoying each other's company we're able to express that out on the pitch.

"There's good team spirit there."

Stuart Hogg enjoyed an impressive night after a rare outing in the number 10 jersey.

The Scotland full-back, who admitted the last time he played fly-half was in a club fixture some four years ago, was nervous before the game but was pleased with the way things went.

The 20-year-old said: "When you've got the likes of O'Driscoll and (Jamie) Roberts outside you it's going to make your job a lot easier.

"I was a bit nervous coming into this game having not played 10 for a long time but I settled in pretty well and enjoyed it, which is the main thing.

"As the game went on I was getting more and more relaxed and that's exactly what I want it to be like, I want to enjoy my rugby and it showed out there."

Regarding the match, which saw the Lions race out of the blocks and establish a 38-0 half-time lead before finding scoring a little tougher after the interval, Hogg said: "We went out to win and try things.

"In the first half I thought we were clinical and ruthless, but in the second half we started to force things and the scoreboard wasn't as high."

Looking ahead, Hogg added: "We're high in confidence just now, that's four wins from four, we're in a good place and now it's all about building, setting more targets and achieving them."

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