|Sigma Lions (7) 14|
|Try Tshituka, Maxwane Disadvantage: Hendrikse 2|
|British and Irish Lions (21) 56|
|Tests: Rees-Zammit, H Watson, Price, Adams 4, Davies The inconvenients: Farrell 8|
Josh Adams scored four tries as the British and Irish Lions beat the Sigma Lions with impressive style in their first round in Johannesburg.
Welsh winger Louis Rees-Zammit scored a first try in the fourth minute, followed by Ali Price and Hamish Watson.
Adams made four well-shot tries after the break to put the contest out of sight, substitute Gareth Davies also crossing over.
The hosts lost heart and couldn’t get the altitude to count in their favor.
Four years ago, the Lions opened their tour with a 13-7 stuttering victory over a reunited New Zealand barbarian team this strengthened the confidence of the All Blacks rather than that of the tourists.
In a game played behind closed doors, it was a much more convincing victory as the club and country combinations brought cohesion to a team close to scratching.
Chris Harris Chip set up Gloucester teammate Rees-Zammit for the opening try, Price gave Scottish teammate Finn Russell the security of speaking at 10, while Jamie George connecting and from Maro Itoje to England and Saracens tied the lineout ball.
However, there were also signs that the tourists were teaming up with Price’s try and Adams’ first score coming from the back of the roster and the pages of the Coach’s playbook. Gregor Townsend attacks.
Defense coach Steve Tandy will also have been pleased with a 10-minute first-half stretch where the home side managed to apply sustained pressure inside the 22m but were pushed back by resistance. committed and coordinated.
Captain Stuart Hogg, left out of the starting lineup for Exeter’s Premiership barrage campaign, looked good. The full-back claimed the high balls, posed a threat with the ball in hand and superbly chased Sbusiso Sangweni to refuse an interception try.
Watson allayed doubts about his ability to physically compete with the South African physique with a typically all-action display in the back row, while Elliot Daly looked dangerous running against a tiring defense on the bench. And, unlike Japan last weekend, there were no new injuries to the team.
However, the opposition will harden. The Sigma Lions, who lost four out of five games in the recent Rainbow Cup, appear to be the weakest team on the Lions route.
The Sharks, which tourists meet on Wednesday, will be a step above the quality.
Russell predictably unpredictably at 10 years
Russell making his first start for the British and Irish Lions and with space, time and plenty of the ball ahead, took the opportunity to make his test request.
The Scottish opener showed his intention from the first minute, scouring the pitch in search of Rees-Zammit’s pace.
That kick didn’t hit its mark, but Russell was never deterred. His thinking speed and hand were key in bringing Harris forward, who took the advantage for Rees-Zammit’s opener in the fourth minute and he set up Adams’ second with a skillful stroke on a blitz defense.
Russell’s combination with England captain Owen Farrell hasn’t always been smooth, but it has posed questions to the hosts’ defense that other combinations cannot.
On points, Russell slipped into the second receiver outside Farrell to get closer to the edge of the defense and the pace is wide.
After a man-of-the-match display full of composure and control from Dan Biggar in last weekend’s win over Japan, Russell’s performance highlighted the various options at 10. Warren Gatland’s pick n is not clearer.
Adams accumulates scores to score the point
Adams stretched for a score against Japan at Murrayfield last weekend and passed all four tries just as clinically.
It was at the same stadium in 1997 that John Bentley scored a superb 60m try to enter the test race. None of Adams’ sheet music was of this quality, but by the sheer quantity he made his point.
The wing faces stiff opposition for a starting place in the tests, with 2017 starter Anthony Watson also on the squad, but his streak and the additional experience he has on Rees-Zammit and Duhan van der Merwe surely put him in pole position.
Man of the Match – Hamish Watson
Chris Jones, BBC Rugby Union correspondent: Lots of impressive performances across the board for the Lions – Elliot Daly looked particularly sharp when he came on – and while the Finn Russell and Owen Farrell midfield partnership didn’t quite click, Warren Gatland will be thinking about a very decent first outing in South Africa.
And after playing in the Rugby World Cup, Josh Adams continues to prove he’s a phenomenal try-scorer on the big stage.
British and Irish Lions: Hogg; Rees-Zammit, Harris, Farrell, Adams; Russell, Price; W Jones, George, Sinckler, Itoje, Hill, Lawes, H Watson, Faletau.
Replacements: Cowan-Dickie, Vunipola, Fagerson, Henderson, Simmonds, Davies, Aki, Daly.
Sigma Lions: Viljoen; Ulengo, Rass, Odendaal, Maxwane; Hendrikse, Smit; McBeth, Botha, Dreyer, Schoeman, Nothnagel, Sangweni, V Tshituka, Horn (captain).
Replacements: Visagie, Sithole, Sadie, Straeuli, E Tshituka, Van den Berg, Zeilinga, Kriel.