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Lions hold off battling Reds, but Tommy Bowe’s tour is over

Winger is latest casualty for tourists after tough battle against Queensland

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 09 June, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 16 February, 2014, 3:37pm
 

The British and Irish Lions survived a determined onslaught by the Queensland Reds to grind out a 22-12 victory and maintain the unbeaten start to their tour.

The Reds outscored the visitors two tries to one but the Lions weathered the storm helped by the boot of flyhalf Owen Farrell, whose perfect six attempts maintained his team's 100 per cent kicking record in Australia.

The Lions, coming off emphatic wins in Hong Kong and Perth against the Barbarians and a second-string Western Force, also narrowly missed three tries in the first half which were ruled out by the video referee.

"They came at us at 100 miles an hour in that first 20 minutes and the boys soaked up the pressure," Lions coach Warren Gatland said. "From that point of view it was exactly what we wanted, realisation for the players about what it means to Australian players.

"And for us to soak up the pressure, and guts it out and come up with a win, I'm very proud of that performance."

The Reds fielded nine Wallabies in their starting line up and they threw everything at the Lions, particularly in a thrilling first half, but the visitors were able to absorb the early pressure then slowly take control.

However, the win came at a cost when Irish winger Tommy Bowe went off with a suspected broken hand and was ruled out for the rest of the tour, joining props Gethin Jenkins (calf) and Cian Healy (ankle) as the third casualty in two days.

The Reds had plenty to prove to onlooking Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, and especially flyhalf Cooper, who was controversially omitted from Australia's initial squad for the three-test Lions series.

But a typically mercurial Cooper, whose evening was tarnished when he almost gifted the Lions a first-half try and missed an easy penalty, was unable to spark an upset victory in front of a 50,136 crowd at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium.

Instead it was winger Luke Morahan who impressed most with two try-saving tackles and a brilliant five-pointer of his own.

Flyhalf Farrell landed five penalties and converted Ben Youngs' first-half try for a 17-point haul for the Lions, who also conceded a try to Reds scrumhalf Nick Frisby.

"It doesn't look too good at the moment with Tommy," added Gatland, confirming that Bowe was out of the tour. "It looks like he's broken a bone in his hand that the doctors are saying he probably needs an operation.

"It's huge. Tommy, the experience that he brings, being able to play right wing, left wing, centre, fullback. He's a big loss."

Gatland said England centre Manu Tuilagi wasn't seriously injured despite being replaced in the first half with an injured arm.

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