The Lions have claimed a 13-6 win over the Brumbies in a tough battle to make it three from three on their Australian tour.
It was the Lions defence that won them this match despite only 40% of possession. It could have been called a lucky try from Kwagga Smith but they deserved it and it ended up being the difference in the end.
The Lions forwards was where it was won and Franco Mostert was immense as his lineout stealing ability was crucial. He won a number of Brumbies lineouts to help leave the Brumbies tryless for the second match in a row.
The Brumbies started off the opening period with all the ball and territory but couldn’t come up with anything to show with it.
It looked they had finally crossed the line in just the fifth minute through winger James Dargaville, but a look from the TMO at the back of an earlier ruck detected a knock on from Joe Powell.
The Lions defence held up extremely well in that same period as they defused two penalties in their own half, including an attempted rolling maul following disruption at the lineout from Franco Mostert.
The Brumbies kept hammering away at the Lions but could only come up with a penalty goal to Wharenui Hawera in the 18th minute.
Scott Fardy was put through a nice gap from Powell but he knocked on with the line open to sum up the first half.
When the Lions finally got their hands on the ball, they were happy to launch up and unders from Elton Jantjies to try put the Brumbies back three under pressure but they could not come up with much.
They only had limited chances inside the Brumbies 22 but couldn’t come up with much either in a tight first half that left the score at 3-0 at half time.
The start of the second half opened up a bit more with Kyle Godwin finding space early but the Brumbies were unable to capitalise.
The Lions replaced their whole front row early on and it paid dividends as they earned two penalties that saw Jantjies level the scores after 50 minutes.
They then scored the opening try as Kwagga Smith swooped on an errant pass from Aidan Toua aimed for Nic Mayhew and he pinned the ears back for a 60 metre run to the line and Jantjies’ conversion made it 10-3.
The Lions were prepared to kick the ball away and make the Brumbies do the work from inside their own half and the Brumbies were lucky to escape as another wayward pass from Toua copped Jordan Smiler in the face but a penalty let them off the hook.
The Brumbies did close the gap to four points with Hawera’s second penalty after a rare excursion into the Lions half.
The Brumbies set piece was starting to become an issue as they lost another lineout in a crucial part of the field with Mostert again stealing a lineout.
Joe Powell was trying to get some go forward as he found gaps around the edges but another poor pass from Toua was intercepted to give the Lions some relief. There seemed to be no patience being shown as they attempted to go sideways too often instead of going forward in small doses.
With the Lions starting to defend to close out the game, their defence that had been strong all game at the tackle, repelled another Brumbies raid with another collapsed maul and followed that up with penalty with Kwagga Smith all over the ball.
The Lions were then able to close out the game with a late penalty to Andries Coetzee and leave the Brumbies winless in four matches and claim a clean sweep on their Australian tour leaving the Brumbies with plenty to think about before they embark on their tour of South Africa and Argentina next week.
The Game Changer
The Lions try in the 55th minute when Kwagga Smith swopped on a loose pass for the only try of the match.
The G&GR MOTM
Franco Mostert – His lineout work and general play was huge in tonight’s win.
Joe Powell had a good game in a beaten side with the Test series not far away.
Score & Scorers
Penalties: Hawera 2
Penalties: Jantjies, Coetzee
Photos courtesy Tim Anger