Munster players CJ Stander and Conor Murray celebrate after the Lions win over the Crusaders
MUNSTER players Conor Murray and Peter O’Mahony played starring roles as the British and Irish Lions got their New Zealand tour back on track with a gritty 12-3 victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch.
Murray, in his first start for the Lions on their 2017 tour, was hugely influential in the pivotal scrum-half berth, kicking intelligently and accurately, while his passing was sharp and crisp.
Flanker O’Mahony turned in an excellent display in a hugely impressive Lions back-row unit. On top of getting through a huge amount of work at the breakdown, O’Mahony’s contribution at line-out time proved crucial.
Munster’s third representative on the tour, CJ Stander, also made a significant contribution to the victory when introduced as a second half replacement.
England’s Owen Farrell kicked four penalties from five attempts for the Lions while Richie Mo'unga slotted one for the Crusaders.
This was the first time in 38 fixtures that the Crusaders had been held tryless.
The Lions return to action against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Tuesday, 8.35am, their fourth of six warm-up matches before the first Test against the All-Blacks on June 24.
CRUSADERS: Israel Dagg; Seta Tamanivalu, Jack Goodhue, David Havili, George Bridge; Richie Mo’unga, Bryn Hall; Joe Moody, Codie Taylor, Owen Franks; Luke Romano, Sam Whitelock (capt); Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, Matt Todd, Jordan Taufua. Replacements: Ben Funnell for Taylor, Wyatt Crockett for Moody, Michael Alaalatoa for Franks (all 50 mins), Quinten Strange for Romano (55 mins), Jed Brown, Mitchell Drummond for Hall (62 mins), Mitchell Hunt for Mo’unga (75 mins), Tim Bateman for Bridge (67 mins).
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS: Stuart Hogg (Scotland), George North (Wales), Jonathan Davies (Wales), Ben Te’o (England), Liam Williams (Wales); Owen Farrell (England) Conor Murray (Munster, Ireland); Mako Vunipola (England), Jamie George (England), Tadhg Furlong (Leinster, Ireland); Alun Wyn Jones (Capt) (Wales), George Kruis (England); Peter O’Mahony (Munster, Ireland), Sean O’Brien (Leinster, Ireland), Taulupe Faletau (Wales). Replacements: Anthony Watson (England) for Hogg (21 mins), Johnny Sexton (Leinster, Ireland) for Davies (29 mins), CJ Stander (Munster, Ireland) for O’Brien (57 mins), Jack McGrath (Leinster, Ireland) for Vunipola, Maro Itoje (England) for Kruis (both 60 mins), Ken Owens (Wales) for George, Dan Cole (England) for Furlong (both 67 mins).
REFEREE: Mathieu Raynal (France).