3 Jun 2017

Limp Lions edge Barbarians in tour opener

10:46 pm on 3 June 2017

The British and Irish Lions have scraped past the Provincial Barbarians 13-7 in the opening match of their tour of New Zealand in Whangarei.

Richard Judd and Ross Moriarty.
Provincial Barbarians v British and Irish Lions. Rugby Union. Whangarei, New Zealand. Saturday 3 June 2017.

Richard Judd and Ross Moriarty. Provincial Barbarians v British and Irish Lions. Rugby Union. Whangarei, New Zealand. Saturday 3 June 2017. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

A sold out crowd of 20,000 watched as the amateur and semi-professional players in the Barbarians scored the first try of the game and took a 7-3 lead into half-time.

However the Lions scored a converted try and kicked a penalty in the second half to avoid an embarrassing defeat.

Watch video highlights from the game here:

Winger Anthony Watson's 52nd minute try gave the Lions the slim advantage they needed as they struggled to the first up win.

Anthony Watson scores the Lions' first try.

Anthony Watson scores the Lions' first try. Photo: PhotoSport

Lions first-five Johnny Sexton slotted a first half penalty, halfback Greig Laidlaw then stepped up when he went down injured to add a second, and replacement first-five Owen Farrell converted Watson's try.

Barbarians captain Sam Anderson-Heather, who suffered injuries to his knee, ribs and hand, scored the only try for the side selected from New Zealand's provincial competition before he was replaced at half-time.

Sam Anderson-Heather scores a try for the Barbarians as his team mates celebrate.

Sam Anderson-Heather scores a try for the Barbarians as his team mates celebrate. Photo: PhotoSport

No caption

Photo: Twitter / British and Irish Lions

First-five Bryn Gatland, the son of Lions coach Warren, converted Anderson-Heather's try and showed he would be more than capable of playing at a higher level should the Blues Super Rugby side need him on Wednesday night against the tourists.

-Reuters/RNZ

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