British and Irish Lions 2013: Brian O'Driscoll content with heavy victory over Combined Country XV
The tourists were always expected to win easily
Tuesday 11 June 2013
Brian O'Driscoll was pleased with the Lions' performance in both attack and defence after seeing them sweep aside Combined Country XV in a one-sided tour match in Newcastle.
O'Driscoll, who captained the side today, ran in one of 10 Lions tries as the tourists claimed an emphatic 64-0 victory over a Country XV side that was made up mostly of part-time players.
The Ireland centre was happy to see the Lions amongst the tries, as they were expected to be, but he was also delighted to keep their opponents scoreless.
He told Sky Sports 2: "I think it was 10 tries we scored, which is good against any opposition.
"I guess we didn't know what to expect with the opposition but they certainly gave it the full 80 and tested us at times.
"I think one of the most pleasing factors was that we kept them to zero, we put a lot of emphasis on our defence and we're pleased with that aspect today."
The victory was the Lions fourth in succession on their tour and O'Driscoll is confident they will continue to get better and better.
He said: "The team is going to grow with games, going to try new things to make sure we keep the Wallabies guessing.
"There's hopefully a little more to come, the more games we play together the more opportunity we have to gel and I think the more we're enjoying each other's company we're able to express that out on the pitch.
"There's good team spirit there."
Stuart Hogg enjoyed an impressive night after a rare outing in the number 10 jersey.
The Scotland full-back, who admitted the last time he played fly-half was in a club fixture some four years ago, was nervous before the game but was pleased with the way things went.
The 20-year-old said: "When you've got the likes of O'Driscoll and (Jamie) Roberts outside you it's going to make your job a lot easier.
"I was a bit nervous coming into this game having not played 10 for a long time but I settled in pretty well and enjoyed it, which is the main thing.
"As the game went on I was getting more and more relaxed and that's exactly what I want it to be like, I want to enjoy my rugby and it showed out there."
Regarding the match, which saw the Lions race out of the blocks and establish a 38-0 half-time lead before finding scoring a little tougher after the interval, Hogg said: "We went out to win and try things.
"In the first half I thought we were clinical and ruthless, but in the second half we started to force things and the scoreboard wasn't as high."
Looking ahead, Hogg added: "We're high in confidence just now, that's four wins from four, we're in a good place and now it's all about building, setting more targets and achieving them."
One area the Lions will want to improve on from today's game is the lineout, and second row Ian Evans said that is just what they will look to do.
Asked where he felt some of the lineouts problems might have stemmed from, Evans said: "It's not down to any individual and they're little things to iron out and come training this week I think we'll iron them out."
Assistant coach Rob Howley also felt there were areas that needed work but that overall the coaching team were pleased with today's showing.
He said: "Generally happy but I suppose the second half was frustrating. Obviously it's quite dewy but there was probably a few too many handling errors for our liking, particularly in the opposition 22.
"It's a little frustrating but obviously to score 10 tries we're happy."
Howley also championed Hogg, saying of the youngster: "He's got natural talent, he's a great footballer, he's got great feet and not a bad kicking game either.
"He gave opportunities to Jamie and Drisco in the backs, so delighted with Stuart, he can play there and he'll have other opportunities as well."
Another plus for the Lions was seemingly coming out of the match without any further additions to their growing injury list.
Wing George North was replaced at half-time due to a hamstring complaint after scoring two tries in the first period, but Howley said it was just a precaution.
"George's hamstring is quite tight so we decided to take him off, not risk him, and it was good to see Sean Maitland go out to the wing as well," he said.
"We've got strength in depth in our back three and Simon Zebo tuned up today. George's is just a tight hamstring and no further worries."
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