Wyn Jones returns in Lions’ tour match win over Stormers
Halfback Ali Price has staked a Test claim to help the British and Irish Lions overwhelm the Stormers 49-3 as Alun Wyn Jones made a successful comeback from injury.
Price is set to pressure tour captain Conor Murray for a starting place in the first Test against the world champion Springboks at the same venue next weekend after impressing on Saturday.
Hamish Watson was an aggressive runner with ball in hand as was excellent hooker Luke Cowan-Dickie, while lock Jones returned from a dislocated shoulder three weeks ago with seemingly no ill effects.
“It was hugely physical. When you come up against South African teams you know you will be in for a physical challenge,” Lions captain Stuart Hogg said.
“At times things came off for us, at times they didn’t. But we are happy with that performance.
“We have a game plan that tries to get everybody involved, and if we execute well there will always be opportunities for points. But we still feel we left a lot out there.”
The Lions’ tries came via locks Adam Beard and Jonny Hill, Cowan-Dickie, No.8 Jack Conan, prop Zander Fagerson, wing Louis Rees-Zammit and back-rower Sam Simmonds.
Young five-eighth Marcus Smith kicked seven conversations in an impressive debut.
The opening quarter was scoreless as the Stormers spent much of the time in the Lions’ half without unduly threatening their tryline.
The hosts drew first blood with a penalty midway through the first half but the Lions were on the board shortly after with a sweeping attack finished off by Beard, which allowed Smith to convert for his first points in a Lions jersey.
That was followed almost immediately by a second try as the gaps began to appear in the home defence.
A maul from an attacking line-out was initially stopped by the Stormers but powerful Cowan-Dickie broke away and was able to score.
The Lions got a third on the stroke of halftime when Hill cantered over in the corner after quick hands from Beard and Hogg put him into space.
Conan crossed for a fourth try early in the second period after a well-rehearsed midfield move put him clear, and Fagerson burrowed over from close range for the fifth.
Rees-Zammit finished off an excellent break from Smith as the Lions went the length of the field late on to score, capping a hugely promising display from the 22-year-old five-eighth, before Simmonds cantered in unopposed for the final score.
“The competition for places is ridiculous,” Hogg said.
“There will be some very tough decisions.”