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Lions’ Wait For Win Grows Longer

jmcconnell 4 Nov 2004

New coach Gary Ella must have been delighted to see the World Cup finally kick-off in his native Australia and the clock is now ticking even louder for him as he awaits the return of his 11 first-team players to bolster his game group of young stand-ins.

There was plenty of stern defence from the Lions, and skipper Leo Cullen had enthusaistic support from hooker Gavin Hickie and No 8 Des Dillon up front, but there was never quite enough strike power to really threaten the home side.

Not that the Blues had much to smile about as they made hard work of notching their second win of the season. They made far too many unforced errors and had their Canadian back row dynamo Dan Baugh yellow carded for the third time this season to earn him an automatic one match ban.

To be fair to him, though, Baugh more than made amends for his 11th minute departure, for some characteristically illegal work on the floor, by scoring two tries and terrorising the Leinster back line with his tackling.

Nicky Robinson had missed his first penalty shot from 40 metres after Dillon had infringed at a ruck after only four minutes, and his opposite number Matthew Leek was similarly off target from the same distance after Baugh’s dismissal.

In fact, the first-half was probably encapsulated by the streaker who took to the field midway through the tedium – wearing his underwear. There were plenty of good intentions, but not enough conviction.

Robinson eventually broke the deadlock with a penalty after 24 minutes after Dillon had been dispatched to the sin-bin and then Leinster’s plight got worse when they leaked a try three minutes later while temporarily reduced to 13 men with Shane Jennings receiving treatement at the other end of the field.

Having kept cardiff out on their left flank, a magnificent tackle by Hickie stopped Nick Walne going in on the right but Baugh was on the wing’s shoulder to burrow his way over.

You got the feeling it wasn’t going to be Leinster’s night when the former Irish Schools skipper John Lyne was carried off on a stretcher with a supsected broken ankle after their seven man scrum was wheeled by the home eight.

Even so, the Lions didn’t leak any more points in the first half, although they were left ruing Leek’s second miss when he struck a post on the stroke of half-time. The outside half did hit the target five minutes after the break from point blank range after James Norton had twice figured in a strong move in the home 22.

But that was about it for the visitors. Cardiff took control up front, picked up two more tries through Walne and Baugh and earned a morale boosting win.

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