The Lions’ impressive winning run against Australian opposition ended spectacularly in Brisbane on Saturday when a fired-up Reds outfit beat the tourists 27-22.
The Lions had won eight in a row against Australian teams before Saturday’s defeat – including last week’s impressive 29-0 mauling of the Waratahs in Sydney.
But they crashed on the Gold Coast on Saturday, with their poor first-half showing costing them dearly.
After only arriving in Brisbane on Friday after spending the week in Sydney, the Lions looked half asleep as they conceded four first half tries to trail 24-0 at the break.
The Reds fully deserved their lead; they dominated the set-pieces and tackled outstandingly, and didn’t allow the Lions any space or time to get their game going.
Prop JP Smith, No 8 Caleb Timu, hooker Brandon Paenga-Amosa and flank George Smith scored first-half tries for the home team, before Filipo Daugunu slotted a penalty after halftime.
At 27-0 up, the Reds were in full control, but the Lions hit back in some style, dominating the rest of the clash.
Malcolm Marx scored twice from a driving maul to give his team a sniff at the 60-minute mark, and then in the dying minutes, replacement flank Marnus Schoeman grabbed a brace to get the Lions to within five points.
It was a much-improved effort after the break by the visitors, who only conceded three second-half points while scoring 22 themselves, but they simply weren’t switched on in the opening 40 and paid the price.
The Lions will now move on to New Zealand for clashes with the Hurricanes and Highlanders. The bonus point earned on Saturday will at least give them half a smile.
Reds 27 – Tries: JP Smith, Caleb Timu, Brandon Paenga-Amosa, George Smith. Conversions: Filipo Daugunu (2). Penalty: Daugunu (1).
Lions 22 – Tries: Malcolm Marx (2), Marnus Schoeman (2). Conversion: Elton Jantjies (1).