Lions scrape to 37-25 victory over Royal XV

The British and Irish Lions scraped to a 37-25 victory over the Royal XV in the opening game of their tour to South Africa.

Paul O'Connell's team were 25-13 down with just 14 minutes to go against a scratch team made up of players from the Griquas and the Leopards.

The Lions haven't lost the opening game of a tour since 1971 and only two late tries from Alun-Wyn Jones and Ronan O'Gara spared their blushes. Despite the win the major concern for the Lions management team will be the lack of continuity and basic handling errors.

While the tourists started well, the Royal XV stunned the best of Britain and Ireland with an early try through Willhelm Koch before Rayno Barnes and Bees Roux added another two five pointers to give the home side a shock lead.

Tommy Bowe pulled a try back for the Lions late into the first half but there was little else to remember from the tourists' perspective in an error strewn 40 minutes. Wales fullback Lee Byrne looks to have cemented a test place with an excellent performance but Scottish scrum half Mike Blair and Ireland centre Keith Earls both had games to forget.

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