RUGBY PICTURES: Lions can only wait and hope now as fate out of their hands

Sam Herrington getting away in Lions defeat by Lutterworth at Webb Ellis Road on Saturday   Pictures by Ray Andrews
Sam Herrington getting away in Lions defeat by Lutterworth at Webb Ellis Road on Saturday Pictures by Ray Andrews

Relegation places to be decided by Melbourne’s result on Saturday

PICTURES BY RAY ANDREWS

Midlands 1 West

Rugby Lions 17 Lutterworth 53

Following the euphoria after last Saturday’s five-point win at Hereford, Rugby Lions were bought back down to earth with a bump and were totally outplayed by an impressive Lutterworth side determined to avenge their opening day home defeat, writes Dave Rushall.

To make matters worse, Melbourne recorded an unlikely five-point win at Moseley Oak which puts them only one point behind Rugby with just Dudley Kingswinford to play next Saturday.

With Lions’ fixtures now complete, their future at this level is now totally out of their hands. Worse still, Lions’ narrow points difference advantage has been wiped out and is now, possibly crucially, strongly in Melbourne’s favour.

A series of handling errors by the home side put Lutterworth on the front foot and strong drives by their forwards resulted in two early unconverted tries. Lions hit back following a darting run up the right hand touch line by Simione Bituwaqa. Tackled just short of the line, Scott Truslove was on hand to complete the touchdown in the corner.

Lions’ forward drives were looking very ponderous and ineffective compared to the visitors, and it was no surprise when Lutterworth extended their lead with two tries in a minute, one of which was converted to increase their lead to 5-22

The Lions’ scrum was under immense pressure, and the lack of control at the base of the scrums and mauls was costing them dear. On the stroke of half time, poor defence following a line-out seven metres out, allowed the visitors to extend their lead and make the game safe.

Lutterworth were totally dominant up front and Lions were living off scraps, although a strong run from Sam Herrington led to Liam Munro taking the baton and feeding John Hemsley, who had come out of retirement for this game, to score under the posts. Weston converted to reduce the arrears.

The relief was short lived, however, as Lutterworth resumed their dominance of possession. I don’t think I have ever seen Lions’ pack being shunted off the ball at such a great rate of knots, and were incapable of winning their own scrums.

All this possession inevitably had its rewards and Lutterworth added to their try count with embarrassing ease at regular intervals. Lions did respond with a strong run from Munro, who broke through two defenders to touch down following a couple of quick tap penalties.

Lions were still in with a chance of a four-try bonus point, and looked to have achieved this when a chip ahead was taken by Truslove to score in front of the clubhouse. The joy was short-lived, however, as the try scorer was harshly adjudged to have been in front of the kicker.

A game that will not live long in Lions’ supporters’ memories ended with another couple of soft tries for the visitors to complete a roller coaster season for the Lions.

Rugby Lions’ fate will be sealed next week at Melbourne, who by my reckoning, need just one bonus point and to not lose by more than 50. Let’s hope that Dudley Kingswinford play to their normal level and do the Lions a favour.

Lutterworth RFC 2nd XV won the Clonmell Cup on Sunday beating Southam 2nd XV 15-10 at Webb Ellis Road.