Lions primed for Tri-Nations showdown
Sunday November 21, 2004

The Great Britain Lions put their Tri-Nations credentials on display again this morning with a tough and gritty 26-24 victory over New Zealand at Hull's Kingston Communications Stadium.

The Lions overcame a 12-4 deficit at the half time break to score four tries in just 17 minutes in the second half, two of which were scored by man-of-the-match Brian Carney.

A near-capacity crowd of 23,377 fans braved the freezing conditions to witness the match, after news earlier this week that all 39,000 tickets for the Tri-Nations final had been sold.

The victory has given Great Britain their third consecutive test victory and landed them on top of the table after six round-robin games in the competition, but they are still unlikely to start as outright favorites for next weekend's decider.

The Kiwis started the match in impressive fashion with a try to Vinnie Anderson in the 18th minute of the match. Keith Senior responded in similar fashion for the home side, but a missed conversion brought the scores to 6-4.

Brent Webb missed a penalty attempt from right in front of the posts just a few minutes out from half time. The miss seemed unimportant to most at the time, but in hindsight you can be sure that Webb and all New Zealand fans would be mulling over that missed opportunity.

A try to centre Nigel Vagana just before the half time siren gave the visitors a 12-4 lead as the teams went to the sheds for the break.

Irish winger Brian Carney fuelled the Great Britain second-half comeback in spectacular fashion, notching tries in the 44th and 56th minute of the game. Andy Farrell and Paul Johnson also scored in the 17 minute try-a-thon, which turned an 8-point deficit into a 26-12 lead.

The Kiwis again fought back in the dying stages, with Alex Chan and Shontayne Hape collecting tries, but it was a case of too-little too-late for the Tri-Nations wooden spooners: they finished just two points behind the Brits.

Great Britain Lions 26 (Carney 2, Senior, Farrell, Johnson tries; Farrell 3 goals) defeated New Zealand 24 (Vagana, Hape, Anderson, Chan tries; Webb 4 goals) at Kingston Communications Stadium, Hull.

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