Rugby: Healy accused of biting as Lions thrash Force

Brian O'Driscoll, the Lions captain, races clear to score the second try. Photo / Getty Images
Brian O'Driscoll, the Lions captain, races clear to score the second try. Photo / Getty Images

Irish prop Cian Healy was involved in an alleged biting controversy as the British and Irish Lions recorded a predictable 69-17 thumping of the Western Force in Perth on Wednesday night.

Healy was in the headlines for all the wrong reasons in the 17th minute when Force scrumhalf Brett Sheehan claimed he was bitten on the arm by the 112kg prop.

Replays proved inconclusive, but Healy is sure to face further scrutiny over the incident.

"I don't know if it was an accident or on purpose, so we'll move on,'' Sheehan said.

Healy also has plenty to sweat about on the injury front after badly rolling his ankle in the 35th minute.

The 25-year-old was clearly distressed after his left ankle got caught under the body of Force flanker Angus Cottrell.

Healy's ankle twisted awkwardly in the incident, and he lay on the ground for more than five minutes while he received treatment before being stretchered off.

With the first Test against the Wallabies just 16 days away, Healy has little time to recover and push his case for selection.

The Lions suffered another injury scare late in the match when flanker Tom Croft was knocked out after a sickening head clash with Force No.8 Richard Brown.

Croft, who broke his neck last year, was able to walk off the field.

Just four days after beating the Barbarians 59-8 in Hong Kong, the Lions ran in nine tries to two against the Force in front of a crowd of 35,103.

The second half was particularly brutal as the Lions' backline weaved their magic.

But it wasn't the case early on, with the Force trailing by just seven points at the 32-minute mark before the visitors unleashed a flurry of tries.

The Lions led 27-3 at half-time, with five-eighth Jonathan Sexton, centre Brian O'Driscoll and flanker Tom Croft all crossing for tries.

And although the Force were given reason to celebrate when Brown and Lachlan McCaffrey barged over for second-half tries, the Lions added another six of their own to run out convincing winners.

Lions fullback Leigh Halfpenny gave his selection chances a major boost, nailing all 11 of his shots on goal, with four of those coming from the sideline.

After easy wins over the Barbarians and Force, the Lions will be hoping to take on a stronger outfit when they face the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.

Former England coach Clive Woodward claimed the Lions were being treated with "contempt'' after the Force left out a host of their best players for the match.

With the Force keeping one eye on Sunday's Super Rugby clash with the Waratahs, the likes of Kyle Godwin, Jayden Hayward, Pat Dellit, Pek Cowan and Sam Wykes were all rested against the Lions.

Lions scrumhalf Conor Murray could also come under strife for allegedly trampling Force centre Ed Stubbs.

Lions coach Warren Gatland said an X-ray cleared Healy of a broken ankle, but he had likely suffered ligament damage.

The Lions will determine the full extent of the injury over the next 24 hours before deciding whether they need to fly over a replacement.

Gatland was pleased with the performance, but said there were areas his team needed to work on.

"There's a couple of things defensively we've identified we need to work on,'' Gatland said.

"But it was pleasing to come out after halftime and score quickly and we kept that tempo up.''

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