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Lions World Rugby Classic hopes hang in the balance

Lions Legends suffered a stunning defeat to Canada in their their opening match of the World Rugby Classic at North Field on Sunday (Photographs by Akil Simmons)

Lions Legends will be keen to get their World Rugby Classic title bid on track when they come up against defending champions France on Tuesday.

Fresh off a shocking loss to Canada in their tournament opener on Sunday, the Lions have no margin for error in a crunch match against the French at North Field and they must win to keep their title hopes alive.

“Our backs are against the wall and you don’t back a dog into a corner,” Allan Martin, the Lions manager, told The Royal Gazette. “Hopefully we put things right on Tuesday night.”

The Lions matched the Canadians in both skill and intensity but squandered too many scoring opportunities in their opening match and also conceded a plethora of penalties, which came back to haunt them.

“We had plenty of opportunities to finish it off and gave away too many penalties,” Martin added. “But we saw little glimpses of the team coming together and I expect better things on Tuesday.

France will be without two of their players for Tuesday evening’s big clash aftey they sustained serious injuries in separate bike accidents on Sunday.

“‘We have one player in the hospital with a broken leg from a bike accident and another who fell off the bike and wounded his collarbone, so we are two down,” Sylvie Repose, the team France spokeswoman, confirmed.

“They were two separate incidents literally an hour after each other.”

Despite the loss of those players, the French will be hoping to build on the momentum gathered after they came from behind to thrash Italy 28-6 in their tournament opener at the weekend.

“Apart from the bike incidents it was a really brilliant start and they have been hugely motivated,” Repose added.

“We are very optimistic for tomorrow’s game against the Lions and are looking forward to it. Obviously the Lions are an obstacle. They are the favourites along with Argentina so we will see but we are very excited with the staff and players that we have apart from those incidents.

“They have been working really well together and showed what they can do.”

The Lions and France will lock horns at 8:45pm and will be preceded by the matches pitting Italy against USA Classic Eagles (6:15pm) and Argentina against Canada (7:30pm).

Argentina also laid down a marker in their first game after routing USA 57-0 in their tournament opener on Saturday night.

They will likely find things tougher against a Canada side whose confidence will be soaring after their surprise victory againt the heavily-fancied Lions powered them to a first win at the event since they beat France in the plate final in 2006.

Like the Lions, USA and Italy find themselves in must-win scenarios if they are to keep their title hopes alive..

Argentina top the six-nation standings on points difference over France and Canada.

Teams earn five points for a win with an additional point awarded for scoring more than three tries and losing by seven points or less.

The tournament concludes with the final round of matches on Thursday.

World Rugby Classic League Table

P W L F A Pts

Argentina 1 1 0 50 0 6

France 1 1 0 28 6 6

Canada 1 1 0 17 15 6

Lions 1 0 1 15 17 1

Italy 1 0 1 6 28 0

USA 1 0 1 0 50 0

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Published October 11, 2022 at 6:03 am (Updated October 11, 2022 at 6:02 am)

Lions World Rugby Classic hopes hang in the balance

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