Terrific Tongan runs Lichfield ragged as Lions roar again

Semisi Sitanislei Tei weaves his way through the Lichfield defence. Picture: Mick Sutterby
Semisi Sitanislei Tei weaves his way through the Lichfield defence. Picture: Mick Sutterby
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Peterborough Lions fans would be well advised not to take their eyes off the game for a second this season.

For it takes just the blink of an eyelid for their new try-scoring sensation Semisi Sitanislei Tei (Misi for short) to produce something out of nothing and breach opposition defences.

Lichfield get shirty with Rory White. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Lichfield get shirty with Rory White. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Three times on Saturday against Lichfield the super-fast Tongan centre, a member of his country’s current World Sevens squad, scored in a flash.

His acceleration over the first five yards is electric and once into his stride he’s like a miniature Usain Bolt. Add a shimmy here and a swerve there and he has would-be tacklers totally bamboozled.

He was a joy to watch at Solstice Park on Saturday - apart perhaps from the Lichfield players he left trailing in his wake - and his hat-trick of tries helped the Lions to a whopping 57-0 win to keep them joint top of the Midlands Premiership table with Newport. Both sides have a maximum 20 points from four games.

Number eight Sioki Vaha Taufu’i, another Tongan, also caught the eye and scored a try with Sam Crooks, Tom Lewis, Rory White and Wes Cope touching down as well.

Wes Cope scored a cracker of a try for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Wes Cope scored a cracker of a try for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Cope’s late score was a dazzling solo effort after a delicate chip and chase which brought the crowd to their feet.

All in all it was a pleasing all-round showing by the Bretton-based boys, although it did take them a while to get going, and they have the look of serious title challengers this season under new coach Vili Ma’asi.

Director of rugby Simon Moyle is not getting too carried away though.

“We’ve made a great start playing a new style of rugby and we’re all very pleased with the way things are going,” he said.

Tom Aviss attacks for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

Tom Aviss attacks for the Lions. Picture: Mick Sutterby

“But we are taking nothing for granted. We’ve been in this league for three seasons now and know only too well how fortunes can quickly change.

“We shall continue to pay all sides we play total respect.

“We’ve got a big squad and it’s important to keep everyone happy.”

For this weekend’s trip to Longton, Conor Gracey is set to make his first league start of the campaign after picking up an injury in pre-season. Chris Humphrey is the player likely to be rested.

The only bad news against Lichfield was that winger Ryan Morris suffered a broken arm.