Manu Tuilagi
Manu Tuilagi put in a powerful display as the British Lions recorded a 35-0 victory over the Melbourne Rebels. [Reuters]

The British and Irish Lions cruised to an impressive 35-0 victory over the Melbourne Rebels on Tuesday as Warren Gatland sent out a second string side ahead of Saturday's second Test against Australia.

Gatland had declared that this was an opportunity for players to stake a claim for a place in the starting XV this weekend and there were notable displays from England's Manu Tuilagi and Wales back row Toby Faletau.

Both players stated their case but it seems unlikely that Gatland will make many changes after the Lions edged out Australia 23-21 in Brisbane last Saturday to move 1-0 up in series.

This was the final opportunity for players to impress as all that remains now are the final two Tests against Australia and it was Ireland's scrum half Connor Murray who scored the first try of the game after 15 minutes.

Faletau had been held just short of the line but a clever spin from Murray allowed him to open the scoring before Owen Farrell was successful with a tricky conversion.

Jason Woodward then missed a simple penalty for the Rebels before a superb passage of play led to a try for Sean Maitland. It all started with Sean O'Brien finding Tuilagi who blasted past three players before feeding Gareth Delve.

His superb pass would find Maitland who fed Falateu, and although the number eight slipped just short of the line, the Lions recycled and Simon Zebo sent Maitland over in the corner.

Farrell confidently added the extras to give the Lions a 14-0 lead at half-time.

Just nine minutes into the second half a penalty to the corner led to a successful line out from the Lions as Dan Lydiate fed O'Brien who powered his way over the line and once again Farrell would dispatch the conversion.

A penalty try and a conversion from Stuart Hogg followed after Jordy Reid was sin binned for blatantly playing the ball carrier from an offside position, before Ben Youngs sold a wonderful dummy to race through and score in front of the sticks, which he then converted.

"We wanted to get the result and keep the momentum going. A lot of the lads missed out from playing at the weekend, so they wanted to take their chance," said Lions captain Lydiate.

"Warren [Gatland] told us to play well as a team and as an individual and to push ourselves for Test match selection. This is the pinnacle of my career captaining the Lions, made even better getting the result."

Melbourne Rebels: Jason Woodward, Tom English, Mitch Inmar, Rory Sidey, Lachlan Mitchell, Bryce Hegarty, Luke Burgess; Nic Henderson, Ged Robinson, Laurie Weeks, Cadeyrn Neville, Hugh Pyle, Jarrod Saffy, Scott Fuglistaller, Gareth Delve (capt).

Replacements: Pat Leafa (for Robinson, 61) Cruze Ah-Nau (for Henderson, 61) Paul Alo-Emilie (for Weeks, 61), Luke Jones (for Pyle, 41), Jordy Reid (for Delve, 56), Nic Stirzaker (for Burgess, 56), Angus Roberts (for Hegarty, 72), Cooper Vuna (for Inman, 50).

Yellow card: Reid (63)

British and Irish Lions: Rob Kearney; Sean Maitland, Manu Tuilagi, Brad Barritt, Simon Zebo; Owen Farrell, Conor Murray; Ryan Grant, Richard Hibbard, Dan Cole, Richie Gray, Ian Evans, Dan Lydiate (capt), Sean O'Brien, Toby Faletau.

Replacements: Rory Best (for Hibbard, 55), Tom Court (for Grant, 55), Matt Stevens (for Cole, 55), Tom Croft (for Lydiate, 64), Justin Tipuric (for O'Brien, 55), Ben Youngs (for Murray, 62), Owen Farrell , Billy Twelvetrees (blood, for Barritt, 32-40, for Kearney, 62), Stuart Hogg (for Farrell, 52).

Attendance: 28,648

Referee: Glenn Jackson (NZ)