Maro Itoje Gets Tackled

British & Irish Lions v New Zealand – Match Review

So where do the Lions go from here?

Their 30-15 defeat at Eden Park, Auckland, was probably a fair reflection of the match.

No question but that New Zealand deserved to win.

It was a terrific end-to-end attacking contest and the Lions had chances they could not capitalise on – the story of their tour so far.

They had two good spells either side of half-time but otherwise the All Blacks were dominant.

Must be a case for starting Maro Itoje and Courtney Lawes in the second row for next Saturday’s Wellington Test.

Do you play Farrell or Sexton – none of the four fly halves on display across the two sides made meaningful breaks?

Conor Murray or Rhys Webb at scrum half? Murray’s box kicking may have relieved pressure but mostly just gave the ball back to the opposition.

Though admittedly the Lions were indeed under enormous pressure for long periods.

Their defensive effort was huge. Vast numbers of tackles.

Such a shame that quickness of thought by New Zealand in running two penalties the Lions appeared to think they would kick resulted in tries for Codie Taylor and Rieko Ioane. The visitors were caught napping.

Ioane got the break of the ball for a second try late on.

The Lions though, if it was any consolation, scored the best of the game, right up there with the greatest Lions tries of all time, going the length of the field as first Liam Williams ran superbly to create the opportunity, and then it went through hands for Sean O’Brien to finish off.

A Webb close-in score in overtime made the final outcome a little more respectable.

At 13-8 at half time the Lions were well in it – New Zealand should have been ahead by more.

The Lions came out firing at the start of the second period but flattered to deceive.

They struggled with the intensity, were troubled throughout by New Zealand off-loading and found the All Blacks’ inter-play passing hard to combat.

So, much to work on.

Lions tour captain Sam Warburton came on deep into the second half but still looks short of fitness. Should not be considered even for the bench on that performance.

Centres Davies and Te’o were tenacious.

For the All Blacks, Kieran Read was outstanding and Beauden Barrett impeccable from the tee, landing six from six.

Only once in their history have the Lions won a series in New Zealand, and never having lost the first match. On this form it could be 3-0 to the home side as it was 12 years ago.

First it is the Hurricanes on Tuesday when the Lions will need to re-group.

This isn’t over, the Lions have their pride intact, but now two huge upsets are required if they are to go into rugby immortality.

Autumn International Hospitality Now On Sale

As the Six Nations reaches its climax we turn our attention towards the 2017 Old Mutual Wealth Autumn Internationals, Eventmasters will once again be providing the finest official England Rugby hospitality packages for these three great games – please follow the links below.

England v Argentina – Autumn Internationals
England v Australia – Autumn Internationals
England v Samoa – Autumn Internation