Lions Tour of NZ - The Decider - 3rd Test, Auckland

in #steemsports7 years ago

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Pre Match

The rugby world was turned upside down last week as the Lions scrambled to a last minute victory over the All Blacks. Granted, the All Blacks played with 14 men for 55 minutes after Sonny-Bill Williams was shown a red card in the 25th minute. However, with only 14 men the All Blacks had extended their lead to 18-9 after 60 minutes, dominating possession and territory. The Lions resorted to type, un-evolved thuggery, in an effort to get back in the game. Minutes earlier Lion prop Vunipola had deliberately targeted Barrett lying yards from a ruck and dived on him. But it was the deliberate, and un-penalized, swinging arm by Irishman O’Brien on All Black Naholo that turned the game. Cruden came on, the backline was rejigged, and the Lions ran in two tries, albeit against a fatiguing All Black pack having played for half the game with only seven forwards, and it was game over.
Unbelievably, O’Brien was later cited but cleared, and Vunipola wasn’t even cited. So the Lions go into the 3rd test with an unchanged squad. The All Blacks on the other hand have had to rework their backline again, forced by suspension (SBW) and injury (Naholo). It has a rookie feel to it, another midfield combination with Laumape joining Leinart-Brown, while Jordie Barrett comes in at fullback. Both Laumape and J Barrett will have their first run-on start at test level. The Lions have spent half the week enjoying the mountain resort of Queenstown while the All Blacks have been getting down to business in Auckland. The All Blacks at Eden Park haven’t lost since 1994 against any side, and only once against the Lions in 1959. However history books are there to be rewritten… On an aside, Ma and Pa Barrett have three offspring in the match 23, Beauden and Jordie starting, with Scott off the pine. Top effort that!
Here We Go… the All Blacks unleashed their Kapa o Pango haka (as in the 1st test) for the opening. Onto the game, The All Blacks started well playing at pace. The Lions were penalised in the second minute for a breakdown infringement. Beauden Barrett misses the penalty attempt from 48m.
The All Blacks continued to dominate territory and possession in the opening stages, and played with real tempo. In the fifth minute, the All Blacks took a quick tap from a Lion lineout infringement. The ball was passed through the backline to Savea on the left wing who was unable to handle the final pass with the try-line clear. A golden opportunity was missed. The first scrum of the game was on Lions ball. They looked a bit wobbly but cleared. The All Blacks continued to attack, with the Lions just hanging in there. Lions clean-outs metres from the breakdown continued to go unpunished. The All Blacks pace of the game was sometimes their own undoing as they struggled with accuracy in execution, creating chances but failing to hang onto the ball at crucial moments.

The Lions first attack came in the 10th minute. A strong movement upfield, swept from side to side, the final pass intercepted by J Barrett. He headed upfield, passed off to Laumape who was run down by Davies 10m from the Lions line. The Lions got back and scrambled well on defence. The All Blacks pressed the breakdown and eventually won the ball. B Barrett kick passes to his brother, J Barrett, situated on the right wing, he taps the ball back for Laumape to collect and score. Barrett converts, All Blacks 7-0.
After 20 minutes, the Lions finally got on the board with a penalty in front, 7-3. From the ensuing kickoff, the All Blacks won the ball, B Barrett kick passed to Savea on the wing who dummied and then carried the ball within 10m of the Lions line. From the breakdown the All Blacks worked it through several pairs of hands before Cane knocked on at a crucial moment. The pace of the game was too much for the Lions as several of them lay about the field, feigning injury, as they tried to slow the pace.
A big scrum from the All Blacks, 15m out in front of the Lions posts, force the Lions off their own ball but the ball was knocked on in transfer. In the following scrum, the French ref strangely penalised the stronger scrum and the Lions clear. The All Blacks were quickly back on attack with a scrum on the Lions 22m. Working their way forward through several phases, the All Blacks again thwarted their own attack again with another handling error 10m out.
The Lions on one of their rare forays into the All Black half won a penalty at the breakdown, Farrell slotted it, 7-6. The All Blacks continued to attack and in the 36th minute, won a lineout near halfway, the ball transferred along the backline, Laumape crashed through the center, offloaded to Leinart-Brown who transferred to J Barrett who scores unopposed. B Barrett misses easy conversion, 12-6.

The All Blacks dominated the first half and had the Lions on the ropes. They blew several chances which would’ve effectively closed the game out by half-time. The Lions also had chances but it was the All Black tempo which threatened to run them off the park. The Lions substituted O’Brien (injury) for CJ Stander for the start of the second half. B Barrett’s kickoff didn’t go the 10m, Lions penalty. Daly kicked from 52m. 12-9.
Shortly after the Lions are caught offside again – very unusual. The All Blacks kick to the corner, 5m out. The All Blacks won the lineout, drove closer and then spun the ball through the back line but the final pass to Savea was forward with the line clear. The pace of the game was being slowed by the Lions wherever possible, assisted by more All Black handling issues. In the 50th minute Wyn Jones falls into a Kaino forearm in the tackle, tough but letter of the law yellow card. This was an accidental forearm as opposed to O’Brien’s deliberate swinging arm the week prior. The All Blacks back to 7 forwards again as the Lions pressed forward. However they also lacked accuracy on attack as there was continued pressure placed by both sides on the ball carrier. Eventually the Lions received another penalty and Farrell kicked from 46m out. 12-12 with 20 minutes to play.
By 60 minutes, the All Black reserves had started to roll on. They applied pressure to a Lions scrum 15m out from their line and Lions prop Sinckler was penalized for collapsing the scrum. B Barrett kicked, 15-12. The All Blacks continued to attack but failed to apply the killer blow. Against the run of play, Lions replacement Webb milked a penalty at a breakdown on the halfway line. Farrell kicks from 50m out. 15-15.

From the restart, the All Blacks were awarded a penalty 25m out for Lions hooker Owens being offside. However, the ref decided to consult the TMO who agreed with the penalty. Eventually French ref Poite took the advice of last week’s French ref Garces (touch-judge) and changed his decision to accidental offside and the penalty became a scrum. It was a contentious decision to say the least - players and fans were left scratching their heads, the Lions players checking their wallets had plenty of lotto tickets. Overlooked in this whole fiasco was the decision not to play the advantage as Leinart-Brown had gathered the loose ball and would’ve been in under the posts. The All Blacks pressed on attack in the final moments with J Barrett going within 1m of the line. The ball rolls into touch, it’s game over and the crowd falls silent.

The Final Wrap

A strange atmosphere encompassed the ground, nobody in the crowd or on the pitch really knew what to do. Slowly there were handshakes all round as the players came to the retaliation that’s all there was left to be done. The All Blacks scored two tries to none today, left several other opportunities on the park and missed two relatively easy kicks. They could’ve been ahead by 20 points at halftime but credit to the Lions who fought their way back into the game in the second half.

The most pertinent single statistic to emerge from the series was that the Lions only led for three of the 240 minutes. In the last two Tests, decided by a cumulative total of just three points, the All Blacks left 14 points out on the field. Overall, it was a great effort by the Lions who weren’t given much chance going into 1st test. They got better as the tour progressed and gained a lot of respect from All Black fans. The All Blacks blew a lot of chances throughout the series, the Lions defense was mostly very good (if not regularly offside) and maintained pressure on the ball carrier, slowed the game at every opportunity and upset the All Black tempo and execution.
In the end there were no winners. The Lions have claimed a morale victory (though on what basis is unclear), the All Blacks will rue a series that got away, but sadly a lot of the talk from the last two tests will revolve around the officiating, a continuing problem for world rugby. On a positive note, this was a series that provided the contest and intensity the rugby world had sought given the dominance of the All Blacks in recent years.


It seems like an advertisement @steemsports

isn't all reporting? it's a report on an actual game, advertising the great game of rugby perhaps...

great post my friend, keep up the great job

thanks, glad you enjoyed

great review! well done

thanks, tense game

Informative post bro keep it up followed you for similar content keep sharing waiting for you another similar post :)

thanks, next posts probably super rugby playoffs & rugby championship.

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