Many people were calling this game a Lions win, due to a couple of wins against a seriously understrength Chiefs, a well below par Maori side and an All Blacks side who have only played one game prior to today’s test, which was in truth one game more than the starting 15 the Lions put out.
I’ve being saying for some time the Lions won’t win the series and it would be a whitewash, not that I take any joy from saying it, but first and foremost I am a realist, how the lions can create enough scoring opportunities to beat the best side in world rugby has and is a serious concern, Te’o who was superb in defence, but doesn’t create chances like in the 1st half when he slipped inside the 10M line, he should have gone right O Brien and Daly were outside him, a try opportunity gone, what a waste.
Perhaps the score could have been a little closer if the Lions took the serious chances afforded to them at the start of both halves, but as we know they didn’t. Whats even worse is that after the wonderful try scored by O Brien started by Williams, that will go down as one of the great Lions tries in, the Lions didn’t score a point for another 45 minutes compared to the All Blacks 17. You can’t afford that at this level.
Gatts has a massive job to get them mentally ready for the second test in Wellington, the pace with which the All Blacks play the game is intoxicating, the black wave just keeps coming and at times seems unstoppable, the Lions know they will have to up the intensity and try and prevent them having possession, in saying that the All Blacks will only get better especially if Smith is passed fit to return and Barrett on his home patch moves back to 10. If he had stayed at out half I fear the score difference would have been a lot bigger, such was his influence on the game.
One of the all time great Lions test matches with a try that was started in the Welsh valley’s. One that Edwards, JPR and Bennett to name but a few would have been proud of.
My 1-15 against the Hurricanes:
Marler, Best, Cole, Henderson, Lawes, Haskell, Tipuric, Stander, Davies, Russell, North, Henshaw, Payne, Seymour, Halfpenny.
Replacements: Dacey, Dell, Francis, Hill, Itoje, Webb, Biggar, Nowell.