Having started well the Lions will be singing the blues in Auckland tonight, after a dismal second half performance, the Lions tried to build phase after phase across the field compared to the width and ball speed the Blues adopted with the Lions so condensed an compact the Blues had numerous chances and could have been well out in front only for some handling errors. The pressure speed and intensity in which the Blues played made the Lions give away penalties discipline from here on is key to be in with any chance of winning a game never mind a test. But in saying that I was pleased enough with the first half especially the Lions driving maul for CJ’s try.
Jack Nowell played himself off the test side as did Haskell and Rory Best with that throw on the Blues 5M line, even when the Blues didn’t contest the lineout it still ended up in the hands of a Blues player. I would have to question the naming of Payne in the centre, he didn’t look fit and eventually went off injured.
Second half leadership on and off the field has to be questioned in that the Lions couldn’t create an attacking platform, scoring only 1 try in the game isn’t good enough, relying on the boot of Halfpenny won’t win a test match. I genuinely can’t see where the platform for an attacking game will come from, the All Blacks can see this too and will be making plans to ensure they play “catholic rugby” Sexton and Biggar were poor, Farrell has to start at 10 against Crusaders.
The pack were excellent in set plays but looked lost in open play, Itoje and Lawes did well as did CJ, McGrath and Tupric but mainly in the first half. Webb looked sharp as did Daly the remaining backs were poor especially in defence. The Blues took their chances where the Lions didn’t, this has to be addressed by Gatland and co.
A superb try by West following two terrific off-loads, first Luatua and then Sonny Bill was a fitting way to seal a memorable victory. Special mention to 20-year-old Blues out half Stephen Perofeta, yet another 10 with a terrific future, that rolls off the never ending New Zealand conveyor belt, that produces endless talent.
The Blues are probably the weakest franchise in New Zealand, up next are the unbeaten Crusaders, my starting 15 for this game are 1-15 : Vunipolo George Sinckler AWJ Kruis Moriarty O Brien Faletu Murray Farrell North Te’o Davies Seymour Williams.