Epic Lions, All Blacks series ends in sensational draw
Lions, All Blacks series ends in sensational draw
Owen Farrell scored a longrange penalty three minutes from time as the British and Irish Lions drew 15-15 with the All Blacks to tie a series for only the second time in their history yesterday. New Zealand, who haven’t lost at Eden Park for 23 years, were aggrieved when a lastminute penalty for offside within kicking range was overruled after a video review.
All Blacks fullback Jordie Barrett, in his first Test start, set up one try and scored another in the opening half, in what were to be the third and final Test’s only tries. It was 12-12 with 20 minutes left before a Beauden Barrett penalty restored the All Blacks’ lead-only for Farrell to knock one over from 48 metres to make it 15-15 on 77 minutes.
Farrell finished the night with 12 points from four penalty kicks, while Elliott Daly also booted a huge effort from his own half for the Lions just after half-time. Warren Gatland’s Lions, who were given no chance against the world champions early in their tour, can feel vindicated with the series result, although neither side was entirely happy.
In 129 years of touring, it was the Lions’ first drawn series against New Zealand, and only the second in their history after they finished 2-2 against South Africa in 1955.
“It’s come down to the wire and we’ve ended up with one hand on the trophy each which is a bit like kissing your sister,” said All Blacks coach Steve Hansen. “As little kids we are told to take the good with the bad and we have to do that,” he added, referring to the late penalty reversal.
“It’s a decision the ref has made and we will live with it.”
‘READY FOR EXTRA TIME’
Lions captain Sam Warburton, who lifted the trophy with his opposite number Kieran Read, said: “I’m not sure what to make of that really-I was getting ready for extra time.” The All Blacks bossed the first half and they led 12-6 at the break, but the Lions struck back with two penalties from Daly and Farrell to level the scores at 12-12.
In a frantic final 20 minutes, the All Blacks regained the lead after Wyatt Crockett forced a scrum collapse, allowing Beauden Barrett to put them ahead 15-12 with the penalty. But their slim lead evaporated on 77 minutes when Farrell, also the Lions’ hero in last week’s 24-21 victory when he kicked the winning points, landed another crucial penalty.
The All Blacks, 30-15 winners in the first Test, were clearly stung by losing the second Test last week in Wellington, and they began the match at a furious pace. After a helter-skelter opening 10 minutes, Daly beat Israel Dagg in the air to take the Lions up to the New Zealand line, only for the two rookie All Blacks to turn defence into points. An intercept by Jordie Barrett set Laumape racing 80 metres before he was cut down from behind by Jonathan Davies. From a resulting scrum, Beauden Barrett kicked across field for his brother Jordie to leap high and instinctively palm the ball back to Laumape for the opening try.
‘IT’S A FUNNY ONE’
The Lions replied with a penalty to Farrell, but their time in All Blacks territory was limited and it was only poor handling by the New Zealanders that eased the pressure on the tourists. When the Lions did get within striking range they made it count, with Farrell adding a second penalty to close within one point before Jordie Barrett scored the All Blacks’ second try.
In the countdown to half-time, Brodie Retallick won an untidy lineout and the All Blacks went wide for Barrett to score in space on the right. A third penalty to the Lions, this time a 52-metre shot from Daly, lifted the Lions at the start of the second half, and Farrell’s third successful kick, also from distance, put them level with 20 minutes remaining. Barrett stroked the All Blacks back in front 15-12 with 13 minutes left, before Farrell levelled the scores for the final time, ultimately squaring what was a riveting series.
In the final minute, the All Blacks won a penalty within range for a Ken Owens offside, only for referee Romain Poite to rule the offence accidental and reduce the punishment to a scrum. The All Blacks said they would question the match officials over their controversial change of heart, while Gatland praised his captain Sam Warburton for helping persuade Poite to look at the video replay. “We’re accepting of whatever decisions were made and whether we agree with them or not is something we’ll do our talking to the referees about,” said Hansen.
AUCKLAND: New Zealand second row forward Sam Whitelock takes lineup ball during the third and final rugby Test between the British and Irish Lions and the All Blacks at Eden Park in Auckland, New Zealand, yesterday.