Epic Lions, All Blacks se­ries ends in sen­sa­tional draw

Lions, All Blacks se­ries ends in sen­sa­tional draw

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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.”


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.


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.

— AP

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.

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