While the All Blacks’ loss to the Lions in the second test in Wellington was disappointing, to say the least, the stage is now set for an epic battle at the third test in Auckland, and makes it more likely that the four-nation army will invade our shores again in the future.
Before the All Blacks went down 21-24 on Saturday night New Zealand tours were seen to be too far, too hard and – most critically – too predictable in their outcome. No Lions team has won a test series here in the past 46 years.
During this tour, many words have been penned about the wisdom, and indeed the point, of putting together Lions teams with little preparation time to face the best of New Zealand rugby.
But now the touring team has risen above that and beyond the other disadvantages of a crowded 10-match touring schedule at the end of a long plane journey and their punishing northern hemisphere playing season.
The touring Lions fans, who have invested considerable amounts of time and money to come half-way across the world, will feel they have received a dividend from their victory on Saturday night. If the Lions win next week at Eden Park, they will feel they have hit the jackpot.
Well, good luck to them – and go the All Blacks.