All Blacks 15 - 15 Lions, third test: as it happened, match report
The British and Irish Lions could not quite condemn New Zealand to a first tour defeat since 1971. Owen Farrell kicked 12 points, with Elliot Daly also converting.NFL Live: All the scores, injuries and action from week 2
There was a feeling of anti-climax as the Lions players shoved the ball in to touch deep in their own territory, to end the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour as a draw. Warren Gatland's team came within a whisker of becoming the first cohort to secure a series victory over New Zealand since 1971.
Yet, despite the flat ending, it was a monumental effort from the visitors. They came in to the tour against all-conquering New Zealand with little hope of avoiding defeat. At the end of the final test in Auckland, they were disappointed to miss out on victory. Neither side will be overjoyed with the outcome, but it has been a thrilling series.
The Lions, roared on by a vast clan of travelling supporters, named an unchanged from the second test match in Wellington. Steve Hansen rung the changes for New Zealand, bringing in rookies Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape.
Hansen's boldness was soon vindicated. On 14 minutes, the two combined to open the scoring. Jordie Barrett rose above Elliot Daly to pat down a cross-kick for Laumape, who crashed over the line in the corner.
The Lions edged their way back in to contention via the trusty boot of Owen Farrell. The Saracens man struck two penalties through the posts to bring the away team within one point of the All Blacks.
But in a game that ebbed and flowed throughout, New Zealand moved back ahead. This time, Jordie Barrett was the try-scorer. His namesake, Beauden, dragged the conversion wide, but the hosts went in to half time with a 12-6 advantage.
Faced with the All Blacks' formidable record in Auckland, they have not lost there since 1994, the Lions needed an early break, and it arrived right at the start of the second half as Elliot Daly struck a long-range penalty from beyond the half-way line.
Jerome Kaino was shown a yellow card after 50 minutes for a high tackle on Alun Wyn-Jones, who stumbled to his feet blinking like a dazed cow.
As the match edged towards the final whistle, there was a sense that an epic series would be treated to an epic conclusion. It was not to be, but the Lions can be proud of a series in which they pushed the best side in the world every step of the way.
New Zealand v Lions live stream: preview
The British and Irish Lions will take to the pitch for this decisive third test match with history firmly against them. The All Blacks, who could justafiably be called the greatest sports team in history, have not lost at Eden Park since 1994, and have not been defeated by a touring Lions side for 46 years. Yet within Warren Gatland's Lions camp, there is a cautious optimism that this could be the match to shatter the records.
The series is finely poised at one apiece. New Zealand won the first test 30-15 in Auckland. In the second meeting in Wellington, the Lions scraped to a 21-24 victory in a match marred by Sonny Bill Williams' first-half red card.
All Blacks: team news
All Blacks coach Steve Hanson has made changes from the team that fell to defeat in Wellington. Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett come in to the back line. Both are making their full debuts, and the latter offers goal-kicking support to Beauden Barrett, who was shaky last time out.
That change will see Israel Dagg switch to the right wing, with Julian Savea coming in to provide extra physicality on the left.
Yet, despite the fact that two rookies are making their debuts, there is still plenty of experience in this All Blacks side. Captain Kieran Read is set to make his 100th appearance in Auckland.
Steve Hanson was in a philosophical mood ahead of the match: "We could win, lose or draw, but we will be a better team for it."
All Blacks XV: Jordie Barrett, Israel Dagg, Anton Lienert-Brown, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea, Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith, Kieran Read (captain), Sam Cane, Jerome Kaino, Sam Whitelock, Brodie Retallick, Owen Franks, Codie Taylor, Joe Moody.
Substitutes: Nathan Harris, Wyatt Crockett, Charlie Faumuina, Scott Barrett, Ardie Savea, TJ Perenara, Aaron Cruden, Malakai Fekitoa.
Lions: team news
Warren Gatland has named the same side that won in Wellington, the first time since 1993 that the Lions have lined up with the same team in consecutive test matches.
That means Jonny Sexton and Owen Farrell will keep their 10-12 partnershup.
Gatland is well aware of the opportunity his team has: “It is their chance to make Lions history. We are all aware of how big this game is and we are expecting a backlash from the All Blacks. But the pleasing thing about the second Test is just how strong we were in the last 10 or 15 minutes in terms of energy and enthusiasm. We still feel there is another level in us.”
Lions XV: Williams, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Davies, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly, Jonathan Sexton, Conor Murray, Taulupe Faletau, Sean O’Brien, Sam Warburton (captain), Alun Wyn Jones, Maro Itoje, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie George, Mako Vunipola.
Substitutes: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Courtney Lawes, CJ Stander, Rhys Webb, Ben Te’o, Jack Nowell.
All Blacks v Lions live stream online: odds and betting
The tourists are at 17/2 to win by between 1 and 5 points.