All Blacks 15 - Lions 15: match report
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.
All Blacks 15 - 15 Lions: as it happened
81' Full time. Jordie Barrett is forced in to touch and the series ends as a draw.
80' We're in to overtime.
79' Dagg waits for the cross-kick... but Webb whips the ball away from the base of the scrum and gallops forward. He offloads, and the ball is knocked on. Another scrum to the home side. This is incredibly, incredibly tense.
79' Short-lived jubilation for the Lions. They concede a penalty in their own 22, and subject to TMO confirmation, the All Blacks will have a very kickable penalty chance. The referee is explaining things to the captains - an accidental offside. It'll just be a scrum to New Zealand.
78' Farrell sends it through! It crept over the crossbar, but they all count and the touch judges raise their flags.
77' Lions penalty on the half way line, All Blacks forwards were fiddling in the ruck. A golden chance for Farrell to draw the tourists level.
76' That scrum turns in to a penalty for the Lions, which Farrell sends in to touch in the All Blacks' half.
74' Israel Dagg knocks forward in the breakdown, giving the Lions a scrum in their own 22 and a chance to get up the pitch.
73' Liam Williams agonisingly knocks the ball forward on the edge of his own 22, after Smith had popped a box-kick over the top of the ruck. All Blacks scrum.
72' New Zealand have the momentum as we move in to the final knockings of the 2017 Lions Tour.
69' The Lions set piece is creaking... Jamie George throws a line-out that is nowhere near straight. It's vital to 'do the basics right' at this stage, a cliche I know.
69' Webb on for Murray at scrum half.
68' Barrett adds three points, no problem. The All Blacks edge back in to the lead.
67' New Zealand penalty, right in front of the posts. Lions front row adjudged to have collapsed the scrum.
67' Warburton jogs down the tunnel. Jones is his replacement.
67' Fekitoa is on for Laumape.
66' Cracking defence from Toby Faletau, who dispossesses Beauden Barrett with a bear-hug. The Lions have a scrum in their own 22.
64' Superb take from Jordie Barrett, and an even better grubber from Beauden, which bobbles out of play deep inside the Lions' 22. The line-out holds firm and Murray clears with a box-kick.
63' A good spell of Lions possession comes to and end in the All Blacks' 22, as Courtney Lawes fumbles the ball in the tackle. The Lions are looking physically stronger at the moment.
61' From the restart, Scott Barrett claims his brother, Beauden's, kick. New Zealand waste that possession with a knock-on, and the Lions have the put-in just inside their own half.
60' Farrell strokes it over. All level at 12-12 in Auckland with 20 minutes to go.
59' The Lions will have a penalty just inside the All Blacks' half after a high tackle from Retallik. Farrell is over it, aiming for the posts.
58' New Zealand get a lucky break as Daly fumbles Dagg's clearance in to touch.
56' Good pressure from Davies, who is back on, forces Jordie Barrett to kick out on the full. The Lions win the line-out just outside the 22 and begin to break over the gain line.
53' Anthony Watson flicks a neat off-load to Williams, but it is adjudged to have gone forward. New Zealand scrum just outside their own 22. The first one collapses, so they will squat down and try again.
52' Elliot Daly hangs up a garryowen that comes down with snow on it. Jordie Barrett meets it on the volley, allowing the Lions to retain possession.
50' Kaino is shown a yellow for that tackle. He's spared a red because the officials deemed it to be a genuine tackle attempt.
50' Alun Wym-Jones looks a bit dazed, after Kaino flew in to him with a high tackle. He's blinking like a confused cow. TMO is viewing the incident.
49' Cruden and Te'o on, Davies and Sexton off. Farrell switched to fly half.
47' Faletau plucks the ball from the base of the scrum, on half way, but he holds on to the ball for too long and the All Blacks force a turnover in the tackle, before winning a scrum of their own.
44' New Zealand will have a line-out well within mauling-distance of the try line. The home side won a penalty on the half way line, and Barrett's kick is inch-perfect. They form the maul before shipping the ball out to the backs. Savea looks set to steam over the line, but the pass out to him was forward. Lions scrum.
41' Back underway, and the Lions almost immediately win a penalty. Elliot Daly will hoof for three points from inside his own half... and it has the legs! Cracking effort from the Wasps man,
A change for the Lions, with Stander replacing O'Brien on the openside flank.
The moment when Laumape crashed over to put the first points on the board.
At half time, Steve Hansen's decision to hand starts to rookies Jordie Barrett and Laumape appear vindicated. They have scored a try each.
40' Half time as Watson tackles Jordie Barrett out of touch.
36' New Zealand try! Jordie Barrett! Retallik claims and line-out and breaks through the line. When hauled to a stop, the backs get their hands on it. Lienert-Brown is aware of the overlap, and sets up Barrett for a straighforward finish. His namesake Beauden drags the conversion wide.
34' The Lions begin a nice fews phases after Watson claims Sexton's up-and-under. A decent chance went begging as Davies couldn't quite gather Farrell's offload in the tackle. The Lions go on to concede a penalty on the New Zealand 22. Kieran Read, on the day of his 100th cap, gives a mini pep talk before Barrett boots in to touch.
32' It's straight and true from Farrell! 7-6.
29' The Lions win a penalty, and as the All Blacks are taking on water, they look set for a sneaky counter-attack. But Watson slips on the turf and the momentum wanes. Yet the All Blacks concede a penalty on the 22 and Farrell will send the ball towards goal.
29' Several red-shirted players attempt to tackle Julian Savea at shoulder height. Unsurprisingly, they're left red-faced as he nonchalently shrugs them off.
28' Lienert-Brown knocks on in the Lions 22. The referee plays advantage, and Sexton kicks in to touch after the visitors had initially tried to pass their way out of trouble.
25' Liam Williams juggles a high ball under pressure. It initially looked like he had caught it cleanly, but as the challenge comes in and he tries to squirm away, the ball slips out of his grasp. All Blacks scrum on the left, just outside the Lions 22.
23' The New Zealand scrum do their job, the backs don't. An almighty heave from the pack forces a turnover, before Beauden Barrett knocks the ball on in the subsequent phase. The next scrum collapses, the Lions win a penalty, and have a chance to clear.
22' Julian 'The Bus' Savea living up to his billing on the left wing, barging through Farrell after claiming a cross-kick. A combination of Watson and Davies just about pull him to a halt. Play pauses as Vunipola receives treatment. He's one of three players in the Lions team born in New Zealand, along with Payne and Te'o. We shall restart with a Lions scrum, inside their own 22.
21' Farrell eye-balls the posts, and strokes the ball straight through the middle of them. The gap reduces to four points.
19' The ball breaks out to Sexton, who loops an up-and-under towards the posts. Israel Dagg leaps, claims, calls his mark, but we go back for a penalty. Owen Farrell to kick for three points from just inside the 22.
18' The Lions gain possession on half way through Itoje. After several phases with the chunky lads of the front row, the ball comes out to the backs. Davies pokes a grubber for Liam Williams and Daly to chase, but Dagg blocks off the former. The referee talks to the TMO once again, and there will just be a line out for the Lions, deep inside the All Blacks' 22. The visitors win it and form a maul.
After a brief chat with the TMO, the try is definitively awarded. Barrett prepares himself... and converts. A 7-0 lead for New Zealand.
14' New Zealand try! Jordie Barrett knocks down a Beauden Barrett cross-kick in to the path of Laumape, who steams over the line. Beauden Barrett now stands over the conversion, which is far from straightforward.
12' The Lions edge closer to the try line. Neat one-two between Itoje and Daly out on the wing. But Dagg intercepts and set Laumate free. Jonathan Davies just about sprints back to catch him in the 22, and Anthony Watson was there to collect his offload. Breathless stuff.
10' Maro Itoje grabs the ball on the interception, as Sam Whitelock looked to shift the ball quickly around the Lions 22. That gives the Lions a chance to counter-attack and stretch their legs.
8' Domination from the All Blacks in the early stages. Julian Savea fumbled Jordie Barrett's pass when in a good position. Scrum to the home side on the Lions' 22.
3' Blimey, Barrett carries his shaky kicking form from last week in to today's match. He skews that well wide. An early let-off for the Lions, and a reminder that they will need to retain their discipline better than in the second test.
2' First penalty to New Zealand after a Sam Warburton foul. Beauden Barrett with an early chance for three points, about 40 metres out.
1' And off we go in Auckland!
It's Haka time...
Steve Hansen searching for some perspective: "I've heard a lot of stories this week that you'd think the All Blacks have never lost a game and the sky's fallen in."
Warren Gatland: "People expected us to come here and kick the leather off it, drive every single lineout and try and scrummage people to death. We haven't done that. We've played a good brand of rugby and people have been surprised."
Romain Poite will referee the match today. Following Steve Hansen's comments about the refereeing last week, the spotlight will be on him a little bit more than it otherwise would have been. Learn a little more about the French official.
There are so many excellent features to this phototgraph. I'm not sure where to look...
Sir Ian McGeechan is back in the broadcasting groove for Sky Sports. 'Geech' was taken to hospital just before the second test after collapsing, so it's fantastic to see him back up and running.
This is a fascinating insight from Nick Evans, the Kiwi fly-half who retired this summer after a decade at Harlequins, on just how much this means to the All Blacks. 'Defeat is not an option' is rather cliched, but it appears to apply.
Rob Howley, the Lions backs coach, is well aware of the strong position the tourists find themselves in: “We have got to the point now where we are saying: ‘Wow, we are in a good place and looking to challenge the best side in world rugby. As a coach and a player you are going to be so excited … it is the ultimate challenge of creating history. That’s what we’ve got to look forward to.”
Lions coach Warren Gatland believes that his side have the capacity to go up a gear and that is precisely what he wants to see them do against the All Blacks tomorrow. "We have got another level in us, and it's incredibly exciting; We think this team has got better and better and will get better on Saturday. I think you should all be excited about what should be one hell of a Test match because this is the chance to do something special".
British and Irish Lions skipper Sam Warburton has reason to look forward to tomorrow's clash at Auckland's Eden Park. Injury forced him to sit out the 2013 series win over Australia in Sydney and he told the BBC he has been waiting a long time for this moment. "For me four years ago does feel like unfinished business because I was gutted I could not play that third game - even though I was over the moon and it was a career highlight to win, you still, as a player want to be involved in that and have your small contribution to the game. So for the past four years in the back of my mind I have set my sights on this tour and I wanted to be in the Test team and play in the last game."
Good afternoon from a stormy Madrid, where we are starting a gentle build-up to the third test match of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour. Scroll down for a preview of this winner-takes-all clash, including the team news.
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.