New Zealand and British and Irish Lions share series spoils
Last Updated: 08/07/17 4:22pm
Owen Farrell kicked a penalty two minutes from time as the British and Irish Lions claimed a dramatic 15-15 draw against world champions New Zealand at Eden Park.
In doing so, a pulsating Test series also ended 1-1, with one Test drawn, as both sides fought themselves to a standstill.
The All Blacks thought they had a chance to win it with just seconds left, but as Beauden Barrett lined up a kick at goal, referee Romain Poite consulted the TMO and awarded a scrum to New Zealand instead for accidental offside.
The Lions' hopes of series glory on New Zealand soil for a first time since 1971 were ultimately thwarted by an All Blacks side that made it 40 Tests unbeaten at Eden Park.
The Lions were forewarned as to what was coming as the All Blacks laid down the challenge with an intense Kapa O Pango haka. However knowing what was coming and dealing with it are two different matters as the visitors were on the ropes from the whistle.
The All Blacks looked to run the Lions off the park - controlling the pace and tempo while looking to get wide at every opportunity.
And the initial All Blacks onslaught continued as they probed deep inside Lions territory before the tourists broke free and should have scored following sustained pressure, but Farrell's pass was intercepted and it took brilliant defensive work from Jonathan Davies and Liam Williams to snuff out the attack.
New Zealand, though, were in no mood to waste the opportunity and they struck through a 15th-minute try after Barrett's cross-kick found his brother Jordie, who tapped possession back inside and Laumape finished off.
Barrett's conversion made it 7-0 and it was a nervy opening from the Lions, not helped by Farrell's error-strewn first quarter, before he kicked an angled penalty to open their account.
A second Farrell penalty narrowed the gap eight minutes before half-time before fly-half Johnny Sexton went down clutching his left ankle and was only able to continue following lengthy treatment.
There was still time, though, for New Zealand to strike again as Laumape's brilliant off-load to his midfield partner Anton Lienert-Brown caused sufficient havoc before Jordie Barrett finished superbly on an arcing run.
Beauden Barrett missed the conversion, yet the Lions - given they had struggled for much of the opening 40 minutes - would have settled for only a six-point interval deficit, even if New Zealand had lost only one of 58 previous Eden Park Tests when leading at half-time.
The Lions made a dream start to the half when Daly, renowned for a mighty left boot, duly obliged by kicking a penalty from 52 metres out.
And they were further helped 10 minutes into the half when All Blacks flanker Jerome Kaino caught Alun Wyn Jones in the face with his arm and Poite showed him a yellow card after consulting television replays.
Farrell's third successful penalty levelled the game with 20 minutes left, raising hopes of a famous win and setting up a pulsating closing quarter as both coaches began unloading their replacements' benches.
And it was one of the Lions substitutes, Kyle Sinckler, who infringed 12 minutes from time, collapsing a scrum to allow Beauden Barrett to nudge the All Blacks back in front, which proved an advantage the Lions could not claw back until Farrell struck as the clock ticked down.
The All Blacks had one final roll of the dice to win the game after that penalty was rescinded but the Lions defence held strong and the spoils were shared.
Man of the match
After being on the ropes for most of the first half, the Lions were slowly inching their way back into this game. The All Blacks went down to 14 men after Jerome Kaino was yellow-carded on the 50th minute mark after a high tackle on Alun Wyn Jones. The Lions looked to have blown their chances to make the most of the extra-man but Owen Farrell nailed a penalty to level the game and once the Lions were level, the All Blacks could just not shake them.
With two minutes remaining it looked like New Zealand had won a penalty from the restart. However Poite double checked with the TMO and downgraded it to an accidental offside and instead of having a shot at goal to win the game, it was a scrum instead.
It was a heroic performance from both sides who threw everything into this game. Some great displays from Jonathan Davies and Maro Itoje for the Lions while the fabulous Barrett brothers and Brodie Retallick shone for the All Blacks. The Lions were written off with some questioning the future of the Lions, but the tour has highlighted the importance and the spirit of a British and Irish Lions tour.
It's tough to find anything bad about a game that kept us on the edge of our seats.The All Blacks finishing was not up to the usual standards but they still scored a couple of great tries. If pushed for the bad well, it has to be the result. While neither side deserved to lose that game, a draw will not feel right for any of the players who gave their all tonight.
Tweet of the game