Belfast Telegraph

Iain's yellow fever casts shadow over a super display

Hurricanes 31 Lions 31

By Jack de Menezes

He was the best player on the pitch, but a moment of ill-discipline and the pre-determined plans of Warren Gatland suggest that Iain Henderson will have to wait another week at least to become a Test Lion.

Gatland is in need of second-rows after his starting pair put in a woeful performance in the face of All Black fury last Saturday, but with Maro Itoje set to step up, the question is whether George Kruis survives and if there is a bench spot to be won.

Both of yesterday's starting locks, Henderson and Courtney Lawes, had chances of promotion, but when it was the Northampton Saint who was called ashore early in the second half, it was clear that he was ahead of the Ulsterman, who had been in impressive form.

When Henderson tipped Jordie Barrett over with the help of Jonathan Joseph in a ruck clear-out eerily reminiscent of the one that ended Brian O'Driscoll's tour 12 years ago and saw yellow, his Test chances receded further.

While he was off the pitch, the Hurricanes scored 14 unanswered points to level matters and, while his return stopped the rot, it was clear that Gatland was less than impressed.

"He carried fantastically well," the coach said. "It was a big moment in the game with his yellow card. It was a penalty to us which ends up being a penalty reversed and a yellow card and that's the game."

Henderson played a large part in putting his side in a winning position, creating a try for George North with his sleight of hand and carrying the game to the Super Rugby champions at every opportunity.

He was disappointed to have his night marred by the sin-binning.

"It was definitely an enjoyable game to play in, for the 70 minutes I played, but that yellow was frustrating," he said.

"It was stupid and probably a little bit of mistimed rucking, I would describe it as. It was definitely hard for me sitting there and watching those 10 minutes, and putting the guys in that tough position.

"However, we came back at the end there and we were trying to put a bit of pressure on there, but that's the way it goes, isn't it?"

It was an entertaining game that swung from end to end with the Lions establishing a strong early lead through Tommy Seymour's try and the boot of Dan Biggar, but they were pegged back by Callum Gibbins' try.

North's effort, thanks to Henderson's quick thinking, gave them a half-time cushion, but a brilliant try fron Ngani Laumape closed the gap on the resumption.

Strong work from the Ulster second-row helped the tourists into a position of dominance as Seymour scored a second, but a moment of madness saw him tip the younger brother of Beauden Barrett over and the 'Canes scored twice while he was off through Wes Goosen and Vaea Fifita to level matters.

Robbie Henshaw is set to be ruled out with a shoulder injury he picked up during the first half and Ulster's Jared Payne was a late withdrawal prior to kick-off because of headaches.

Hurricanes: Jordie Barrett; Nehe Milner-Skudder, Vince Aso, Ngani Laumape, Julian Savea (Cory Jane 69); Otere Black (Wes Goosen 62), Te Toirora-Tahuriorangi (Kemara Hauiti-Parapara 62); Ben May (Chris Eves 57), Ricky Riccitelli (Leni Apisai 62), Jeffery Toomaga-Allen; Mark Abbott, Sam Lousi; Vaea Fifita, Callum Gibbins, Brad Shields (Reed Prinsep 57).

Replacements not used: Mike Kainga.

Scorers: Tries: Gibbins, Lauampe, Goosen, Fifita; Cons: J. Barrett 4; Pens: J. Barrett.

British and Irish Lions: Jack Nowell; Tommy Seymour, Jonathan Joseph, Robbie Henshaw (Leigh Halfpenny 19), George North; Dan Biggar, Greig Laidlaw; Joe Marler, Rory Best, Dan Cole; Iain Henderson, Courtney Lawes (George Kruis 54), James Haskell, Justin Tipuric, CJ Stander.

Replacements not used: Kristian Dacey, Allan Dell, Tomas Francis, Cory Hill, Gareth Davies, Finn Russell.

Scorers: Tries: Seymour 2, North; Cons: Biggar 2; Pens: Biggar 4.

Belfast Telegraph

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