Belfast Telegraph

All Blacks 30-15 British and Irish Lions: Clinical New Zealand punish patchy Lions

Have a look at plenty of match reaction in our blog as the Lions digest defeat in Auckland

By Gareth Hanna

New Zealand romped to victory 30-15 in the first test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland.

In the end, a couple of missed opportunities from flowing Lions breaks combined with two lapses in concentration at the other end cost the Tourists dear.

In patches, they looked all but unstoppable going forward - most notably for Sean O'Brien's 35th minute try which will go down as one of the great Lions' scores. However, it wouldn't contribute to a great day for the side as they failed to replicate that score despite brilliant breaks at the start of both halves.

Jonathan Davies got away in just the second minute and fed Conor Murray but the Lions couldn't make a hole in the defence into a try. At the other end, New Zealand did just that for Codie Taylor's opening score. It added to a Beauden Barrett penalty and successful conversion for a 10-0 All Blacks lead.

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It looked a long way back for the Lions until Sean O'Brien put the finishing touches on a brilliant break. Liam Williams evaded Kieran Read and galloped clear to begin a phase of perfect passing that ended in O'Brien's try. A missed conversion but it left the Lions trailing just 13-8 at half-time after Barrett and Owen Farrell had earlier traded penalties.

The Lions picked up where they had left off at the start of the second half with a couple of lightning breaks. Most notable was Anthony Watson's weaving run that tied the All Blacks in knots but again the finishing touches were lacking.

And after that, the hosts were brutally punishing. Two tries from Rieko Ioane and another seven points from Barrett's boot and all hope, and optimism was gone.

However, some heart remained as to their eternal credit, the Lions didn't throw in the towel and gave themselves a final nugget to cling to heading into the second test as Rhys Webb touched down and Farrell converted for 30-15.

Overall, the Lions showed glimpses of promise, but more consistency and a killer instinct will be required next week.

Belfast Telegraph Digital


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