Even the British press, who could be pretty sore losers particularly during Richie McCaw’s era, gave credit.
The Telegraph: It was that the outcome had a sense of inevitability about it. This was a lap of deep reflection for the Lions. The honour belonged to the All Blacks. The Lions had been given a master-class in finishing.
The Independent: New Zealand taught the British and Irish Lions a lesson in clinical finishing as they won the first encounter of their three-Test series 30-15.
The Guardian: Perhaps most worrying for the visitors was how they were tactically unpicked by an All Black pack they had hoped to dominate. A 3-0 blackwash is now a looming possibility.
There was generally acknowledgement from a large number of people who know rugby well See more comments
It wasn’t a particularly beautiful game to watch. More of a slugfest between the forward packs but it was a slugfest that the All Blacks won and laid to rest the idea that the Northern Hemisphere forward packs are in some way superior to those of the Hemisphere. It was a demonstration that the All Blacks can play whatever style of rugby they choose and still beat the best in the world.
It is likely that coach Steve Hansen will come away with a long list of improvements for the second test. He won’t be happy with the way the runaway try that was scored and the way in which the Lions’ backs tore holes in the AB’s defence on a number of occasions.
It was ironic that the Lions were at their most dangerous playing style appropriate that the All Blacks are most famous for: throwing the ball wide to hard running forward and backs.
Expect the All Blacks to lift their game in the second test. There is certainly room for improvement and they will know it. The question is whether the Lions will be able to lift theirs to match them.