It was one they had to win. And they did 32 -10. Mainly due to the help of Lee Halfpenny who kicked 20 points plus they were awarded a penalty try worth seven.
Their only try coming from hard-running Maro Itoje
Coach Warren Gatland must be worried about the team’s inability to score tries. And they have a way to go before they are in double figures on that count.
By contrast, the All Blacks ran in 12 tries against Samoa. The game couldn’t be considered more than a training run. But it went well. The opposition has to run the ball back to the halfway line for the kick-off pretty quickly for you to run in 12 tries in one game.
The Lions face the Chiefs midweek before the First Test against All Blacks over the weekend. Things are starting to get to the pointy end.
It was a game the Lions had to win. They are now 2-1 up with a victory over the top New Zealand Super Rugby side the Crusaders, a side whose scrum boasted a tight five of All Black standard. Owen Farrell was in fine form, kicking four penalty goals.
Which was good news and bad news. It was hardly a convincing victory but as Sean Fitzpatrick famously said after a pretty ordinary All Black victory “It’s a win, and we’ll take it.”
The Lions have only scored two tries in three games and this must be a concern for the coaching staff. Promising moves are not finished off, passes are fumbled crucial moments. In contrast, their line has been crossed four times.
Nonetheless, they will be greatly heartened by this victory and if they can secure two more victories against the Highlanders and the New Zealand Maoris, we will go into the test matches in a very strong position. Without those wins and points from tries rather than penalty goals, they will struggle against the to national side.
Last night, the British and Irish Lions went down 22-16 to the Blues at Eden Park. After a fairly unconvincing win against the Provincial Barbarians, the touring side would have been hoping for a better showing against a side that is ranked at the bottom of the Super Rugby ladder in New Zealand. There were going to be a stern test than the BaaBaas and the Lions would have been hoping to come away with a win.
But the Blues proved too strong and there was little bit of Sonny Bill Williams magic in the win. Sonny Bill is a local boy and the Eden Park crowd would have loved it
Williams has been named in the All Blacks squad and will be interesting to see if he makes the final cut. The Lions must be concerned that when they face the ABs they will be facing a backline where all the players will be of Williams’ calibre. They will also have the problem of Dane Coles playing in the outside backs if he has recovered from concussion. He weighs in at just under 110 kg.
Actually, he doesn’t really play in the outside backs, he is the hooker. It is just that he seemed to think is an outside back and plays like one as well.
His mate, lock Brodie Retallick, is a player in much the same mold just a bit bigger at 120 kg and 2m tall who also fancies himself as an outside centre.
In three days, the tourists will need to ramp up another notch when they meet the Crusaders who are unbeaten in the Super Rugby series. They are a formidable combination and would give many teams in the international competition a run for their money.
The ghost of Colonel Michael John “Mike” Campbell-Lamerton OBE must be hovering ominously in the background.