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About Me:18-year-old sixth form student, studying English Literature, History and Government and Politics. My articles will broadly cover topics from the current affairs of politics to reviews of books and albums, as well as adding my own creative pieces, whether it be short fiction or general opinion.
So, the Lions tour to New Zealand is over. Who won? Well, no one and everyone. In a peculiar turn of events that no one predicted, the series finished a draw at 15-15. A rather deflated air pervaded Eden Park stadium upon the final whistle of Romain Poite – all the build-up, all the epic phases of play, all the twelve years of waiting, all the blood sweat and tears for the result to end just as the tour began. This enervation was not exclusive to just those sitting amongst the stands; player after player including Sam Warburton, Kieran Read (both whom, incidentally, were paragons of the spirit of the sport and true leaders of their respective teams) and Maro Itoje appeared in front of the microphone post-match with a surreal bemusement at their inner discord. Such is a testament to the frequent binary of win/lose within rugby with such a reaction, something which just cannot be said for the likes of football.
If you were to have read my last three articles, you would have realised the anticipation that was forthcoming in the lead up to this test match. The All Blacks had lost on home soil, which, to the all of New Zealand can only be likened to that of sacrilege – only a sacrifice was to cleanse the team, and they were baying for Lion blood. This was evident from the moment the whistle blew. But the Lions expected to the so-called ‘Black-lash’; by living in the country for nearly seven weeks come today, it was clear that the religious attitude towards rugby in New Zealand had been soaked up by the tourists. No doubt they genuinely believed that they could climb their ‘Everest’, as Jim Telfer famously named it in the 1997 tournament, they had the look of a team that knew that they could topple the seemingly impregnable throne of world rugby.
And they responded as such. As with the previous two tests, the Lions carried the ball well, making good ground over the gainline and allowing the orchestrating of Owen Farrell, Johnny Sexton and Connor Murray to set off the blistering back three. The momentum was shifting towards the Lions favour at around the eleven minute mark until a poorly executed pass from Farrell – whose tour hasn’t been at its expected immaculate – was intercepted by the ever-aware Beauden Barrett who then set off Laumape. It looked as if the pendulum had swung away from the tourists had it not been for great scrambling defence by Liam Williams, who has also had a rather tumultuous tour, and Jonathan Davies, a player on scintillating form. Alas, the All Blacks did not let this slip of an advantage go to waste. Shortly after, the two Barrett brothers – Beauden at fly-half and Jordie at full-back – combined via a trademark crossfield kick to set up the oncoming Laumape for a wondrous Hurricanes-inspired try.
A word on the two brothers (or the three if you include their other brother, the lock Scott Barrett).
Image Credits: bbc.co.uk