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All square after Eden Park draw

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Lynn McConnell     08 Jul 2017     Getty Images

It was an absorbing contest played out in front of a crowd of 48,609 in perfect conditions and a demonstration of why Lions tours are so important not only to New Zealand but to world rugby in general.

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The game was notable for the intensity of the contest rather than the dominance of either side, although the All Blacks scored two tries, to Test newcomers Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape who were supposed to be the All Blacks' weak links, without answer.

Their two first half tries proved vital as the Lions stayed in touch with penalty goals in a Test match that was fully representational of the closeness throughout.

In a game notable for the stern defence from both teams the power of the All Blacks' scrum was vital, producing a tighthead while also putting Lions hooker Jamie George under sufficient pressure to concede two vital not straight throws.

It was the All Blacks who more often looked like scoring tries but the Lions' defence, and a forward pass and knock-on, with the line open on both occasions, denied the home team more points.

The All Blacks created more opportunities and who were able to finish with most tries 5-4 in the series, having repeated the Lions' feat of last week by keeping them tryless.

A 76th minute penalty goal from 48m by second five-eighths Owen Farrell, who landed four on the night, levelled the scores but from the restart Lions replacement hooker Ken Owens was ruled accidentally offside. But the All Blacks set the scrum 30m out from the line. The All Blacks butchered the scrum and had to reset when the Lions knocked on just inside their half.
The All Blacks ran the ball back and Jordie Barrett, now playing on the wing, had a snipe along the touchline but was grounded just short with the full-time siren having sounded.

Making an early impression, the All Blacks got some strong tackles in and looked to take the ball to the line, but it was the Lions who made significant ground from a high ball which was taken by wing Elliott Daly. That set a string of attempts to move the ball either side but in possibly their best chance Jordie Barrett was able to take an intercept.




While not as fast off the mark as his brother he still made good ground before finding Laumape in support. Play got close to the Lions line and from a ruck left wing Julian Savea made a strong run and from the set up the ball was moved to first five-eighths Beauden Barrett who lobbed a kick towards the right sideline.

Jordie Barrett got up and knocked the ball back for Laumape to score in the corner in the 14th minute.

While the Lions got back in touch through two Farrell penalty goals, the intensity of the defence was taking its toll. Both sides were putting in some heavy tackles. But just after Farrell's second New Zealand won a lineout when lock Brodie Retallick didn't have to leave the ground to secure the ball and charge into a big gap.

The ball was moved quickly to the left where Laumape got through the defence and passed to centre Anton Lienert-Brown and he had time to throw the perfect pass to Jordie Barrett who was able to run across unchallenged for New Zealand to take a 12-6 lead to the half-time break.
The Lions did have a chance from a kick to the corner but No.8 Taulupe Faletau was ruled off-side and New Zealand cleared.

The Lions had their best chance from the movement which saw Jordie Barrett's intercept while the All Blacks missed two chances, one when Savea was unable to hold Jordie Barrett's pass deep in the Lions 22 while from a tighthead in front of the Lions' posts, halfback Aaron Smith's pass was too hard to Beauden Barrett and it was dropped.

New Zealand started the second half with a bad mistake when Beauden Barrett's re-start failed to go 10m and from an infringement wing Elliott Daly landed a 52m penalty goal.

The All Blacks won a penalty soon after and Barrett kicked to the corner for a lineout but in the resulting move, Jordie Barrett's pass to Savea was forward with the line wide open.

In the 49th minute, Kaino was ruled to have had an arm in the face in a double tackle with Sam Whitelock on lock Alun Wyn-Jones and was sin-binned. All that the Lions could claim however was a Farrell penalty goal which levelled the scored as 12-12 when Retallick was penalised for a high tackle.

Barrett landed a 66th minute penalty from a scrum collapse by the Lions in front of their posts.

Scorers: New Zealand 15 (Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett tries; Beauden Barrett con, pen) British & Irish Lions 15 (Owen Farrell 4 pen; Elliott Daly pen ). HT: 12-6