Jun 24, 2017
Lions suffer defeat in opening Test match against the All Blacks
The Lions suffered a disappointing 30-15 loss to the All Blacks in the first test at Eden Park, as the tour of New Zealand builds towards its crescendo. Saracens were well represented once again, with Mako Vunipola, Jamie George, George Kruis, Owen Farrell and Liam Williams named in the starting XV, and Maro Itoje looking to make an impact from the bench.
The game was set to be tough from the outset- the All Blacks have not lost at the venue since 1994, meaning they haven’t lost a game at Eden Park in the professional era...or in Maro Itoje’s lifetime!
There were some early flashes of brilliance from the Lions, with a try nearly coming after just a couple of minutes into the match, only to be denied by the TMO. However New Zealand continued to live up to their infamous reputation, piling wave upon wave of pressure to go 10-0 ahead midway through the first half.
It took the Lions until the half-hour mark to get some points on the board, when some great play by the tourists in their opponents’ 22 lead to a penalty from the boot of Owen Farrell.
The men in red followed that up with a sensational score from well inside their own half, with Liam Williams making an electrifying break through the heart of the All Blacks defence, and then managing to get an offload away before back-row Sean O’Brien dotted down, taking the half time score to 13-8.
The 47th minute saw Maro Itoje take the field to join his England and Saracens second row partner George Kruis, making 4 of the tight 5 Sarries men, as the Lions continued to press.
Nevertheless, New Zealand proved why they are the number 1 ranked team in the world, scoring a succession of tries through wing Rieko Ioane, taking the game away from the tourists, before Rhys Webb darted over for the game’s final score, converted by Owen Farrell.
The Lions face Super Rugby side the Hurricanes in Wellington on Tuesday, with kick off at Westpac Stadium at 08H35, before the second test at the same venue in a week’s time.