British Lions

Lions pip 14-man All Blacks after SBW red card

2017-07-01 11:32
Sonny Bill Williams (Getty Images)

Cape Town - The Lions have beaten a 14-man All Black side 24-21 to keep their hopes in the series alive in a thrilling encounter in Wellington that saw Sonny Bill Williams red carded for a shoulder charge early in the match. 

As it happened: New Zealand v British & Irish Lions

In a cagey first half played in very wet conditions, it was the Lions who started brightly, pinning the All Blacks in their own half for extended periods in the first 10 minutes.

For all their dominance however, they failed to score any points and it took until the 19th minute before Beauden Barrett opened the scoring for the home side by slotting a penalty after Mako Vunipola had collapsed a scrum. 

Owen Farrell soon drew the visitors level in the 22nd minute when Brodie Retallick was caught with his hands in a ruck.

And then came Williams' indiscretion.

The inside centre was shown a straight red card by French referee Jerome Garces for a shoulder charge into the face of Lions winger, Anthony Watson.

And it was a decision that the inside centre could have no complaints over. 

That prompted an immediate change with Jerome Kaino subbed for debutant Ngani Laumape with All Blacks coach Steven Hansen opting for seven forwards from that point onwards. 

Both kickers continued to trade penalties and the teams went into half-time at 9-9 with the Lions unable to take advantage of their extra man.

The start of the second half saw the All Blacks determined to keep as much possession as possible, carrying the ball through a number of phases at a time.

After missing a relatively easy shot at goal early in the half, Barrett put the home side into a 12-9 lead with a penalty in the 48th minute after a high tackle by Lions scrumhalf Conor Murray.

And the poor discipline from the visitors continued.

In the 50th minute alone, they conceded three penalties in a row with Barrett missing another kick at goal. 

He soon extended the All Blacks lead to 15-9 after Vunipola took him out late following a kick ahead in the 53rd minute.

Vunipola then received a yellow card in the 56th minute with Barrett extending the home side's lead to 18-9 just two minutes later. 

The Lions then scored the first try of the match, working the ball wide to the left for No 8 Taulupe Faletau to crash through a few defenders and get over in the corner for an unconverted score that closed the gap to 18-14 with 20 minutes to play.

But the All Black lead was back out to a converted score in the 66th minute after yet another offside indiscretion by the visitors as Barrett made no mistake from right in front to extend the All Black lead to 21-14.

The Lions, who continued to look good with ball in hand, attacked with vigor and drew level after Murray sniped over from eight meters out.

Farrell converted to draw the scores level at 21-all. 

The Lions then led for the first time the 77th minute after Charlie Faumuina was penalised for tackling a Lions player in the air. 

And the visitors held out in a final frenetic few minutes to keep the series alive which will now be decided after the third Test at Eden Park.

Scores

New Zealand

Penalties: Beauden Barrett (7)

British and Irish Lions

Tries: Taulupe Faletau, Conor Murray

Conversions: Owen Farrell

Penalties: Owen Farrell (4)

Teams

New Zealand

15 Israel Dagg, 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Anton Lienert-Brown, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Rieko Ioane, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Sam Cane, 6 Jerome Kaino, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

Substitutes: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 TJ Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Ngani Laumape

British & Irish Lions

15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Owen Farrell, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Johnny Sexton, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Sam Warburton (captain), 5 Alun Wyn Jones, 4 Maro Itoje, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola

Substitutes: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Courtney Lawes, 20 CJ Stander, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Ben Te’o, 23 Jack Nowell

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