British Lions

Praise for All Blacks 'masterclass', concern for Lions

2017-06-24 15:53
Steve Hansen (Getty Images)

Auckland - The All Blacks earned high praise for their "masterclass" on Saturday after they left the British and Irish Lions teetering on the brink of yet another series defeat in New Zealand.

New Zealand had been expected to be challenged by the Lions but their 30-15 victory heaped pressure on the visitors, who must win next week in Wellington to stay in the three-Test series.

"The All Blacks have delivered a masterclass to draw first blood against the British and Irish Lions," wrote Fairfax Media's Marc Hinton, while the BBC wondered: "Where do the Lions go from here?"

Britain's Independent said Lions coach Warren Gatland would now be forced into making changes if he wants to win the second Test.

"Gatland must now weigh up changes to this side if the Lions are to keep the series alive," the newspaper said.

The New Zealand news media highlighted the gulf between the two sides, after the All Blacks came out on top after a tight first half and then dominated the second.

"The Lions kept squandering chances. That's no way to beat the All Blacks," Fairfax Media's Liam Napier wrote.

The All Blacks "dominated all parts of the game" by the final whistle, the New Zealand Herald said.

"It was a comprehensive victory, built on the raw physicality of the forwards and the inspirational leadership of (captain) Kieran Read."

Chris Foy of Britain's Daily Mail said that a "rampant New Zealand taught the British and Irish Lions a rugby lesson", while the Telegraph's Julian Bennetts wrote: "The All Blacks were completely relentless and proved far more ruthless."

Former Lions stars Matt Dawson and Brian Moore also noted the Lions' inability to cash in on their opportunities after they spurned a series of try-scoring chances.

"Lions had 4 chances and score once. NZ are 3 from 3. There's the difference," Dawson tweeted.

"Frightening thing is that New Zealand are likely to get better over the next two games," Moore said on Twitter.

The All Blacks outscored the Lions three tries to two to extend an unbeaten record at Auckland's Eden Park which stretches back 24 years.

Read more on:    british & irish lions  |  all blacks  |  rugby
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