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All Blacks cruise to victory over Lions

The All Blacks beat the British and Irish Lions 30-15 at Eden Park in Auckland to make it 38 wins in a row since 1994 for the Kiwis at the hallowed ground.

Rieko Ioane scored a brace and Codie Taylor scored before half-time as New Zealand romped home against a spirited, but limited Lions outfit.

Beauden Barrett was perfect from the tee, collecting 15 points as the World champions cruised to victory.

Rhys Webb scored after the hooter to make the score respectable, but the Lions were never in the game after half-time.

Sean O’Brien also got in on the act, scoring before the break to keep the Lions within touching distance, but they could take their opportunities after half-time and ultimately, they were outclassed.

Much was made of the Lions’ wins over some second-string Super Rugby franchises, without their All Blacks.

Warren Gatland’s so-called mind games did nothing to rattle the Kiwis.

The All Blacks dominated the breakdown; the set pieces. The home team’s handling in the wet was excellent, and their offloading had the visitors chasing shadows.

The first half was close, but after 13 minutes, Barrett got his side on the board.

Soon after, Brodie Retallick won the turnover at the ruck.  The All Blacks went 15 phases before winning a penalty.

Alun Wyn Jones and Co had their hands on their hips; sucking in air. Barrett sent the ball wide after Aaron Smith’s quick-tap.

The first five skipped Sonny Bill Williams and Israel Dagg put Taylor away. The hooker picked the ball up off his toes before going over in the corner.

Barrett’s conversion made it 10-0.

The Lions were forced to make 144 tackles to 80, yet they managed to stay within touching distance of their opponents.

Owen Farrell and Barrett traded penalties before the tourists struck with one of the best tries in Lions’ history.

Liam Williams started the move from his 22. The fullback went 50 metres, popped to Jonathan Davies, in support, who sent the ball to Elliot Daly.

The winger took the tackle, the Lions recycled quickly before Sean O’Brien crashed over from close range.

Aaron Smith’s missed tackle was costly; the fullback handed off the scrumhalf, which set up the try and the tourist’s supporters were in full voice. Farrell missed the conversion, but his team were in the Test at the break.

That was as good as it would get for the Lions. After half-time, the All Blacks strangled them.

Gatland’s men did have the opportunities, but they squandered all of them. The rain started to fall and their handling was poor.

On 55 minutes, the New Zealand scrum dismantled their opponents, sent the ball wide and Ioane went over in the corner for his first try of the game. It was too easy.

Barrett’s kick made it 20-8.

Steve Hanson’s men were starting to find their groove; going through multiple series’ of plays of 15 or more phases.

Another Barrett penalty extended the home team’s lead. Then, on 69 minutes, Ioane grabbed his second to put the game out of reach of the tourists.

Williams knocked forward a TJ Perenara bomb, Ioane gathered and raced clear down the sideline to score in the corner.

Barrett’s conversion made it 30-8 with ten minutes to play.

The Lions did not give up, and they put together a good final series of play, culminating in Webb’s try after the hooter.

We will probably hear about “positives” from Gatland and his men, but the way in which the Kiwis cruised to victory, this result will send shivers down the tourists and their fans.

Final Score: All Blacks 30 (13) British and Irish Lions 15 (8)

Scorers

New Zealand All Blacks
Tries – Taylor, Ioane (2)
Pen – B. Barrett (3)
Con – B. Barrett (3)
Drop –
Cards –

British and Irish Lions
Tries – O’Brien, Webb
Pen – Farrell
Con – Farrell
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)
Assistant 1: Romain Poite (France)
Assistant 2: Jérôme Garcès (France)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)

Teams

New Zealand All Blacks

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

Replacements: 16 Nathan Harris, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Charlie Faumuina, 19 Scott Barrett, 20 Ardie Savea, 21 Thomas Perenara, 22 Aaron Cruden, 23 Anton Lienert-Brown.

British & Irish Lions

15 Liam Williams, 14 Anthony Watson, 13 Jonathan Davies, 12 Ben Te’o, 11 Elliot Daly, 10 Owen Farrell, 9 Conor Murray, 8 Taulupe Faletau, 7 Sean O’Brien, 6 Peter O’Mahony (captain), 5 George Kruis, 4 Alun Wyn Jones, 3 Tadhg Furlong, 2 Jamie George, 1 Mako Vunipola.

Replacements: 16 Ken Owens, 17 Jack McGrath, 18 Kyle Sinckler, 19 Maro Itoje, 20 Sam Warburton, 21 Rhys Webb, 22 Johnny Sexton, 23 Leigh Halfpenny.