Hurricanes

Hurricanes and Lions play out thrilling draw

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The Hurricanes and the British and Irish Lions played out a 31-all draw at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington after a seven-try thriller – and some late drama.

The Lions raced to a 17-31 lead before Iain Henderson – who was superb – was yellow carded for foul play late in the second-half, turning the game on its head.

The defending Super Rugby champions hit back with two quick tries to level the scores with minutes remaining.

However, there was still time for Dan Biggar, who collected 16 points, to miss a last-gasp drop-goal to add to the madness.

Tommy Seymour scored a brace and George North crossed the line before half-time in a game the Lions dominated for 50 minutes.

But the tourists gave up a 15-point half-time lead and a 14-point lead, with 12 minutes remaining, as the Kiwis stormed back thanks to Wes Goosen and Vaea Fifita’s late tries.

Earlier, Ngani Laumape, who was outstanding, and Callum Gibbons crossed the whitewash. Jordie Barrett kicked 11 points to keep his team in the hunt, but it ended all square at the ‘Cake Tin’.

The Lions took a 0-13 lead inside the opening 20 minutes; Biggar kicked two penalties and converted Seymour’s first try as the visitors took control.

Greig Laidlaw intercepted a Hurricanes attack and from inside his side’s 22, he raced down the field before offloading to his Scotland team-mate to score.

The early exchanges saw the Canes rack up six penalties as referee Romain Poite got trigger happy, penalising the home team at every opportunity and to the consternation of the home support.

Before the half hour mark, Luamape made a break in midfield before Gibbons crashed over from close range.

The diminutive second five eight caused all manner of problems for the visitors, carrying with conviction, often getting over the gain-line as well as having a hand in the tries.

The Hurricanes were starting to build through the phases and were getting more possession and territory, but that was all they had to show for in the first-half as the Lions kept them at bay.

Biggar extended his team’s lead to 7-16 with another penalty.

With half-time approaching, the Welsh flyhalf launched a bomb which Nehe Milner-Skudder could not gather.

The ball bounced loose and was collected by Henderson who put North, in support, away for the try.

Biggar’s conversion saw the Lions lead 7-23 at the break; the Hurricanes were creaking.

But, they came flying out at the start of the second-half, scoring a sensational try at the beginning of the half.

Barrett gathered a high ball and the Kiwis went wide. Vince Aso threw a beautiful, no-look inside ball to Julian Savea.

The ‘Bus’ broke into the 22 and sent the ball to Luamape, who barges over Biggar in the right corner. Barrett’s conversion reduced the deficit and five minutes’ later, a penalty made it 17-23.

Scrumhalf Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi was sin-binned a couple of minutes later for a high tackle and the tourists struck, with Biggar kicking his fourth penalty of the night.

The Lions had all the momentum and came roaring back. Henderson was immense, making two barnstorming runs up the field, setting up the field position for the previous penalty and almost scored, but he was held up over the try-line.

It did not matter because, after the next series of play, Seymour went over in the corner, finishing off an overlap to extend his side’s lead t0 17-31.

The game changed with 15 minutes to play. TMO George Ayoub was called for a dangerous tackle by Jonathan Joseph and Iain Henderson at the breakdown.

The French ref, who was not having a good game, had to be told by Ayoub to look again because he only wanted to award a penalty.

Eventually, the right call was made and the lock was off to the sidelines. Joseph was lucky.

From the penalty, the Hurricanes went wide from the lineout and Barrett threw a long skip-pass to Goosen, who ran around his man and near the poles to score. Barrett’s conversion made it a one-score game.

The home team had all the momentum and possession, taking the ball 10 phases for Goosen’s try and after another multiphase attack, scored again when Fifita crashed over under the posts.

Barrett’s fourth conversion tied the game.

The Lions were all at sea as wave after wave of yellow and black consumed them. With minutes remaining, and 23 phases, the Canes thought they had scored, but the TMO ruled that Luamape had performed a neck roll at a previous ruck, and the Lions cleared.

There was still enough time for the Lions to turn over their opponents and launch a final attack.

After the hooter sounded, they won the ball and set up a drop-goal attempt for Biggar, but the Wales standoff’s kick dropped agonisingly short, and under the crossbar. Phew.

Final Score: Hurricanes 31 (7) British & Irish Lions 31 (23)

Scorers

Hurricanes
Tries – Gibbons, Laumape, Goosen, Fifita
Pen – Barrett
Con – Barrett (4)
Drop –
Cards – Tahuriorangi (Yellow, 52nd minute)

British & Irish Lions
Tries – Seymour (2), North
Pen – Biggar (4)
Con – Biggar (2)
Drop –
Cards – Henderson (Yellow, 66th minute)

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

Teams

Hurricanes

15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Brad Shields (captain), 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeff To’omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ben May.

Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 James Blackwell, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 22 Wes Goosen, 23 Cory Jane

British and Irish Lions

15 Jack Nowell, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James Haskell, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Joe Marler.

Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Cory Hill, 20 George Kruis, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Leigh Halfpenny

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