Well, the series is well and truly alive (and Mystic Rich strikes again....had AB's by 15 test 1, and Lions by 3 test 2.....booom! ££££)
The rain affected first half was a bit of a damp (pun intended) squib, however one key moment arguably swung the whole game, as Sonny Bill tried to force Anthony Watsons head out through his arse. It will raise debate, however, no use of arm and a charging shoulder to the head, it's a red card all day to the letter of the law, and the Kiwi's had a long stint with 14.
Other than that, it was 3 penalties to Barrett and 3 to Farrell for a 9-9 half time score,
With 25 to play and the All Blacks 18 - 9 up through some further penalties from Beaudie, we got to see a great Lions version of the Leinster loop which then unfurled the best series of plays of the night and saw Faletau barge over in the corner to ensure we had a game on our hands, though Owen Farrell couldn't get the conversion....
With the lead cut to 4, on the edge of his own 22, Daly smashed a cannon of a kick down the touchline, but it unfortunately went dead and gave up about 80 meters of playing field advantage. The inevitable happened and the play ended with another penalty for the All Blacks and the 7 point lead restored.
At this point my stream had a little freeze, but when it came back, Jamie George was making a Dane Coles style break which in turn led to another sniping scrum half try in this series as Connor Murray went over to cut the lead to 2 points, which Farrell duly made 0 with the conversion. 21 all, under 10 to play.
Thee game then went to an arm wrestle, as both sides tried to get the clinching score, and the decisive moment came as Charlie Faumu'ina and his wonderful beard was penalised in front of the posts, bread and butter for Faz as he slotted the decisive penalty.
The Kiwis came back strong, but on 2 occasions kicked the ball away and not even a superb counter from Beau Barrett could unlock the Lions defence. In face it was an attempt at the #CHIPANDCHASE from Barrett that was gleefully snapped up by Sean O'Brien that effectively ended the game, with the Lions vey much on the front foot.
So 1-1 in the series, 1 game to play. The Lions will accept this victory, but for all the pre-match talk about Gatlands last stand, was he vindicated with a victory? It's arguable.....
Sonny Bill is the fulcrum of the Lions side, defense and attack, losing him was a hammer blow to the Kiwi's, and the Lions were still dominated for large parts of the game by a 14 man side. Keeping the tryline unbreached was a HUGE thing for the Lions though, in the first test, the Lions errors were punished by tries, this game, it was a stronger showing. Discipline was better (despite Mako's yellow) and confidence will be up for the last game, but it will be a Herculean task to seal the series. It's a rare thing that the All Blacks will lose 2 matches in a row.
See you bright and early next Saturday, this one is NOT to be missed!!!