Before this game, New Zealand had won 49 consecutive test matches at home but that has now changed. After losing last week by 15 points, the Lions’ second Test was a must win game. The talk throughout the week suggested that there was no way the Lions were going to beat the All Blacks, but they were wrong. This is how it happened:
Sonny Bill Williams was red-carded after 20 minutes of play for a shoulder charge on Anthony Watson. This set up a wonderful opportunity for the Lions to take advantage of their numerical superiority and beat the world champions.
After a strong first half from the Lions, it was 9-9 at the half way point. But, in the third quarter the Lions’ discipline let them down and they seemed to be giving away a penalty every time New Zealand went into Lions territory. Mako Vunipola received a yellow card after 4 reckless and stupid penalties. Beauden Barret did miss many kicks but with the number of opportunities at goal he had, he had to get a few. The Lions were 18-9 down and they needed something special to bring them back.
Luckily, Taulupe Faletau brought something special with the first try of the game after a great attack, which brought the Lions right back into the game, but they were still trailing. As the game entered the final 10 minutes, the atmosphere was building around the stadium and tensions were running high.
Conor Murray sneaked in behind the All Blacks defense to score the Lions’ second try in the 77th minute and Owen Farrell made it level at 21-21. Minutes later, Owen Farrell kept his cool as he slotted over a penalty from a long way out. The Lions held on for a couple of minutes and they were triumphant!
This game will be remembered for a while as a great upset, but if it’s going to go into the record books; they must win next week. It has set up a great final to the series next week and the Lions will have to improve further if they are going to win the series. The final score was 21-24 to the Lions.