The Lions have played two matches on tour, lost one and won one with the loss coming 2 days before they faced the Crusaders in Christchurch. It was set to be their toughest test on tour with the Crusaders having won 14 consecutive Super Rugby matches. However, the British and Irish Lions team was the strongest so far which gave the game a must win feel to it for the tourists.
Much like the Blues match, the Crusaders performed the haka in their own style much to the crowd’s admiration and delight before it was time for the rugby to commence.
The Lions started off majestically and within the first 10 minutes were showing drastic improvements from their first two games. Owen Farrell had been commanding the game superbly and it was rightfully him he got the first points. He banged over a long range penalty effort to give the Lions an early 3-0 lead.
They didn’t stop there and a few minutes later the English fly half notched another penalty to build the momentum up even more.
Most British and Irish Lions tours are littered with injuries and the Lions suffered a major blow with Stuart Hogg taking a blow. He chased his own up and under kick but while he pursued the ball, he collided with Conor Murray’s arm and instantly went down in a heap. With a clear gash and suspected concussion, the Scot left the field.
Not only had the Lions lost a key man in Hogg, they also conceded their first points courtesy of Richie Mo’unga’s boot but it was not to worry as Owen Farrell smashed over an easy penalty in reply.
The Lions had turned the screw and were dominating but the Crusaders did have a sniff of hope with 5 minutes remaining of the first half. The used the forwards as battering rams until they finally crashed over the whitewash! They appealed for the try but after the TMO had undergone a vigorous inspection, there was no conclusive evidence so the try was not given.
HALF TIME CRUSADERS 3 – 9 BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS
Owen Farrell was being instrumental to all the of the Lions good work. He was putting his handling on show and he used his speedy hands to allow Liam Williams through. The Welshman looked for option but had none show he chipped ahead. The ball bounced around from the contest in the air but it then bounced to Anthony Watson and the Bath winger evaded Israel Dagg and Seta Tamanivalu and scored! It was a rather strange one and needed a check from the TMO who abruptly decided that Williamshad knocked the ball forwards in the aerial challenge. No try.
Next came a rather strange and audacious moment. Owen Farrell lined up a kick at goal which he duly knocked over; well as he and most people though. However, the linesman’s flags did not go up and the kick did not stand despite it sailing through the uprights! Nonetheless, Farrell converted a penalty a few minutes later to make up for his well, I guess you can call it a mistake!?
The game then finished with Lions taking the lion share of the points! Masterminded by Owen Farrell and Conor Murray, the British and Irish Lions were certainly worth their win!
FULL TIME CRUSADERS 3 – 12 BRITISH AND IRISH LIONS