Rate the Match: New Zealand v Lions 3rd Test

Eden Park

Tell us what you thought of the match today at Eden Park.

Was it a fitting finale to the series? What were the main talking points?

Give the match a rating out of ten, and then share your thoughts in the comments below.

Rate the Match: New Zealand v Lions 3rd Test

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77 thoughts on “Rate the Match: New Zealand v Lions 3rd Test

  1. Has to up there as one of the best games I’ve ever watched. The tension was unbearable at times! Probably the deserving result even if it was a bit of an anticlimax.

  2. Strange feeling at the end of this one to be honest. But to be only the 2nd lions team to come back from NZ in anything other than defeat is still some achievement!

  3. What’s the main talking point!!
    World rugby has moved on, as i’ve been saying for a long time on here.
    Our resident kiwi supporter must be pissed!
    I seem to remember questions like what style of rugby could possibly beat the ABs?Well we’ve seen it and many commentators on here were derided for their offers that included:
    British and Irish physicality
    Technique and prowess at the scrum
    The half-back kicking game
    Penalty kicking (unashamedly the main one – how prescient !!!!!)
    The back three.
    And my personal best (also written on here a good six months ago) was a comment that the ABs would have to watch their tendency to over step the laws of the game! THERE I’VE SAID IT AGAIN!

    For those wondering……yes i take today as a victory. Well done The British and Irish Lions.
    The good news continues…….England are up next!

      1. Just asking whether I’m missing something about the scrum. Sinckler went down and got pinged. Next two scrums, I thought Crockett went down and didn’t get pinged. Am I missing something or did Poite?

        1. Think Poite missed it. Sinckler over extended himself and lost his footing. After that he had Crockett on toast.

          There was also a scrum previous where the ABs were absolutely hammered and collapsed badly without a penalty being given.

          I van understand not wanting to give easy penalties at the scrum but sometimes they are needed.

          1. Some of the kiwi scrum feeding was bordering on the ridiculous. I know everyone does it (and will continue to do until refs crack down) but one feed went straight to the flanker.

          2. Look at Sinkler’ s body position in the previous couple of scrums Pablito and it seems very obvious that his feet are too far back and his body so straight that it is almost impossible for his second row and wing forward to push on him. He got away with boring in at an angle on one occasion but apart from that was under real pressure. The scrum looked creaky as soon as Furlong went off. Poite never has much idea of what is happening in the tight, but the idea that Sinkler had Crockett on toast is sheer fantasy.

    1. Alex D, a big fat, conceited prize for stating the mind-numbingly obvious!
      Goal-kicking yes, but it’s also a kind of negative in the sense that it only proved as significant as it did because NZ’s was so poor.

      1. Taliesin
        Point taken. However not 100% accurate or valid as any team in the world would appreciate a ‘big gun’ cannon like Daly.
        That is SPECIAL and pretty unparalelled on the international scene (i don’t know of another)
        So ARGUABLY those 3 points (Mr Daly’s) saved the day!
        Thanks Ellìot……
        Kicking a weapon (a positive and constructive one?)……absolutely yes!
        Particularly in a side thrown together at the last minute whose full attacking play is going to struggle to gel in time.

        1. At this level Taliesin, goal kicking is always crucial and a key weapon for any international side.

          I am not entirely sure why Barrett continued to kick after the second test. Arrogance that they would score enough points for it not to matter? A blind faith in him coming good despite the evidence?

          Who knows? Personally I think the first but whatever the reason it cost them the series

          1. Sorry, my meaning was this; the reason goal-kicking was so important was not from any wider superiority, but just because NZ’s goal-kicking was less accurate than Lions’. It’s fairly obvious that had Barrett landed just a few of the kicks he missed, NZ would have won the series. This is not to underplay Farrell’s importance to the Lions; just that it was no indication of the true state of the two sides. We’ve all been on the wrong side of games where the wrong side won just because they slotted their kicks. Point taken?
            Hope so; for that reason, I’d have in some ways to see H’penny out there. He is a marginally better goal-kicker than Farrell – accent on ‘marginally’ – but where
            Farrell was disappointing in other facets of his game in tests 2 and 3, I believe H’penny would have contributed more.
            Water under the bridge! WHAT a series!

  4. Just wanted to be the first to say sorry Alun i’ve been very critical of you all tour but in this test you really delivered the physicality we needed also carried well and linked play

  5. The lions did not lose the test series. That is an amazing achievement for a team that came together 7 weeks ago, playing at the home of the best team in the world.
    They showed incredible guts. A fair result overall I think.
    I think Poite may have thought the same too ;)

  6. Amazing amount of pressure from both sides. A pity so many tight passes failed to connect for both teams as there were terrific moments. Like the early drive downfield by the Lions followed by an intercept and breathtaking catch-up tackle to put the Lions on defence at their line. Great to see such efforts from all the players and few who were simply inspiring.

  7. Tremendous game littered with errors because of the sheer pace and physicality with which it was played. Probably a fair result overall although how Poite could overturn the penalty a minute from time is quite beyond me. Owens clearly caught the ball before realising he was in an offside position and dropping it. The initial decision was correct but the TMO gave Poite the opportunity to bottle it and he did. If I was an AB player or supporter I would be furious. Not sure what to make of Alex’s post. A draw is a draw not a win.
    The scrum looked in trouble as soon as the front row changed, and Rowntree would probably have given his eye teeth to have been able to put Cole on for the last ten minutes. AWJ kept up his average of just under half a metre per carry, Itoje was phenomenal and Lawes added pace and bite. Davies looked the best centre on the field, Farrell was cool when it mattered and Watson was excellent. However, truth be told the AB’ s butchered three clear cut scoring opportunities and made ten handling errors before half time in most uncharacteristic fashion. The vaunted Lions defence was far too narrow and the back three were not covering each other sufficiently.
    To return to the refereeing, the AB’ s clearly ruck illegally most of the time. The first man there after their tackled player hits the deck either goes over and past the man to clear out approaching players and then stands guard in front of the ruck or throws himself to ground over the top of the ball carrier. This appears to have been acceptable from them but not from the Lions throughout the series, as does their persistent obstructive screen of runners in midfield. The crookedness of the feed at the scrum also plumbed new depths. No doubt that the AB’s missed Dane Coles, Crotty, Smith and Williams, but the game now is so attritional that there is little chance of one’s best players all being available together.

    1. To answer your question Andy.
      A Moral and psychological victory is how i see it . On an AWAY tour and up against scathing press commentary (Rob Howley has called it….i quote…”disgraceful” in relation to the PERSONAL barbs that have come Gatland’s way.
      The Lions turned it to good effect though….didn’t they!
      Gatland asked the Kiwi press “to please keep it up whoever you are as its galvanizing my team” in his post 2nd test victory presser and then turned up wearing a bloody red clown nose in the 3rd presser conference (as i think they call it down there). The stunt has won over alot of local (kiwi) supporters.
      Too bloody arrogant in the first place is what i say….n’est ce pas? 3-0 predictions i ask you!

      1. My under 15s team used to claim a moral victory having lost 70+ nil (which happened more than I’d care to admit). I somehow don’t think its a very useful phrase…

        1. This was a draw however. I relish your point but probably not a like for like comparison this time.
          Draws by whatever permutation….0-0…..55-55….or 169-169 can be called ‘moral victories!’
          A loss can’t i agree

  8. Time for Hansen to step down. His hand and tactics were all over that shocking performance. ABs were playing a game of called moves throughout. Crash balls and playing to short/weak side all night. Surely Hansen knew the Lions would be coming up fast in defence? They’ve been doing it throughout. Terrible attack ideas. Dagg was so bored on the wing he came looking for work on both sides of field. Hansen employed the exact tactics as last 2 games. What an embarrassment. Hopefully Kiwis everywhere will demand Hansen’s head.

    1. Peter Evans
      I think that would be an over-reaction personally.
      Henson has given them two WCs (or been involved in two)
      He has arguably been their most successful. (No doubt someone can provide his wining stats on here!)
      Yes he has (in kiwi terms….i repeat ‘kiwi terms’) ‘lost’ a series but world rugby has caught up. England and Ireland for sure with Wales not far behind and the Lions…..well the Lions are the Lions! SUPERB!
      A drawn series is not the time for the ABs to go into ‘footballing kneejerk overdrive’ and chuck all the water out of the bath along with their dripping coach.
      The result as i think Henson himself has said is “good for world rugby” (admittedly said BEFORE the 3rd test but i’m sure he stands by it as he comes across as an honourable kind of guy)

  9. We can rate the drawn series as a great achievement and they did us proud to come back having been pummelled in the first 40.Counfounded all my worst fears.Congrats and thanks you to the whole squad

  10. Well great tour. Great test series and the Lions confounded most people’s expectations (including my own) of a 3-0 drubbing. Plenty of talking points to keep us going. Please keep the Lions going!

    1. Think i remained quietly confident of ‘something’ happening down under!
      A case of ignoring half of the AB fan club tripe you hear on here like it was from a gramophone record or something that never needed the vinyl changing.

      1. Yes, yes, Alex D, ok – could you now please stop. You’ll dislocate your shoulder patting yourself on the back constantly like this!
        Great performance by the Lions; Farrell’s kicking great – fortunately, because the rest of his play not quite up to his best. J Davies, phenomenal; the tackle on Laumappe the highlight of the tour for me. And Sinckler, Murray, Sexton, Daly, and especially the captain – all fabulous, immensely brave performances. The Lions must continue, AND be given more space in the calendar – much more space – in which to prepare players properly. Will that message get through?

  11. Players of the series. Certainly JD, Farrell, Itoje, and Warburton in contention for Lions. Read and Retallick definitely up there although the whole kiwi pack could be nominated. Unusually for the ABs, I am struggling a bit for backs to nominate, possibly due to all of the chopping and changing.

      1. Completely agree, has to be Davies. Murray and Itoje are the only two that got close to me but to be honest Davies was miles ahead when you combine form over the full 3 tests.

        Considering I questions his place on the tour initially I feel like maybe Gatland knows more than me…

        1. Well he certainly hadn’t shown form like that in an international for quite some time. Hope he doesn’t take it into the 6 Nations!

  12. Seems to me the ref got the call right on the ‘offside’ decision, although I think it should actually have been a penalty to the Lions with Reid taking out Williams in the air ( & a clip on the ear to boot !) so don’t think the AB’s have much to complain about.
    Here’s the Law :
    Law 11.6(a) When an offside player cannot avoid being touched by the ball or by a team-mate carrying it, the player is accidentally offside. If the player’s team gains no advantage from this, play continues. If the player’s team gains an advantage, a scrum is formed with the opposing team throwing in the ball.

    Owens clearly had no could not avoid being touched by the ball, good call Ref !

    1. Complete rubbish Stesco. Read was clearly trying to play the ball, and was entitled to do so. The ball might well have struck Owens anyway, but given that Owens actually caught the ball before releasing it he absolutely deliberately played it in an offside position. Even as a Lions supporter I thought it was an appalling decision by a poor referee.

      1. I initially thought Poite was right. Having rewatched it I don’t think he was. It seems to me that Owens was watching th. Ball and could have left it but instead chose to catch it before he realised what that would mean and let it drop

        As for Read taking him out in the air, I think we’ve seen penalties given for less but I didn’t think it was one, pleased the ref decided it wasn’t.

        1. Interestingly Kaplan has stated in a column that he would have penalised Read for taking Williams out in the air as Read had no hope of catching the ball

  13. Nice to see the Team squad and Gatland critics seem very quiet now. Gatland is the most successful Manager of the Lions in the modern game.

    1. Nothing quiet here. Fantastic result for Gatland. Very pleased for him and and everyone involved. Think although it may not feel like a win now, it will in a couple of weeks time.

      Still haven’t changed my mind that a number of his decisions were wrong though – Howley as coach, AWJ over Launchbury, Moriarty over Robshaw, bringing out Welsh development players and then not using them, etc.

      I think Gatland has been most successful in his management of the players and the schedule. And he’s been lucky as well – not that there’s anything wrong with that!

  14. Well Andy, excuse me if I choose to believe the decision of an International referee, who, having viewed the footage in conjunction with the linesman decided to opt for the scrum, well within his remit and to the letter of the law ?

    1. No problem, you are entitled to believe what you want, but I would be interested to hear you (or Poite) explain to me how a player can be accidentally offside when he deliberately catches the ball. It was quite obvious that Owens knew he had committed an offence when he immediately threw the ball down. As an ex ref the law you quoted seems to apply and is quite clear. In my view he bottles it, international ref or not.

      1. I can assist, Andy.

        Firstly, Owens was retreating, attempting to get back onside as the ball had passed him. In this sense he was not deliberately offside.

        Secondly the ball went to him – as opposed to him moving toward the ball.

        Lastly, the catch was instinctive, not pre-determined.

        You may well have played some rugby, possibly a lot, and if so you may well have reached an instinctive skill level whereby you catch balls that come to you in varying degrees of speed and direction. Clearly this was his instinctive reaction, and just as instinctively he realised his compromised position and dropped the ball – to be picked up immediately by an All Black as it happened.

        So I would contend that Owens did not “deliberately” catch the ball, and neither did he “throw it down”. My view was that he instinctively caught the ball, and then dropped it, again instinctively.

        1. I would also add that on review it is debatable whether the ball actually went forward. It appeared to go forward as Williams was knocked back, but re-watching it, it appears that it did not go forward.

          Its irrelevant of course, but imagine the fuss if the penalty had been awarded, and the game had been determined by it?

  15. Very well done to the lions for salvaging what, in the circumstances, amounts to a very positive outcome. With a degree of humility I tip my cap to WG and AWJ who I have been critical of although I stand by much of the criticism and as far as AWJ goes the stats speak for themselves; I thought that today he made a great decision to play a vital support role, minimising risk and playing within his own capabilities – fair play

  16. As far as Gatland goes, I still don’t agree with all of his decisions, pretty much the same as Pablito, but credit where it’s due – he does seem to get results. Looking forward to Jones team v Gatland team next 6 nations.

    1. Hi Staggy; so you still don’t agree with Gatland’s decisions. Good for you; all I can say is that, on balance, I’m probably glad Gatland was coach rather than yourself – with due respect.

      1. Taliesin – I was once told that anyone using the term “with due respect” normally means quite the opposite. Having read many of your comments over the tour, I’m also happy that you weren’t coach, or probably anyone else on this forum!

        What you failed to grasp in your somewhat one eyed patriotic fervour was that I was complimenting Gatland and pointing out that he probably (definitely) knew more than I did. Doesn’t stop me disagreeing with him though, although I hope I afforded him the respect he deserves

        1. Staggy, what a genuinely peculiar attitude; ‘he definitely knew more than I did’ – but you still ‘disagree’ with him. Just very odd; you may conceivably disagreed with him beforehand. But now? Don’t get it.
          For the record, I am lucky enough not to suffer from wht you poetically describe as ‘one-eye patriotic fervour’. Don’t demean yourself and the achievement of this great team.

          1. taliesin… can you please crawl back into whatever welsh hole it is you came from and leave the rest of us who have been trying to have unbiased but open opinionated discussions alone? Honestly everything you have said is contradictory and more importantly entirely welsh biased. Quite a few welsh people i know questioned AWJ starting 2nd and 3rd test and most would have said launchberry or the gray brothers were ahead of him on current form after 6n… and people are allowed to say that someone clearly knows more than them but disagree with their opinion… it’s an opinion … like yours which is always utter sh*t from what i have read on most of the forums. so please grow up stop baiting people into arguments and accept that it was a good tour but there were as always with a lions tour contentious decisions that not all will agree with AND ARE ENTITLED TO THEIR OPINION ON!

  17. Also: for me, top 5 men of the series in order:
    Jonathan Davies
    Maro Itoje
    Toby Faletau
    Eliot Daly
    Jamie George
    (Courtney Lawes and SOB close up)

  18. Thought it was a step up from last week but we were always playing catch up. Frankly we only looked like scoring the once. I think Steve Hansen needs to play a kicker if he’s playing Barrett at 10 as he’effectively cost them the series. Main takeaway is that the ABs are beatable and their attack can be shut down. I think the Lions players will take great confidence from this and hopefully we’ll see the 6N step up next year and see NZ properly challenged in the AIs.

  19. Like many,no doubt a draw left me somewhat underwhelmed.The silver lining being that the Lions performances have given England and possibly Ireland grounds for optimism with regards to the next World Cup.For all their attacking brio the All Blacks were seriously discomforted by the twin playmaker approach. The Glue which was Conrad Smith & Ma Nonu has not been replaced and time is moving on.

  20. Penalty to Lions , Warburton hit in the air with his back to Read. Alll Blacks had their chances to secure win. By not taking their chances it becamr fefs fault.

  21. The All Blacks will always be beatable whilst they have an inferior goal kicker. With two tries they were still unable to pull away.
    Instead Daly and Farrell always kept them in the hunt. It reminded me of Carlos Spencer for the ABs against England. Guess who won on that occasion….England. Spencer despite all his flair couldn’t add the extra points!
    Was it three in the 2nd test and two in the 3rd? Thats a total of 15 points gone begging.

  22. A good match to watch and at the end of the day rugby is the winner.
    I for one hope the Lions continues for many years to come. For a lot of the Lions players this was a one time chance to pull on the Lions jersey and reach the pinnacle of their career. I love seeing young guys like Sinckler getting so interested in the history and then taking his chance to shine on at this level.

    From an England fans point of view I think we have seen the real emergence of a couple of players on this tour, namely George and Sinckler. Will these two now leapfrog Hartley and Cole for a start in the Autumn Internationals? I for one think they should.

    1. I’m not sure on the Sinkler vs Cole one. Cole is so solid at the set piece and Sinkler makes for such a good impact player. Personally I wouldn’t make a change there.

      Hartley and George is going to be difficult. I’ve always been a massive supporter of Hartley and I think fans often underrate how good his set piece play is. That being said, George has had such a good tour it will be hard to ignore him for much longer.

  23. Agree with you about Cole and Sinkler Jacob. What about the other side of the scrum, and where do Genge, Williams Collier and Mullan fit into the equation if anywhere? Definitely think George supercedes Hartley. He is clearly better around the park than Hartley and nowadays is probably better in the tight as well. I would have Hartley out of the squad and be bringing forward Cowan Dickie and Taylor with the World Cup in mind. However, we may not agree on this one as you like Hartley and I have never had much time for him.

    1. Yeh we could go round on Hartley all day…

      Loosehead I wouldn’t change too much. I prefer Marler as a starter and Mako for impact, but both are world class for me. Genge will definitely start pushing them close but he needs to become more consistent before that happens. I think players like Mullan will always be useful reserves but not too much more than that.

      1. I can envisage Genge edging Marler out in the near future, which would likely push Vunipola up to the starting berth.

        I do think the 3rd choice hooker is still to be identified. May become the second choice before too long, but behind Hartley/George we still only see “potential”.

        1. I’d agree with that on Genge/Marler – maybe by the 6 nations but I can’t see it in the Autumn. England are lucky to have 3 great options there.

          I’m biased but I thought Taylor had a great season at Wasps and was so consistent. I’d definitely consider him 3rd choice, but I would agree that there is more of a gap that at prop or lock.

          If George was to start in the AIs, I’d still strongly consider Hartley as a solid bench option. Itoje for captain?

          1. I think George’s steady rise over the last two seasons has created more of a gap between him, Cowan Dickie, Taylor and others. I can’t think of too many top hookers in the Premiership at the moment that are as good as George or Hartley.

            I still think Farrell is more likely to be given the captaincy at the moment, but Itoje would be my choice. You could see by the way he was bossing the pack in the third test that he was born to lead.

            1. Hibbard, Buchanan, Brits, Cowan Dickie, Taylor, Haywood, Yeandle, and probably several others would be on my team sheet before Hartley Dazza, though I would admit that I am perhaps in a minority as I consider him vastly over-rated. Gatland preferred George, Owens and Best which suggests he doesn’t rate him either.

        2. Agreed Blub, though I think Marler is clearly the best scrummager of the the three at present. A shame CD was unfit for Argentina and I was surprised he didn’t take Taylor. There are a couple of useful hookers coming through from last year’ s under 20’s, and I have always liked Mikey Haywood, but I think EJ may think both him and Taylor are too small. The future looks interesting though.

  24. Makes me smile thinking back on all the people who doubted why JD was in the squad, calls for JJ to definitely start, maybe Hendo or Payne should play 13 , even calls for Daly to play there.
    While we in Wales knew how good JD was and never thought Gats would pick anyone else and were proved right. Outstanding series, take a bow every single Lion.

  25. Intense, but as a game to rate. 7 max. Too many errors, incl by that ref! Talk about ‘100 yrs of annoying the French’! He got the lions out of jail!

    1. Many would disagree. Two camps/schools of thought on that one (other than the Donny Don Don show which is sounding more and more like a kind of surrealist equivalent to the Truman Show) Good job the worlds not black!

  26. Reality check.The cream of 4 nations managed
    a test and series draw against the world champions.Now let me put in a different light.
    If the 4 Southerns hemisphere teams picked a team to play the six nations champions,would you see this as a real test of the strength of England.

    The best BIL teams of all times,undoubtedly
    the 1974 Lions, I had the pleasure to watch.
    They would have destroyed the current BIl,All Blacks, and Springbok packs upfront.They were just magnificent.

      1. It sounds like we need a Northern Hemisphere XV v Southern Hemisphere XV, if anyone would like to have a crack and submit it as a community article?!

        Not sure Pocock gets in on current form, Israel Folau possibly, Eben Etzebeth, Creevy perhaps…

        1. I’m sure it would be then type of thing Pocock would rise to the occasion for.

          Folau – I’d rather have Smith. Ditto Coles over Creevy. Etzebeth is a good call but is he better than the Kiwi pair? He’d make the bench at least

      2. For the sake of argument, from the 4 SH nations you should select a squad of 24 with amount of players from each nation selected on World Rankings i.e. NZ = 10 players, AU = 8, SA = 4 & AR = 2. Fantasy team style over the SH Championship and determine the Best SH “Sharks”?

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