UK Lions Well Beaten In First All Blacks Test

New Zealand snuffed out the British and Irish Lions' hopes of a shock win with a ruthless display at Eden Park to take what looks like an iron grip on the three-Test series.

A breathless match had been poised at 13-8 at half-time, Codie Taylor's brilliant pick-up bringing the All Blacks' opening try before the Lions struck back with a wonderful length-of-field effort begun by Liam Williams deep in his own 22 and finished by Sean O'Brien.

But after the Lions had gone close early in the second period, the home side struck again through Rieko Ioane's try in the corner after more quick thinking and fast hands.

And the home side took control as the Lions' much-vaunted replacements struggled to make any impact, Ioane feasting off an error to race away for his second.
Led from the front in Auckland by the outstanding Kieran Read and with fly-half Beauden Barrett impeccable from the tee, landing six from six, this was the All Blacks every Lions supporter had feared, and Rhys Webb's late try was little consolation for the tourists.

Only once in their history have the Lions won a series in New Zealand, and never having lost the first match - the prospects are ominous with the world champions on this kind of form.

The second Test is in Wellington next Saturday with a match against Hurricanes before that on Tuesday (both 08:35 BST kick-offs).

All Blacks close to their best

After O'Brien's wonderful try on 35 minutes, arguably one of the greatest in Lions history, the tourists had dared to believe that they could pull off a huge upset at a stadium where the All Blacks have not lost since 1994.

But as on so many occasions in their six-year reign as world champions, Steve Hansen's men played at a level that no other team can match - dominant at the breakdown, incisive in attack, playing with both pace and precision.

The Lions never got close to the set-piece dominance they had hoped for after the tour wins over the Crusaders and NZ Maori, and while they made several line-breaks they again left points out there at the start of both halves.

Whether it would have made any difference had they crossed the try-line is questionable, the All Blacks able to accelerate away whenever required, scrum-half Aaron Smith another at the top of his game in a team that showed no sign of rustiness.


New Zealand: B Smith; I Dagg, R Crotty, SB Williams, R Ioane; B Barrett, A Smith; J Moody, C Taylor, O Franks, B Retallick, S Whitelock, J Kaino, S Cane, K Read (capt).

Replacements: N Harris, W Crockett, C Faumuina, S Barrett, A Savea, TJ Perenara, A Cruden/L Sopoaga, A Lienert-Brown.

British and Irish Lions: L Williams (Wales); A Watson (England), J Davies (Wales), B Te'o (England), E Daly (England); O Farrell (England), C Murray (Ireland); M Vunipola (England), J George (England), T Furlong (Ireland); AW Jones (Wales), G Kruis (England); P O'Mahony (capt, Ireland), S O'Brien (Ireland), T Faletau (Wales).

Replacements: K Owens (Wales), J McGrath (Ireland), K Sinckler (England), M Itoje (England), S Warburton (Wales), R Webb (Wales), J Sexton (Ireland), L Halfpenny (Wales).

Brief scores:

First Test, Auckland
New Zealand (13) 30
Tries: Taylor, Ioane 2 Cons: Barrett 3 Pens: Barrett 3
Lions (8) 15
Tries: O'Brien, Webb Con: Farrell Pen: Farrell


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