Rugby

New Zealand tame Lions in first Test

New Zealand's All Blacks performed their haka before the first Test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland.
New Zealand's All Blacks performed their haka before the first Test against the British and Irish Lions in Auckland. Reuters/Phil Walters

Rieko Ioane scored two second-half tries on Saturday as New Zealand’s All Blacks crushed the British and Irish Lions 30-15 to win the first Test in Auckland. Defending a 37 game unbeaten streak at Eden Park, the All Blacks struck first with a Beauden Barrett penalty and Codie Taylor's converted try to lead 10-0.

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Owen Farrell got the Lions on the scoreboard with a penalty after 31 minutes to make it 10-3 but another Barrett penalty restored the 10 point advantage.

But just before half-time, Liam Williams surged from inside his own half into New Zealand territory and Sean O’Brien finished off the move. Though Farrell failed to convert the try, its style and execution sent the Lions into half-time with momentum despite trailing 13-8.

They failed to build on the verve. And were undone in a five minute burst in which the All Blacks scored 10 points. Ioane – with his first try – and Barrett’s conversion and a subsequent penalty.

Trailing 23-8 and with 20 minutes remaining, a thrashing for the Lions loomed. And Ioane’s second try – converted by Barrett - nine minutes from time to make it 30-8 underlined the prospect.

However, the annihilation never materialized and the tourists were able to salvage some dignity in the dying seconds with Rhys Williams late try.

“We created chances and shifted the ball pretty well,” said Lions coach Warren Gatland. “They didn’t come out and play champagne rugby. We were looking to get the upper hand but in fairness to them, they got it.”

The Lions have only won one series in their 11 previous tours of New Zealand since 1904. The sides play again on 1 July in Wellington.

“We have to regroup, have a good look at the match and move on,” said Lions skipper Peter O’Mahony. “We have to be more clinical. We are making some good breaks but we just have to finish them off.”

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