The Lions were faced with a task that looked impossible, beating New Zealand at a ground where they have won 38 games in a row. Their last defeat at Eden Park was in 1994 against South Africa and having been beaten last week in Wellington, New Zealand were looking for vengeance.
The first try came after Jordie Barrett knocked down Beauden Barrett’s crossfield kick to Ngani Laumape – who finished in the corner. After an excellent piece of linkup play between Laumape and Lienert-Brown the ball came to Jordie Barrett who went over for try number two. However, penalties from Farrell kept the Lions in touch.
The second half started perfectly for the Lions with an Elliot Daly penalty making the score 12-9. Farrell then tied the game up with another 3 points but Barrett restored the All Blacks lead with 3 of his own. In the 78th minute, Farrell knocked over a penalty to tie the game up and it looked like a draw was secure but Poite gave a penalty to New Zealand following the restart. Luckily for the Lions the decision was reversed to a scrum and the after a few plays the final whistle blew.
A thrilling series, closer than most expected, was drawn to a close with an anticlimactic ending but it would’ve been harsh for either team to lose. With that let’s look at how the players rated.
1. Mako Vunipola
7 – Looked a different player this week.
2. Jamie George
6 – Couple of poor lineouts but a solid game elsewhere.
3. Tadhg Furlong
7 – Carried well and dominated the scrum.
4. Maro Itoje
9 – Made 10 carries and disrupted New Zealand all across the pitch.
5. Alun Wyn Jones
7 – Joint top Lions tackler and showed why he played all 3 tests.
6. Sam Warburton
7 – Good defensive effort and a few good pieces of play at the ruck.
7. Sean O'Brien
6 – Didn’t have a lasting effect on the game after an injury but did well in the first half.
8. Taulupe Faletau
6 – Made plenty of tackles but was needed to assert his carrying game more.
9. Conor Murray
7 – Controlled the game at 9 and his kicking game was impressive.
10. Johnny Sexton
8 – Linked well with Farrell in attack and was solid defensively.
11. Elliot Daly
6 – Landed an incredible penalty but made a few errors which nearly cost the Lions.
12. Owen Farrell
7 – A poor first half with many sloppy mistakes but was vastly improved in the second.
13. Jonathan Davies
9 – Excellent in defence and constantly put pressure on the ball carrier.
14. Anthony Watson
6 – Struggled to get good ball but did well with what he was given.
15. Liam Williams
5 – Made a number of errors and was trampled over by Savea, reminiscent of Jonah Lomu and Mike Catt in 1995.
CJ Stander carried and defended well and Rhys Webb looked dangerous in his 10 minute cameo.