Three Lions show undoubted class before New Zealand emphatically tame the beast
NEW ZEALAND 30-15 LIONS
The All Blacks showed why they are the best in the world but many British & Irish Lions can be proud of their First Test efforts.
A converted Codie Taylor try, book-ended by Beauden Barrett penalties, had the hosts 13-3 up after half an hour before Sean O'Brien finished off a scintillating Lions attack to give the travelling support hope.
The Lions started the second half brigthly but while they squandered scoring chances, the world champions certainly did not. Rieko Ioane finished off a sweeping move in the left-hand corner and grabbed a second with 10 minutes to go as the Lions ran out of roar.
Rhys Webb got the consolation score but it was not to be.
Here's how we rated Warren Gatland's men in red:
Liam Williams - 8
The mother of all breaks for that Sean O'Brien try. Stunning. Dream of an offload to set Watson away in the second half too. Bad mistake for Iaone's second try.
Anthony Watson - 6
Superb catch over his head after Beauden Barrett's dink. Took the attack to the hosts and got some lovely offloads away. Sloppy knock-on just after the hour mark.
Jonathan Davies - 8
Great line break at the start nearly set up a Murray try. Involved in O'Brien try and punctured the Kiwis with a great second half break that nearly led to a Watson score. Missed a crucial tackle in the lead-up to the Ioane try when he shot out of the line.
Ben Te'o - 7
One hell of a hit on Sonny Bill Williams!
His defence was spot on and, once again, he was the Lions' main ball carrier and offloader.
Elliot Daly - 6
Denied in the corner after only two minutes. Great support running and pass for that O'Brien score. Got done by Ioane by Ioane for his second try.
Owen Farrell - 5
Shipped some massive tackles bit kept pressing forward. The All Blacks cramped him for space and his playmaking abilities were only seen in flashes.
Conor Murray - 6
Box-kicked like a dream again. Showed up constantly in attack. Seemed to damae his hand after copping a late shove from Brodie Retallick. Missed three tackles.
Mako Vunipola - 6
Superb turnover won to spark a Lions counter-attack, midway through the first half. 11 tackles made but only five paltry metres made off seven carries.
Jamie George - 5
Turned over by the fearsome Brodie Retallick. 17 tackles in defence but offered little in attack.
Tadhg Furlong - 6
Early error when his pass put Williams in trouble. Great block on an Aaron Smith clearance kick attempt. Scrum suffered after he left the fray, on 57 minutes.
Alun Wyn Jones - 4
Looked to be buzzed in the lead-up to the All Blacks' first try after shipping two big blows. Shelled a simple pass on the AB's twenty-two to ruin a good attack. Withdrawn early in the first half.
George Kruis - 5
Kieran Read ripped the ball off him in contact in an extremely worrying moment. Made a heap of tackles but fell off a few too.
Peter O'Mahony - 5
Had landed 13 lusty tackles after only 53 minutes. Withdrawn for Warburton after that. Did not do enough with ball in hand.
Sean O'Brien - 8
Got isolated after diving on a loose ball and was easily turned over. Finished off that Williams break with a try he will never forget. Best Lions forward on show - strong tackles, breakdown work and made 44 metres off eight carries.
Toby Faletau - 7
A tackling machine [20 landed!] but - and it is easy to say in hindsight - CJ Stander would have offered much more in attack.
Replacement ratings to follow
Maro Itoje (for Jones '50)
Sam Warburton (for O'Mahony '53)
Jack McGrath (for Vunipola '57)
Kyle Sinckler (for Furlonmg '58)
Ken Owens (for George '67)
Rhys Webb (for Murray '67)
Johnny Sexton (for Te'o '63)