lions-wonder-try-is-mere-consolation-as-all-blacks-dominate-opening-test.jpg

Lions wonder-try is mere consolation as All Blacks dominate opening Test

The first chants of “Lions!”.It was not enough to turn the tide for the Lions but it will give Gatland plenty of food for thought.It was a comprehensive victory, built on the raw physicality of the forwards and the inspirational leadership of Kieran Read who waltzed back into test football as if he’d never been away.Conor Murray believes that if any team can end the All Blacks’ 23-year unbeaten run at Eden Park it is the British and Irish Lions side that will line up against them on Saturday. Super rugby is a game largely designed for television. “There are not many people who understand the game as well as he does”.”There’s always pressure on us and we don’t mind pressure”.At the moment numerous New Zealand players are looking to play a fast-paced, off-loading type of game, but conditions and the Lions’ rush defence may make that extremely hard.They already had three points on the board when a quickly taken tap from Aaron Smith caught the Lions fractionally on their heels and a long pass from Israel Dagg was snapped up brilliantly on the half-volley by Taylor with Elliot Daly too far away to prevent the try being scored.At 10 points adrift and struggling to cope with the sheer pace and precision of New Zealand’s handling game, alarm bells were ringing for the tourists following an opening quarter that began so brightly but ended with them firmly on the back foot. Alun Wyn played well against the Crusaders, Maro was outstanding against the Maori.The rush defence of the Lions will work a lot more effectively if the ball is wet, it will force the All Black backline to lie a lot deeper in attack, but if its dry underfoot, then you can expect the All Blacks to chip the ball in behind the Lions backline in an effort to create more space, aka the Highlanders.”To play the All Blacks you have to be bold, you have to take risks”, Gatland said.O’Mahony forms a potent triumverate with the equally-impressive and in-form Seán O’Brien at number 7 and ball-playing No 8 Toby Faletau sandwiched in between the two, it gives the Lions the ideal balance for a back-row with power, lineout prowess and good footballing ability.”So we’re prepared to go out and play our game”.At times, New Zealand’s speed, awareness and attacking running lines were off the scale yet the Lions lived with them for much of a memorable encounter. Gatland needs some counter-attack threat out wide.Chastened, bossed out of the game and, quite simply, beaten be the world’s best exponents of rugby union.Farrell and Barrett traded penalties around the half hour mark before the Lions wrested back the momentum with a try from the least promising of circumstances.”The All Blacks tight five were very good, but we need to be tough on ourselves and honest in our performance”, Gatland said. Ben Te’o is a big strong man but does not have Williams’ ability to offload through the tackle, Hansen wants his runners off Williams and the Lions must be ready.