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The British and Irish Lions valiantly defeated the All Blacks 24-21 to tie the Test match series at one win each. In order for this rare victory to have occurred the following variables happened at Westpac Stadium, Wellington:
- A torrential rain and strong winds;
- A red card to Sonny Bill Williams (the first All Black red card in 50 years) being sent off for 55-minutes in the first half;
- All Blacks having to play with 14-men (seven in the pack);
- First Test lost on Kiwi home soil since 2009;
- No new Zealand tries; and,
- Two Lions second half tries
The red card call against Sonny Bill was deemed a fair one by all as his shoulder slammed into the head of Anthony Watson. Playing a man down for almost an hour took its toll in the second half when tired All Blacks' legs failed against the Lions’ breakaways. Historically, the infraction represented only the third red card in All Blacks history, one in 1924, one in 1967, and last Saturday.
In the second period, the All Blacks were up 18-9, all points coming from the foot of Beauden Barrett winning his 50th cap. The Lions added twelve-points from two tries and one conversion while the Kiwis added three. With four-minutes remaining, the game was tied at 21-21. Then, a late penalty, a Lions successful penalty kick by Owen Farrell, and a 24-21 win to the visitors.
The Lions (now 5-3-1) have not won a Test series in New Zealand since 1971. It will be a difficult to prevail as the next and last tour contest moves to Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday, July 8. No team has beaten the All Blacks in this venue since 1994.
New Zealand: Israel Dagg; Waisake Naholo (Aaron Cruden, 59), Anton Lienert-Brown, Sonny Bill Williams, Rieko Ioane; Beauden Barrett, Aaron Smith (TJ Perenara, 66); Joe Moody (Wyatt Crckett, 53), Codie Taylor (Nathan Harris, 80), Owen Franks (Charlie Faumuina, 53); Brodie Retallick, Sam Whitelock (Scott Barrett, 73); Jerome Kaino (Ngani Laumape, 26), Sam Cane (Ardie Savea, 64), Kieran Read.
British and Irish Lions: Liam Williams, Anthony Watson (HIA jack Nowell, 25-31), Jonathan Davies, Owen Farrell, Elliot Daly; Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray; Mako Vunipola (jack McGrath, 64), Jamie George, Tadhg Furlong (Kyle Sinckler, 62); Maro Itoje, Alun Wyn Jones (Courtney Lawes, 59); Sam Warburton, Sean O’Brien, Taulupe Faletau.