Gatland, Barretts among winners from from All Blacks and British & Irish Lions draw

Our rugby expert Chris Bailey picks out the key talking points after the All Blacks and British & Irish Lions are forced to settle for historic draw

Chris Bailey
by Chris Bailey
8th July 2017

article:8th July 2017

Share of the spoils: Kieran Read and Sam Warburton
Share of the spoils: Kieran Read and Sam Warburton

After 240-minutes of high-octane rugby, nothing could separate the All Blacks and British & Irish Lions.

It is just the second time the Lions have drawn a series and though there was an anti-climactic feel at Eden Park when the full-time whistle went, both sides emerged with heaps of credit.

We tease out the five talking points with an eye to the future in mind – it’s just a shame we will have to wait 12 years for the next episode of this particular rivalry.

The Lions are dead, long live the Lions

This tour may be in the history books but it will certainly be preserved for posterity.

It has been a huge success, showing that a group of players who were thrown into action just three days after landing in New Zealand can represent a fabled concept so well – and take so much pride in it.

Even with the realignment of the rugby calendar and health issues in the spotlight, surely the Lions will survive.

A knock on both sides

It was one of the most pulsating, helter-skelter, edge-of-the-seat Test matches of all-time – but it certainly was not the most accurate.

The All Blacks committed 11 knock-ons and the Lions were hardly better, coming in with a costly nine.

Compare that to the second Test, in which the teams conceded five handling errors apiece in often torrential conditions. Both camps will be thinking of what could have been.

Welsh wonders

Gatland has had to deal with charges of Welsh favouritism ever since he announced his team, but his decisions have been fully justified.

Taulupe Faletau’s all-action displays softened the loss of Billy Vunipola while Liam Williams brought some excitement to the backs, and Jonathan Davies was arguably the man of the tour at outside centre.

The much-maligned duo of Alun Wyn Jones and Sam Warburton, thought of as both off-form ahead of the second Test, did much of the unseen work in stopping New Zealand’s quick ball.

The future is Barrett

Welcome to Test rugby, Jordie Barrett – it looks like we’ll be seeing quite a lot of you in the next decade.

The 20-year-old was sensational on debut, in a Lions series decider no less, knocking down his brother’s kick for Ngani Laumape’s try before getting over himself.

He and elder brother Beauden have an almost telepathic understanding. Rieko Ioane (2) and Laumape also scored in the series on their full starts. The All Blacks should be alright going forward…

Jordie Barrett of the All Blacks scores his sides second try

Gatland passes audition

If Warren Gatland had designs on the All Blacks job, he had to shake off his reputation for one-dimensional rugby while also forging a side that could compete with the world’s best. Both boxes have been ticked.

The Lions’ attack grew into the tour, while their rush defence for the most part put the shackles on their hosts.

He is still an outsider to take over after the 2019 World Cup – up against All Blacks assistant coach Ian Foster – but he’s given himself hope.

Head coach Steve Hansen talks with head coach Warren Gatland



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