Lions tour: British and Irish Lions trump 14-man All Blacks 24-21 in Wellington

  • 01/07/2017

The British and Irish Lions have stormed home on the back of a one-man advantage to beat the All Blacks 24-21 and level the series 1-1.

Reduced to 14 men after Sonny Bill Williams was shown a red card in the 25th minute, the world champions looked like pulling off a famous win on Saturday night when they pulled nine points clear midway through the second half.

However, two tries in the final quarter and a decisive penalty to Owen Farrell with three minutes remaining ensures the series will go to a decider in Auckland.

The result ends a world record winning home record streak that stretched back 47 Tests since 2009 for the All Blacks.

It was also their first loss in Wellington in 17 Tests.

Conor Murray crashes over for the Lions
Conor Murray crashes over for the Lions Photo credit: Getty

The All Blacks won 30-15 at Eden Park last week but they couldn't establish the same dominance at Westpac Stadium against more committed opponents and with Williams watching on.

In what could prove to be the defining moment of tour, cross-code star Williams became the first All Black sent off in a Test in 50 years for a reckless shoulder charge on Lions winger Anthony Watson.

The scores were locked 3-3 at the time after a tense, kicking-based beginning brought on by wet and windy conditions.

All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett and Lions No.12 Owen Farrell added to their early penalties with two further successes each to take the half-time score to 9-9.

New Zealand dominated the third quarter when Barrett slotted three of the seven penalties he landed.

The Lions' frustration translated into ill-discipline, most glaringly when prop Mako Vunipola infringed twice in quick succession with late hits on a defenceless Barrett, the second of which resulted in a 55th-minute yellow card.

Sonny Bill Williams sees red after reckless tackle
Sonny Bill Williams sees red after reckless tackle Photo credit: Getty

However, that seemed to spark the tourists into life, setting up No.8 Toby Faletau for the game's only try, powering through Israel Dagg in the left corner.

Barrett pushed the All Blacks seven points clear but it was rubbed out when halfback Conor Murray darted over.

Farrell converted and was on song again in the closing stages when All Blacks reserve prop Charlie Faumuina was deemed to have made dangerous tackle despite going low on leaping Lions reserve prop Kyle Sinckler.

The Lions' big finish was built around some ferocious defence, bringing a smile to coach Warren Gatland, who had called for more physicality from his team.

The Lions have a shot at winning just their second series in 13 visits to New Zealand, with their only other triumph coming in 1971.

The last All Black to be sent off was Colin Meads, against Scotland at Murrayfield in 1967.

The only other All Black to be sent off in the side's history is Cyril Brownlie, who was sent off against England at Twickenham in 1925.

The three-match series is now tied at 1-1 after New Zealand won the first game 30-15 last week in Auckland.

The final and deciding Test will be next Saturday back at Eden Park in Auckland.

ALL BLACKS TEST RED CARDS:

- Cyril Brownlie vs England, 1925

- Colin Meads vs Scotland, 1967

- Sonny Bill Williams vs British and Irish Lions, 2017

Reuters 

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