Lions tour: Mako Vunipola should've seen red card for Beauden Barrett clear-out
Make no mistake about it - Mako Vunipola should have been given his permanent marching orders for his off-the-ball tackle on All Blacks' pivot Beauden Barrett, according to former Lions midfielder Will Greenwood.
Vunipola copped a yellow card for his indiscretion, but the Lions were able to recover well from his 10-minute loss and went on to win the game 24-21.
But under game's rules, the contact to Barrett's head warranted a red card, similar to the one which saw Sonny Bill Williams sent from the field earlier in the night.
"The first time I saw it I thought [Vunipola] was going to go, he was going to take a walk," Greenwood told RadioLIVE's Sunday Sport.
"[Vunipola] had already been penalised for a previous late shot on Barrett, which you could argue he should have received a yellow for.
"I don't think there would have been too much of an uproar from Lions fans and coaches if Vunipola had received a red card."
Greenwood said the win for the tourists was enthralling, but when all is said and done, they came to New Zealand to beat the All Blacks twice.
The 2003 World Cup winner believes the Lions would have grown in confidence last night, but will realise the ultimate challenge awaits on Saturday in Auckland.
"It's something that can never be taken away from them. They have won a Test match in New Zealand and there are very few people who manage to do that," Greenwood said.
"The series is about having more Ws (wins) than Ls (losses), come the end of the 14-day Test extravaganza that we have going on.
"You don't want to be the plucky loser that gets back into it but then suffers the knockout blow back in Auckland and you go home losing 2-1, they are absolutely aware of that."
Greenwood said the next seven days will determine a lot.
"[The Lions] will go down as all-time greats if they can win, but if they lose it will be a constant, niggly shadow over the rest of their careers that they gave themselves a shot at the title but failed to pull it off," he said.
"A lot of things went their way in Wellington so they have to be sure they find a way to dictate the rules of engagement next weekend, which will allow things to go their way in terms of the scoreboard."
Eden Park is quite the fortress for the All Blacks, which haven't lost a Test in Auckland since 1994.
Greenwood said that beating the world champions at their spiritual home will be a daunting task for Warren Gatland's men.
"Teams go there to lose. It's a graveyard. You go along and you find the old dead bones of some of the greatest teams of all time," he said.
"But the Lions have a spring in their step now. At the end of that game, the [Lions] boys were able to look up at that scoreboard and read All Blacks 21 - Lions 24, and with that they got the amazing sense of self belief.
"They know they can beat them and with that achieve rugby immortality. They are 80 minutes away from glory."
Despite his glowing words, Greenwood admits the All Blacks are the favourites to win the Test.