Lions tour: British Lions' grit see them hold off Crusaders

  • 10/06/2017

The Lions have bounced back from the disappointment of their loss to the Blues with a gritty 12-3 win over the Crusaders on a slippery night in Christchurch.

It was a frustrating night for both teams as they struggled for continuity and ball retention with a fine and beautiful Christchurch day culminating in a greasy night.

The visitors exploded out of the blocks with Warren Gatland's men demonstrating from the outset the willingness to go wide through Owen Farrell, Ben Te'o and Jonathan Davies.

Upping their tempo and improving their coverage on defence, the Lions suffocated the Crusaders who will be seething after conceding well more than their average amount of penalties.

The Lions made them pay with sharpshooter Farrell knocking over four from five whilst the Crusaders could just manage the one penalty from Richie Mo'unga.

Farrell was arguably the player of the night as the Lions were forced to improvise with Anthony Watson and Liam Williams coming on following first half injuries to star fullback Stuart Hogg and centre Davies.

The Crusaders may been undefeated in Super Rugby but they showed none of the quality that saw them to 14 consecutive victories. Struggling with ball in hand, first five Mo'unga was far too content to put the ball to boot, looking bereft of any ideas in the driver's set.

Odd selections for the home side might come under the microscope as well with David Havili - who's starred at fullback for the Crusaders this season - moved to 12 with Israel Dagg assuming the spot at the back.

Question marks will also fall over the Crusaders' forward pack who conceded five penalties.

The performance will give the Lions squad heart after they showed just what they have to offer on this tour of New Zealand. 

Starting in his first match of the tour, Irish half Conor Murray was very impressive with his box kicking often troubling the Crusaders' back three. 

The Lions will now head further south to Dunedin where they play the Highlanders.