All Blacks the Better Team

Hey the sun still came up this morning! Rugby fan, Wendy Eglinton

The referee lost it

By Roger Childs

Honours shared

His performance was better that Wayne Barnes shocker in the World Cup quarter final in 2007. Nevertheless, in the deciding test last night Romain Poite denied the All Blacks a well deserved victory against the Lions.

In reversing his original correct decision in awarding a penalty when Ken Owens caught the ball in an offside position, Beauden Barrett did not have the chance to make the score 18-15.

But it’s all history now, the score remains, and the Lions know they were lucky to scrape a draw. On the positive side, the 20,000 visiting fans will go home happy with series drawn.

All Blacks had their ups and downs

Laumape scores

In the first half the home side scored two excellent tries. Hurricanes Jordie Barrett and Ngani Laumape, having their first tests in the run-on team, had a part in both. The first try resulted from a beautifully placed kick by brother Beauden and Barrett junior leapt high to knock the ball back in field and Laumape was there to pull it in and dive over in the corner.

Barrett scores

Number two followed an excellent back movement which included a superb off-load from Laumape, allowing Jordie a clear run to the line.

The Lions never looked like scoring a try, however knock-ons and poor passes cost the All Backs at least three more. Julian Savea dropped a sitter early on with a clear run to the line, however late in the game, the referee called a forward pass that looked like a line ball when Savea again had the prospect of the clear run to score.

Gamesmanship from the Lions

The visitors played well in patches, but never threatened the All Black line. The home team played the game at pace and one got the impression that whenever the Lions forwards were getting tired there would be an “injury break”. However, when the Jerome Kaino was sent off for ten minutes, there were no injury stoppages.

There was also a soccer-style Hollywood when the Lions fullback deliberately ran into Israel Dagg and fell to the ground with a pained expression. When the referee didn’t buy that one, he was quickly on his feet and back in position.

Referee Poite about to change his mind

Whenever crucial decisions went against them, there would be anxious discussions with the referee and half back Connor Murray tried to talk one of the assistant referees into ruling against the All Blacks.

In the crucial late penalty reversal, it was captain Sam Warburton who seemed to convince the referee that it was an accidental off-side and thus warranted only a scrum.

This was even though the replay clearly showed Ken Burns catching the ball, then dropping it like hot potato when he realised he was in front of his team mate who originally handled the ball.

Not to worry, it’s only a game, and as Steve Hansen said it was not the World Cup final!