DHL Lions Series: All Blacks and Lions Share Spoils. LWOS Player Ratings

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New Zealand v British & Irish Lions
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 08: All Black captain Kieran Read and Lions captain Sam Warburton following the drawn Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions at Eden Park on July 8, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Eden Park depicted a hollow atmosphere on Saturday, after the Lions drew 15-15 with the All Blacks, thus ensuring the 2018 DHL British and Irish Lions Series was shared.

For the Lions, it was a catch 22 – they avoided defeat, but they didn’t leave victorious. For New Zealand on the other hand, they will feel little else but disappointment.

In a monumental battle, it was balanced on a knife’s edge. A controversial late penalty was awarded to the All Blacks with a minute to go, only for referee Roman Poite to overturn his original decision – very much to the bemusement of the New Zealand population, and rugby fans who had waited 12 years for the outcome.

DHL Lions Series: All Blacks and Lions Share Spoils

First-half tries from starting All Blacks Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett gave the home side the upper hand at the break But 12 points from the boot of Owen Farrell, including a massive Elliot Daly ‘special’ meant honours were even.

If any solace exists from this series for the Lions, it is that ‘heart and commitment truly can match outright talent’ if their application is correctly applied. Several Lions players have certainly endeared themselves to the rugby world. The DHL Series has highlighted new stars, they have beaten the ‘rugby odds’ to match the World Champion New Zealand team. With some stellar performances by individuals; noted in these LWOS player ratings.

Those men will be eagerly awaited their return by a Northern hemisphere rugby public whom they have done proud. Proud themselves, and most will never forget the British and Irish Lions experience and fellowship.

So, fans will now ask ‘how did the XV who took the field in new Zealand fare?’

Last Word on Rugby Player Ratings:

Mako Vunipola 7/10

A marked improvement on last week from last weeks underwhelming performance against the All Blacks. Scrummaged better but didn’t offer a threat in the open field.

Jamie George 6/10

Wasn’t his night in Auckland. Usually immensely reliable with his lineout delivery but was replaced by Ken Owens when he became vulnerable.

Tadhg Furlong 7/10

One of the men of the series for the Lions. Excellent ball carrier and equally prominent in the scrum

Maro Itoje 8/10

The Saracen looked as if he could have just as easily worn an All Blacks jersey he was that good. Excellent lineout option and always keen to carry.

Alun Wyn Jones 7/10

A huge presence in defense and justified his inclusion after some lacklustre performances earlier on in the series.

Sam Warburton 8/10

The captain was excellent against the All Blacks in Auckland. Gave away some contentious penalties early on but his presence at the breakdown was impressive. But in the end, his handshake (above) with Kieran Read should make him a very proud Lions captain.

Sean O’Brien 6/10

Robbed of the chance of another standout performance when he was replaced after a heavy knock. Nevertheless his physicality was clear from the start.

Taulupe Faletau 8/10

From the start proved that he was capable of filling Billy Vunipola’s shoes. An excellent footballer and his battle with Kieran Read was thrilling.

Conor Murray 8/10

Another man who can leave with his head held high. Went toe for toe with Aaron Smith throughout the series. Box kicked brilliantly and a massive leader.

Jonny Sexton 7/10

Had some great variety to his game. Kicked at the right times and with great accuracy but was also keen to take the All Blacks on physically.

Owen Farrell 8/10

Mr.Reliable with his boot. Kicked four from four this week and like many of his team mates has proven that he is every bit the player Beauden Barrett can be.

Jonathan Davies 7/10

An ever present throughout the tour. Wasn’t able to cut the lines he has for the past few weeks but offered a great threat ball in hand.

Elliot Daly 8/10

Kicked a penalty from his own half to ensure the Lions drew the series. Was able to show his pace in the open field. Certainly justified his inclusion.

Anthony Watson 7/10

A battle of attrition at Eden Park meant Watson was starved of opportunities against the All Blacks. Made some vital tackles in defense.

Liam Williams 8/10

Another man who can raise his hand for man of the series. Offered great threat in the open field but made a few errors under the high ball.

British and Irish Lions total: 110%

The third test was probably where each side were more studied on the other, than the opening test or controversial second. Tactically, both managed to excite the crowd yet the pressure mounted on each. As that happened the game became more centered. It was a game that wasn’t able to open up as easily. Which was great for purists, but was less exciting than test one of the DHL Lions Series.

A draw is never pretty. If you had asked ‘what were the rugby betting tips on that outcome?’ you would be a rich man. But a draw; it would feel like a win for each. But the home nation fans may still believe they came away from the second and third tests especially, in a less secure number position–still number one–but being chased harder now from the very best [composite side] that the United Kingdom can muster.

A very entertaining and compelling test series.

“Main photo credit”

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