Lions punish tired All Blacks
It was a role reversal in the World Rugby Classic final as the Classic Lions stormed to a comfortable 22-5 victory over the All Blacks in a repeat of last year’s showpiece match on Saturday night.
Having been well beaten by the All Blacks 12 months ago, the Lions were in no mood to endure a similar outcome, making a blistering start through Stuart Moffat, the former Scotland wing, who scored after five minutes.
Somewhat against the run of play, the Lions then extended their lead when Barry Davies powered his way over the line in the 28th minute with Ceri Sweeney converting to make it 12-0.
The All Blacks, who won last year’s final 17-3, forced their way back into the game early in the second half after Johnny Weston, the lively scrum half, scored between the posts in front of a packed house at the North Field, National Sports Centre.
However, they were pegged back again when Gareth Bowen kicked a penalty on 45 minutes, before Ollie Smith completed the rout by scoring his side’s third and final try in the last attack of the game.
Allan Martin, the Lions manager, said he was slightly surprised by the margin of his side’s win.
“It was pretty comprehensive and I think we were on top from the very beginning,” said the former Wales lock. “I was a little bit surprised by the size of the win, although we have got some talented runners in our team.
“I think the All Blacks looked a bit tired at the end and we took advantage of that. By no means was it an easy win, though.”
Martin believed his team had the bit between their teeth after suffering a one-sided defeat in last year’s final against the same opposition.
“I think we had about 80 per cent of the players from last year and they understood what to do,” he said.
“Bermuda is a great place to be, but the rugby is getting tougher. You rarely play three games in a week and that’s tough, especially with all the socialising.
“It does mean a lot to players and there’s not many of us who have been a winning side against the All Blacks.
“I’m really pleased for the boys because they’ve put a lot of work in this week, as well as a lot of drinking!”
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