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The High Five: Maori All Blacks vs British and Irish Lions

Diggercane Roar Guru

By Diggercane, Diggercane is a Roar Guru & Live Blogger


147 Have your say

    Owen Farrell of the Lions, left, and Johnny Sexton.(AAP IMAGE/Adam Binns)

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    The British and Irish Lions have completed a comprehensive win over the Maori All Blacks by 32 points to 10 in difficult conditions in Rotorua to secure their most impressive win of their tour to date.

    They continue to shape up nicely ahead of their first test against the All Blacks next Saturday night.

    Lions are building momentum
    The rigours of the tour schedule have been debated ad nauseum but I feel now that the Lions have managed the difficult schedule remarkably well, despite the two losses to date.

    There is a clear difference between the midweek versus the Test side. The Test side have stepped up another level from their hard-earned victory over the Crusaders to dominate a strong Maori side and secure a comfortable and ruthless victory.

    While many, myself included have wondered about Warren Gatland’s appointment and strategies to date. There is no doubt he has a clear plan that is certainly starting to bear fruit, whether it is enough to beat the All Blacks or not. Well, we do not have much longer to wait and see.

    Lions impress with their clinical efficiency
    Control, composure and an 80-minute effort were all hallmarks of this Lions performance as they utilised their obvious forward strength to dismantle the Maori challenge in Rotorua.

    They dominated the Maori pack and choked the star-studded backline of any decent ball to mount any serious challenges. They had an excellent pin point kicking game denying the lethal Maori back three any real counter-attacking opportunities.

    Their discipline was outstanding, conceding just four penalties to the 14 given away by the Maori, including a yellow card to halfback Tawera Kerr Barlow, the straw that broke the camel’s back, or more aptly, the Maori resistance in this match.

    For the first time on tour, the Lions set piece was at its expected efficient best, kick offs secure, lineout tidy on their own ball, aggressive on the Maori throw and the criticised scrum finally baring its teeth. The Irish tighthead Tadhg Furlong was particularly impressive, as the Maori side struggled to contain the Lions second shove, and the maul shone as the Maori pack struggled to contain the onslaught.

    The backs also were very tidy, led by halfback Connor Murray and any doubts over Jonny Sexton starting the Test if Owen Farrell proves unavailable were erased, taking on the line on several occasions, linking with his centres nicely. Ben Te’o at second five was a constant menace with ball in hand and has provided a nice headache for the Lions coaches if Farrell is available.

    Problem areas for the Lions
    While the Test team for the Lions looks fairly straight forward with the majority of the 23 looking set and stone, the headaches now for Gatland and co seem to be who to leave out.

    This is particularly the case at lock, loose forward and at 10 and 12. There will be a bit of head scratching over one of his wing positions with George North not showing his best form while other candidates such as Jack Nowell, Tommy Seymour and Elliot Daly not catching the eye.

    The overall composition of his bench will require a few meetings I would think to decide what they want from their reserve bench and how it can counter act the serious impact the All Blacks have been managing to garner from their replacements.

    Is Sam Warburton the man to cover the back row? Does Alan Wyn Jones start with Maro Itoje likely to add more as an impact player? Can Rhys Webb match the likely increase in tempo that TJ Perenara has been able to provide? Who is that player that the Lions can bring on to spark the backline if required? Some interesting questions to consider for the overall Lions 23-man Test side.

    Bored? Are you not entertained?
    After what I thought was a really impressive display from this Lions side, I was rather perplexed by a number of comments on Social Media and within the media describing the game as tedious and the Lions lacking flair, and so it went on.

    Why? Their clinical execution and dominant set piece was a joy to watch, some of the critical areas of rugby done extremely well and I for one was enthralled, just as I was with the All Blacks on Friday night as they tore through the Samoan defence.

    One of the attractions of this game to me is the ability to play in many different styles, to compose various strategies and the eventual clash on the field, based on the skills you have and the opposition you encounter.

    The clinical efficiency of the Lions was also a pleasure to observe against a very good side. They utilised their greatest assets in difficult conditions to dismantle their opposition and nullify their biggest threats in the backs to ultimately win and win very well. It was emphatic and I just do not understand why that is worth disparaging in some quarters.

    The puzzling selection curiosity
    It has always been puzzling to me to see many players selected to play at higher levels of the game in positions that they have not been frequenting on a regular basis. So it was with an arched eyebrow I digested Damian McKenzie selected at first five for the Maori and pondered how this would work out, knowing he has not played in the position for some time.

    Now I am not suggesting that I know more than the coaches employed, nor do I have access to the countless streams of data and statistics that get sifted through at the top end. However, sometimes you just know that some things just don’t go, like loose forwards playing at lock in places like Chicago for instance.

    So there are my main talking points. The Lions tour has now reached its halfway point and I am sure there are plenty more points up for discussion as we look forward to the next match on tour, against the Chiefs in Hamilton on Tuesday night.

    This will help pass what shapes as a very long week, waiting for the first Test to get underway on Saturday night.

    A Rotundity and happy ex hooker who just loves Rugby really, oh and my kids and Kendra of course who lets me watch as much Rugby as I want, mostly. Follow Digby Ross on Twitter @Diggercane.

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    The Crowd Says (147)

    • June 18th 2017 @ 3:28am
      Jeff dustby said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:28am | ! Report

      It’s not a tough schedule

      • June 18th 2017 @ 11:36am
        Diggercane said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

        I disagree

      • June 18th 2017 @ 5:08pm
        Jacko said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:08pm | ! Report

        5 super rugby sides and 3 tests against the ABs would appear to be a tough assignment for any team

    • Roar Guru

      June 18th 2017 @ 3:31am
      The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:31am | ! Report

      Great wrap Digger as always.

      I have been pretty vocal about the schedule presents a unique opportunity to prepare the Lions to face the AB’s. And as so you say, Gatland has played it well so far. He got his Test side and it seems the mid-weekers are in good spirit.

      The negativity from Kiwi media and some random commentators is very much expected. To go on about “boring rugby” and the “future of the game” and bla bla bla is very unsportsmanlike and shows very little understanding that rugby is a game for everyone and can be played in many different ways.

      The Lions should and could score more tries, but they are creating chances non-stop, something that is conveniently forgotten by many Kiwi commentators. If that last pass starts to stick, the AB’s will be in huge trouble.

      The only selection issues the Lions have is where Farrell gonna play and who is going to replace George North. Apart from that, it is all settled me think.
      The bench could be a little bit trickier to pick.

      What about Itoje and Kruis Digger? Seems like Retallick and Whitelock will meet their match here. Epic battle to be expected.

      And finally, big props to the Maori. They faced a superior opponent today, still, they did not allow any soft tries or lacked effort in the tackle. Normally when a team is dominated for the full 80 minutes – like the Maori was – they ship 60-70-80 points, like Samoa yesterday.

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 3:52am
        taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:52am | ! Report

        Yes they do, except this Lions side is not capable of shipping 80 points here. They don’t have the finishing skills to do that.

        You’re too reactive Neutral. You’ve gone from one end to the other in this series.

        The Lions are a good side, but certainly we have had better sides here, and certainly more fo creative ones.

        Retallick and Whitelock have met their match in Itoje and Kruis? Honestly. Where have you been all these years?

        • Roar Guru

          June 18th 2017 @ 4:09am
          The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 18th 2017 @ 4:09am | ! Report

          You’re too reactive Neutral. You’ve gone from one end to the other in this series.

          Show me one comment where I have said the AB’s gonna win the series. Show me and everyone else. Getting a wee bit tired of you spreading lies about me.

          About who is gonna win the series and the battle between the locks, hold on for another week and we shall get the first answer.

          • Roar Guru

            June 18th 2017 @ 4:25am
            taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 4:25am | ! Report

            I’m sure you said you had a bet on the Lions winning 2-1, but oh before that it was they would win one test, the non Eden park one. I’m not spreading lies Sweden, cos it’s too hard to keep up with each version you havevat any given time. Youre all over the place. I don’t think you even remember what you’re saying yourself!

            Yes we’ll get the answer re the locks, but I know the answer to that one anyway, as do most rugby supporters. Between them Whitlock, Retallick and Read have been the best lineout in test rugby for at least three seasons and you’re suggesting Itoje, in his first series v the ABs, and Kruis are going to be a match? Read and Retallick have both been voted World player of the year by World rugby.

            Highly unlikely. Don’t read anything into the pre matches. Have a look at previous Lions tours. The Lions win nearly every match leading into the first test, then just about always lose the first test, yet here they’re 3 and 2, worse than previous tours.

            I just wouldn’t go on one of your kiwis don’t know this or that, the kiwi media say this or that campaigns this week as it seems like you’re winding up for it. Just a suggestion.

            Sit back and relax…and take it all in stride.

            • Roar Guru

              June 18th 2017 @ 4:53am
              The Neutral View From Sweden said | June 18th 2017 @ 4:53am | ! Report

              Prove your claims about me. Prove it.

              It is very easy to prove if what you say it true, just go to my profile and look through my comments.
              Show me – and everyone else – the comments that prove what you say about me is true.
              Show the world that you are not a liar.
              Or keep very quiet.

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 6:05am
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:05am | ! Report

                Yes I stand corrected on this one…

                “. And hey, I actually don’t predict AB’s to lose two Test in a row this summer. They will lose Test 1 and 3 at Eden Park. ”

                I read it initially as the Lions losing tests one and three at Eden park so apologies there.

                Though had I realised that at the time I would have taken up the absurdity of the claim.

                So you’re saying the ABs will lose two in a row at Eden park, a ground no one has beaten them even once at in the professional era?

                A ground that no side has won two in a row at, ever, the only time the ABs have lost two in a row there (winning other tests elsewhere in between though) was Aus and France in 78,79 ten months between tests. And that includes the days when we were losing domestic tests.

                All I can say is take a bet on that because I’d say you’d be a rich man if that comes in.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 5:14pm
                Jacko said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:14pm | ! Report

                Neutral you have many times said the lions will beat the ABs. You have said you have backed them to win the series either 3-0 or 2-1 and you have said it will only take 22-23 players to beat the ABs in the series.
                Thats enough proof for me

            • June 19th 2017 @ 10:44pm
              Henry Honey Balls said | June 19th 2017 @ 10:44pm | ! Report

              The NZ locks are very good alright but a bit like the ABs in general not as good as you suggest Taylorman. I reckon the Lions pack is overall stronger than the NZ pack and this is where the challenge will lie for the ABs.

              Good summary Sweden. Kiwi media tends to be the most parochial or locally biased of all rugby nations media but they also have some good pundits. An AB could kill a baby and the media and fans would find a way to justify it.

        • June 18th 2017 @ 2:40pm
          Jibba Jabba said | June 18th 2017 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

          Kruis and Itojoe, no way they can get any near where Retallick & Whitelock .. legally…
          That bloke Watson is the real thing and will be one of the Lions outside backs, one of the few with current flair.

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 9:37am
        Jokerman said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:37am | ! Report

        They were boring as! The Lions suffocate the skill of the other team, so it makes the game dull. It’s oppressive and it works.

        The All Blacks are another matter, they will be at one with the matrix; formed and to be delivered. The All Blacks will unrafavel the Lions boring system; break it down…in a moment delivered by a systematic pressure or in the last 20 where we will see the red wall crumble.

        The Lions won’t bully the All Blacks. Game on bro !! :)))

        Oh and I see Cheika hasnt changed much ! What did I say eh?!! Yeah you know…!

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 11:57am
        Diggercane said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:57am | ! Report

        Hi Viking,

        Mate, very much looking forward to those second rows going head to head, an excellent contest looms.

        • Columnist

          June 18th 2017 @ 5:00pm
          Nicholas Bishop said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:00pm | ! Report

          Indeed Digger, and that’s what a genuine rugby supporter lives for – real challengers to the crown!

          And there’s nothing more boring than a rugby watcher who’s only prepared to watch one style of play, or one side winning all of the time! 🙂

          • Roar Guru

            June 18th 2017 @ 5:27pm
            taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:27pm | ! Report

            Yes good point Nick, I guess my take on the boredom thing is I don’t want that particular style to be that one style, here.

            I found it an enthralling match but I constantly project what Im seeing out to what we want in our sport as an entertainment, what we see in our youth, what excites us every week to get out and watch it.

            Henry has inspired that thinking in that when we had the issue with the Boks playing ‘without the ball’ I.e. Sending it to the corners for the big Matfield lineouts, or ‘catching’ the player with the ball and the rules that advantaged the attacking team.

            All the discussion and analysis that went on around 2008,09 and how we had to find these juggernaut players and apply this ‘play without the ball’ strategy made it feel the game was getting away from us. Did we really want to simply find the biggest lumps in the land so we could have a never ending run of lineouts on the opposition five meter line?

            At the end of 2009 after being beaten three times by the Boks that year Henry stuck to his guns. We’re not going that way, ‘Kiwis’ won’t buy it, we don’t want to play that sort of rugby, and the bomb disposal units were created, the taking the big kicks in and running them back at them.

            That’s how we want to solve our problems in the game, with ball in hand, not through deploying big guys up front, securing the ball for long periods while we inch our way down the park and fall over the line, much of what happened for half the match.

            So although I agree one style is probably a bit narrow minded, but it is our style, it’s one we can teach our kids from the day they start. The Lions or 6N style is something that is taught when the game gets ‘serious’ when fun is no longer the most important element. At some point in a NH rugby career they have to remove some of the fun aspects to replace it with winning ones.

            We’ve played with that style in the past and simply choose not to anymore. When the north plays its matches the way the ABs do, and in some pockets of the game I believe they do, then perhaps the more than one style conversation can be had but for now we’ll play the way we do because we think it’s the best way to play, win AND enjoy the game.

            • Columnist

              June 18th 2017 @ 6:14pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:14pm | ! Report

              So although I agree one style is probably a bit narrow minded, but it is our style, it’s one we can teach our kids from the day they start. The Lions or 6N style is something that is taught when the game gets ‘serious’ when fun is no longer the most important element. At some point in a NH rugby career they have to remove some of the fun aspects to replace it with winning ones.

              I fully understand where you’re coming from T-man and I respect the way NZ rugby has had to develop.

              However I would also say that the Lions’ style is at its most basic level a response to the ridiculously short time frame for preparation given to WG and his squad. There has simply not been the time to evolve an attacking structure, which means that the Lions are very straightforward in this respect – and they don’t have the coaches on board to do it. Take a look at Saracens (who were where the Lions are now a few years ago) and you’ll see how much time that process can take.

              But the Lions are not typical of NH as a whole. The EPL is upping its entertainment value, sides like Scotland and England are improving – just look at the two recent Tests England played in Argentina for evidence of how the younger players are being encouraged to play. The best side in Europe (Saracens) have installed a 4G pitch and play an all-round, high-tempo game with a different emphasis, but no less quality than NZ regional teams.

              So please do not assume that no-one has any fun playing rugby up here. We do.

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 6:37pm
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

                Cool, sounds scary actually, particularly with the quality of the English players coming through.

                I guess you’re going for England to defend their U20 title in a few hours?

                That should be one heck of a game! It will be interesting to see how both sides approach this one. Our side looks pretty good, the hooker, 10 and Eroni Clarke’s ( incidentally I know him through my partners family- one if the nicest blokes I’ve ever met) boy has promise as well.

                Didn’t watch a lot of it as they’re at awful hours and not really advertised much here. They kind of spring up on you these tournaments.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 10:45pm
                Colin N said | June 18th 2017 @ 10:45pm | ! Report

                “I guess you’re going for England to defend their U20 title in a few hours?”

                I would be surprised if England won, simply because they’ve got so many missing. Five have been out in Argentina with the first team, four of those certain starters, and injuries have also hampered them.

                They lost their first choice full-back to injury before the tournament and have seen both first choice centres go down.

                Add to the fact that New Zealand have been ominously good this tournament and it could be a difficult afternoon for England. New Zealand have also been so solid at the set-piece (a real area of weakness last year) whereas England have struggled in both the scrum and lineout.

              • Roar Guru

                June 19th 2017 @ 1:07am
                taylorman said | June 19th 2017 @ 1:07am | ! Report

                Yes so far that looks to be the case, NZ 40-7 at half time, dominating everywhere, even the scrum with a tighthead and a couple of pushbacks. NZ looking very sharp in the backs as well.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2017 @ 8:20am
            Diggercane said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:20am | ! Report

            Cheers Nick though to be perfectly honest, its not too arduous to see your team win all the time! 😉

      • June 19th 2017 @ 7:51am
        Shaun said | June 19th 2017 @ 7:51am | ! Report

        Every test series the media and public have been critical of the warm up games being walk overs for the Lions, and too easy a build up. Now when they are getting pushed in every game they are being criticised for the schedule being too tough??? Cant have it both ways

    • Roar Guru

      June 18th 2017 @ 4:04am
      taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 4:04am | ! Report

      The main difference between the sides the Lions have faced so far is the ABs are used to playing Northern hemisphere sides. Except for the few ABs in the Super and Maori squads those sides are not.

      They’re all used to Super rugby, where they expect to get a reasonable share of possession and territory because both sides are usually looking to attack.

      They’re not used to ‘greedy’ sides. Ones that won’t even use the good ball they get for fear of either losing it or losing control. Tries are a by-product for the Lions gameplan…move the ball close to the line and fall over it.

      That’s it, Warrenball at its best.

      ABs and Hansen know this, the other sides don’t. They see it and beat it every year in June and November, and in the World cups, those in the Super and Maori sides don’t play any of that type of game, and it showed last night. They had no idea how to manage the pressure applied by the Lions.

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 12:07pm
        Diggercane said | June 18th 2017 @ 12:07pm | ! Report

        Hi Tman,

        Yes I can see your point but the Maoris toured North last year, so I don’t really but it to be honest.

        In my mind, that presents a flaw in the gameplan employed last night and that is such reliance on counter attack and turnover ball is detrimental to many sides, they were not prepared and it showed, similar to the hurricanes effort against the Crusaders a wee while ago.

        The Lions created a few opportunities, Sexton Te’o and Davies broke plenty though it is certainly a concern that they have not been able to finish and that is the pure difference between the Lions and ABs, along with the bench as I see it.

        The one try the Maori scored was from unstructured play and then it should have been cleaned up by North, It was a warning shot to the Lions early in the match that mistakes will be punished and they tightened the screws, it was impressive. That’s not timid, that is intelligent, also considering the conditions and the Maori had no answer. In the end you don’t jump into a boxing ring knowing your opponent has a strong right hook and continually give him a chance to use it.

        The Maori made poor selection decisions in pivotal positions and were unprepared for what they faced and for the level of ability in this side, it was somewhat inexcusable.

        • June 18th 2017 @ 1:55pm
          Akari said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

          The Maori made poor selection decisions in pivotal positions and were unprepared for what they faced and for the level of ability in this side, it was somewhat inexcusable.

          Agree to that and the Maori coach should have known this as the last time McKenzie played as a 10 this year, he was rather underwhelming. Perhaps, Kerr-Barlow’s rather laboured and slowish service was at fault and I could clearly see why he could not crack into the top 2 for the ABs.

          I’m not sure that Chris Eves should have been in the side also. Another thing, Messam looked tired and was dropping balls if not falling off tackles. He should have been taken off around the 45-50th as he was surprisingly ineffective by around then. Akira Ioane was massive though and moved to 8 at the start of the 2nd half.

          • June 18th 2017 @ 2:42pm
            Jibba Jabba said | June 18th 2017 @ 2:42pm | ! Report

            Yep.. agreed Akari

          • June 18th 2017 @ 3:14pm
            Cuw said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:14pm | ! Report

            just maybe the all black selectors wanted to see DMAC at 10 , again. i am a firm believer that there are bigger things going on in these matches ( and selections ) than what meets the eye.

            for eg. Ardie had been at 8 for Hurricanes for a few games – and then suddenly he is at 8 for NZ!

            Lowe was poor at 15. they shud have put NMS there , who played 15 in ITM cup.

            Messam maybe playing with a broken nose still – he did last week for sure. but Dixon at 7 was not good considering he went against SOB.

            also proctor in centers , he has hardly played this season. Rob T made instant impact off bench.

            maybe the same players shud have been put in different numbers – and see some improvement.

            i dont think the NZ team will fear the Lions pack , simply becoz NZ have more cohesion than the maoris.

            for eg. the front 3 have been playing together for donkey’s years and they gave a hard time to the Lions front row in the crusaders match.

            • June 18th 2017 @ 3:46pm
              Akari said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:46pm | ! Report

              just maybe the all black selectors wanted to see DMAC at 10

              That may well be the case, Cuw. It’s also hard for the 10 if the HB is not playing to the high standard that he is well known for. Without taking anything away from the Lions, I thought Mo’unga’s game was similarly marred by the slow service from Hall during the Saders/Lions game too. Personally, It was irritating to watch.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 5:48pm
                Cuw said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:48pm | ! Report

                i thought Mounga was afraid of the defense – probably not wanting to get hurt (who can blame him).

                he never ran as i remember , where as in super rugger he was running to the line at every opportunity and causing lot of of the line breaks.

                if u noticed, D mac also did not run , which he does very effectively in super rugger. i mean it is his running that has so many fans after all 🙂

                so far the only guy who ran at lions is marty Banks !!!

            • June 18th 2017 @ 3:54pm
              moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

              Steve Hansen was asked about that specifically a couple days ago and he said they do not interfere with “Super or National” teams in that way.
              Make of that what you will.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 5:46pm
                Cuw said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:46pm | ! Report

                as if he will admit it. 😛

                but there was a report of an interview where Scot Robertson said he had had a chat with SH about playing Scot barrett at 6 and he was very keen to see it. he played just one time.

        • Columnist

          June 18th 2017 @ 4:54pm
          Nicholas Bishop said | June 18th 2017 @ 4:54pm | ! Report

          I think your view is the most balanced here Digger.

          I don’t understand how it is possible to say that the Maori (and presumably the Crusaders) do not know how to handle the Lions’ simply but well-executed game-plan when they had (as far as I can work out) at least twenty All Black players or squad members between them. All of these players had considerable experience of playing NH sides, and there are no great secrets in what the Lions are trying to do.

          Before each Saturday game we’ve heard “wait til you play the Crusaders/Maori” etc and now it’s all on the All Blacks. The Lions may have some obvious limitation in their style of play and their attacking game does not bear comparison with New Zealand’s, but they will still present a serious challenge in some key areas, and that will mean a genuine Test match at Eden Park.

          • June 18th 2017 @ 5:18pm
            Jacko said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:18pm | ! Report

            Agree Nick…Untill the 65 minute mark

            • Columnist

              June 18th 2017 @ 5:21pm
              Nicholas Bishop said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:21pm | ! Report

              Maybe Jacko, but I believe the Lions certainly have it in them to win at least one Test match, and I anticipate a tight series overall.

          • June 18th 2017 @ 5:22pm
            moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:22pm | ! Report

            I think most of us ( realists) know that Nic 😉

          • Roar Guru

            June 18th 2017 @ 5:32pm
            taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:32pm | ! Report

            Yes good point Nick…but…wait till the All Blacks!…(cos I can’t argue with that logic). ?
            Though I never picked the Maori to win. I did the Blues and Saders, but didn’t count on so many ABs in the Highlanders side for one reason or another, nor the way the Saders were beaten.

            I still think it’ll be a 3-0 series if anything because head to head the ABs have far more advantages. The only way the Lions can win is if they can stop the ABs very commonly seen periods of attack, and given the AB personnel, I just can’t see that happening.

          • June 19th 2017 @ 11:03am
            jemainok said | June 19th 2017 @ 11:03am | ! Report

            Hi Nick congratulations to your team, it was a really dominant effort, I think the Crusaders and Maori new how to handle the Lions they just didn’t execute right. Big questions for me are if the Lions or All Blacks lose the forward battle, how do they adapt? If the Lions or AB’s lose the contestable kick, what do they do? My thoughts are Hansen will put in the back 3 he see’s as best to deal with the contestable kick which could see J Barrett come into calculations, and A Smith was putting the ball on the money, So the AB forwards will have to work to give him space and keep the Lions from ruffing him up. A lot of interesting battles to look forward too but we won’t know the full story until both teams are named I guess.

    • June 18th 2017 @ 4:44am
      Partyhat said | June 18th 2017 @ 4:44am | ! Report

      I liked the game (the lions won)
      Someday I’ll write an article about the world rugby stereotypes .. I’ve been on the Roar since….? dunno, think I read Spiros email address after one of his articles in the SMH in 2007ish?
      , I lived from 2003-2009 in aus and enjoyed watching the Waratahs, (sort of),and also spent a few months in NZ
      there’s a few thing she that are annoying but in general – the truths that no one acknowledges are
      -Whatever Spiro says Stephen Jones says -people in NH think NZ are BRILLIANT at rugby
      – you may not believe it but people in NH assume the Wallabies are BRILLIANT at rugby and will tear them to shreds given half a chance

      It’s morning over there but you know when the evening sets in and the beers are flowing and you think…….if I’m gonna do one of my thrice yearly comments (woah, google didn’t correct thrice it MUST be a word) why did I start
      Anyway I think what I’m saying is thank you Digger, Chook, G Parkes , God I’ve drawn a blank , all you others who blog/comment/ assess/opinionate but don’t get narky/stereotypical and we can tell you love rugby and want rugby to be the winner,

      Ok I’ll stop now
      Thanks all on the Roar for us hundreds (thousands?) who don’t comment but read and still get irate but appreciate the commenters who pop their heads up to get shouted at


      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 4:56am
        taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 4:56am | ! Report

        Ha ha, have another beer party hat. It’s morning here and we’ve just seen the first win of hopefully 8 in the Americas cup yachting here, though I’m not sure they should be called boats given they don’t even touch the water, and the Springboks have just convincingly beaten France again.

        Stephen Jones, staunch AB fan, he just has trouble expressing it?

        • June 18th 2017 @ 5:17am
          Partyhat said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:17am | ! Report

          Sorry T-Man, how could I forget you…. I include you in my list of (somewhat!) reasonable posters….

          • Roar Guru

            June 18th 2017 @ 6:11am
            taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:11am | ! Report

            That’s ok part I’m always easily forgotten…I hope… I like to try and stay under the radar if I can but often fail miserably ?.

            I’m a bit of a ‘pulp’ poster. I just regurgitate anything swirling around in my head at the time…and sometimes get into a bit of trouble but hey… what’s life without a bit of argy bargy here and there…and most importantly YES! Thrice is in fact a word!?

      • June 18th 2017 @ 6:08am
        moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:08am | ! Report

        Partyhat ( still on your head?)
        “Thanks all on the Roar for us hundreds (thousands?) who don’t comment but read and still get irate but appreciate the commenters who pop their heads up to get shouted at”
        I second that motion!

        • June 18th 2017 @ 6:26am
          Partyhat said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:26am | ! Report

          Arrrrgh moaman , of course, , you too, you’re (relatively) reasonable as well!

          This could be a long night……..

          • Roar Guru

            June 18th 2017 @ 6:41am
            taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:41am | ! Report


          • June 18th 2017 @ 6:48am
            moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:48am | ! Report

            Damned with faint praise!

            • Columnist

              June 18th 2017 @ 12:38pm
              Geoff Parkes said | June 18th 2017 @ 12:38pm | ! Report

              Love your work Partyhat… Moa, you’re forever condemned as “relatively reasonable” 🙂

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 1:23pm
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:23pm | ! Report

                Is that better than ‘somewhat (with the brackets) reasonable’ Chook??

              • June 18th 2017 @ 3:55pm
                moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:55pm | ! Report

                Geoff; I will take it!!! Could be a whole lot worse…..

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 3:58pm
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:58pm | ! Report

                Yes moaman, it could be …somewhat!

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 3:59pm
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                Chook…sorry Geoff, teach me for trying to post twice at once…

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 12:09pm
        Diggercane said | June 18th 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

        Thanks Partyhat, appreciated.

        Am lloking forward to that Sterotype piece, sounds like fun.

    • June 18th 2017 @ 5:02am
      Rick Page said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:02am | ! Report

      Well played Lions, very impressive imposition of their style, how can anyone complain about a style that’s so effective, the idea is to win and they played to their strengths extremely well. However it wasn’t so strong a maori forward pack. The AB’s can be sure what’s coming at them and what they need to do, an AB forward pack can muscle up to that and get over the line via their superior offence/finishing, in what’s most likely to be a very hard fought and close first Test i’d say. Then they pull away for the series win, still 3-0 for mine.

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 12:11pm
        Diggercane said | June 18th 2017 @ 12:11pm | ! Report

        Cheers rick, it was certainly impressive, I may be showing my colours as front rower but the control and pressure exerted in the set piece was the highest quality and while we can appreciate all the ballerinas twirling around out wide, that was the basic tenants of the game executed superbly and ruthlessly.

    • Roar Guru

      June 18th 2017 @ 5:22am
      Poth Ale said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:22am | ! Report

      I’m kinda amused at all the spluttering from analysts and fans about the Lions style employed in this morning’s match. To a man, everyone said their style was predictable and everyone knew what their game plan would be. Faced with a NZ backline that was stuffed with players who would walk into any international side, according to some, the Lions duly delivered, and the “second best backline in the world”, didn’t.

      As I said at the outset, the Lions were going to target the Crusaders and Maoris matches as must-wins. And they’ve achieved that.

      How much these must-wins and the win/losses in the other, less-important matches will prepare them for the first test remains to be seen.

      It’s 3-2 to the Lions at the halfway point of the tour – a better result than some of the more excitable fans predicted at the outset. Can they win any of the remaining five?

      Plenty to look forward to.

      • June 18th 2017 @ 5:56am
        moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:56am | ! Report

        Poth Ale;
        It’s one thing to know what to expect and it’s another to deal with it, as you know.
        I expected the Lions to win because their pack looked a lot stronger on paper.
        I didn’t expect a total shut-out and I didn’t expect bad weather and I didn’t dream for one minute that the Maori team would peak at the Haka and go downhill very quickly from that point on.

        I have been keeping a weather eye on the TAB odds because I reckon they have a pretty canny handle on the real issues and don’t let bluster and bravado cloud their judgement too much.
        The Lions have been favourites with them in every match so far….and interestingly, going into last night’s match, their odds for the Lions winning the first Test had the tourists paying $5.50 to 1 for the win.
        AFter the game–they slashed those odds by a buck, give or take a few cents.

        We are all coming to these matches from different angles.Each of us has a different view and expectation and that is one of the things that makes these comment-sites interesting to read.
        For example I am intrigued that so many NH posters like yourself appear so sanguine at the prospect of tour losses by such a strong squad.I doubt many New Zealanders would be so ready to accept their team losing matches on a regular basis without a lot of teeth-gnashing and soul-searching!

        Next Saturday is where it all comes to the crunch and this phoney War will finally be over.Can’t wait.

        • Roar Guru

          June 18th 2017 @ 6:08am
          Poth Ale said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:08am | ! Report

          Agreed Moaman – one thing to know, another to deal with it.

          I was more commenting on the loud whinging about the Lions style – boring, tedious etc – after the match when everyone was saying beforehand that’s what they’d do.

          For all the complaints about the Lions, there hasn’t been much commentary on the somewhat cynical approach (to my eyes) that the Maori took whenever the Lions did attack e.g. Sexton and Davies attacks, and the Maoris killed the ball or conceded a penalty. So hardly surprising that the Lions took penalty kicks with so many being offered to them.

          • Roar Guru

            June 18th 2017 @ 6:26am
            taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:26am | ! Report

            Yes it wasn’t pretty and in defence of the Maori quite frankly they just didn’t know how to deal with this style of game, got frustrated and cracked. The ABs, having played the NH sides regularly, will.

            Can’t really blame the backline when they don’t have the ball and whatever good ball they did get was either under too much pressure or dropped.

            No excuses they messed up big time. I didn’t pick them to win that one either, simply because they’d only been together a few days. But when you expect to play Super rugby against a side that’s having none of that you have to be able to adapt. And they didn’t, and got frustrated. Big learning curve.

            The thing is though you can’t take much of that into the tests. as you know the ABs won’t make that mistake. Instead they will take the Lions on at their own game, try to beat that out of them, then let loose, hopefully scoring the odd try in the process.

            But to be fair, it was boring stuff. As kiwis we just would not put up with rugby on the scale we do if matches like that were dished up every week. It was dour, very low skill levels, grunt up the middle stuff. The dew didn’t help the handling but we’ve moved on from that sort of style, a relic of the Seventies.

            I realise it’s needed to win here but geez, not pretty.

            • Roar Guru

              June 18th 2017 @ 6:46am
              Poth Ale said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:46am | ! Report

              Come on T-man the Maori were perfectly capable of deciding to cynically concede penalties or not. If they didn’t, then some of the more evident attacking moves from the Lions would have resulted in tries.

              Leaving aside the wet weather conditions, the Maori made it a sh– fest – they got one in spades.

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 6:54am
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:54am | ! Report

                Yes, agree and you don’t think all that isn’t down to being frustrated? I think it’s typical of that. They were awful, couldn’t adapt and resorted to rubbish tactics. Good, or bad, depending on your view, is younwont get that level of frustration from the ABs.

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 7:17am
                Poth Ale said | June 18th 2017 @ 7:17am | ! Report

                Well they must have got frustrated very early with the first penalty within 5 minutes!

                Anyways, match done.

                Agree that the AB level of frustration will be different. And their response too.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 9:38am
                Cynical Play said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:38am | ! Report

                I thought the MABs could easily have, and probably should have, had another YC for repeated infringements, in the 2nd half. At one point they conceded at least 7 penalties in a row and some refs would have warned at 5 and YCed at 6. Pretty cynical ball really. I also thought they were offside at the ruck more often than not – got away with most of it.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 10:00am
                Fionn said | June 18th 2017 @ 10:00am | ! Report

                Agree 100% CP.

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 11:54am
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:54am | ! Report

                Agree they were bad, and dont see the point in analysing it. They got so many things wrong and theres not much the ABs can learn from it other than to not approach it the same way.
                They arent playing again soon so like Poth said its done. We move on.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 3:20pm
                Cuw said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:20pm | ! Report

                @ Cynical Play

                the penalty try shud have accompanied a yellow, but then maybe Peyper was reluctant to give another one soon after carding TKB.

                but was it just me or did anyone else think the MAB were off the pace? strange given they are in the last 1/4 of super rugger and basically in peak fitness.

            • June 18th 2017 @ 9:44am
              bib said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:44am | ! Report

              “As kiwis we just would not put up with rugby on the scale we do if matches like that were dished up every week. It was dour, very low skill levels, grunt up the middle stuff. ”

              Hahaha wow. Must be going through a fair bit of kleenex in your house.

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 1:25pm
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 1:25pm | ! Report

                Not really, my team, the Blues, won. Though the Kleenex did mop a bit of the red wine up
                I must say.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 5:26pm
                Jacko said | June 18th 2017 @ 5:26pm | ! Report

                A Ioane boosted his reputation a fair bit. He was very very good in a side that had 17% of the ball in the second half

        • June 18th 2017 @ 6:24am
          Suzy Poison said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:24am | ! Report

          Moaman, not to be too picky, but the Bookies actually had the Crusaders favourites, 3-1 I think it was after the Lions terrible performance in the first game. The Lions have steadily improved every game from then on.

          From what I have seen, and as a neutral, I predict, the Lions will win the first game. They are battled hardened and have played much tougher opposition. ( No disrespect to Samoa) But it will be a tight series from there. It might even come down to a penalty kick here or there. You would expect the All Blacks to win the series, but then again, this appears to be the strongest lions team in a while.

          • Roar Guru

            June 18th 2017 @ 6:35am
            taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:35am | ! Report

            Is it the best though?
            Take 2005, they lost one from the first seven matches, winning the other six by at least 11 points or more, losing narrowly only to the Maori. And they were slaughtered in the test series. Hammered by large wins all three tests.

            Lions tours are judged on the tests so it’s too early to declare ‘best’ yet.

            But based on results, three wins from five, only one truly convincing. Too early to compare historically yet as the facts don’t really support it. Its actually the worst win loss ratio of any tour I can recall previously.

            • June 18th 2017 @ 3:24pm
              Cuw said | June 18th 2017 @ 3:24pm | ! Report

              the matches will hinge on the way they are reffed. especially the frenchies having the last two will have a big say.

              Peyper had a very good game and so did wayne barnes. even obrian went ok.

              but Raynal was again controversial – one try from a knock on and another that shud have not even been allowed to take place with a player knocked out.

              not just players . the refs also cannot lose concentration.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 8:25pm
                RedandBlack said | June 18th 2017 @ 8:25pm | ! Report

                Oh God – you’ve made the mistake of listening to Marshall again. He doesn’t know the rules of the game, and never revisits an opinion. Entertaining yes but he should never be a guide on what is actually happening. The ‘knockon’ was ruled to be a slap back/down by Khan. The injury play on followed standard protocols – if the attending medic was seriously worried he would signal to the ref and the game would stop. Must buy Marshy a rule book for Christmas – and maybe highlight the bit that says the ref is the sole judge of fact. Meuws was on Scrum 5 last week saying that if you base your complaints on individual rulings then yr game was never really good enough – I agree.

          • June 18th 2017 @ 6:54am
            moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 6:54am | ! Report

            Nice to see you again! yeah you might be right on the Crusaders match—I have been watching the Tab odds probably since around that time so might not have picked up on that…but you get my point.

            For the record I still think the ABs will win at Eden Park…but i will be nervous about it as usual 😉

            The most annoying thing about last night’s game–apart from the dire way the home team played–was Justinfrickenmarshall’s irritating comments! Drove me up the wall!!!

            • Roar Guru

              June 18th 2017 @ 7:02am
              taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 7:02am | ! Report

              When the Lions landed Blues were 3.80 and the Saders 2.90. I was tossing who to whack as I knew they wouldn’t play their top side twice in a row, so they’d lose one.

              I chose the Blues because odds were thecSaders would cop the top side.

              After the first two games the TAB listened and brought the odds in after the first then made the Saders faves after the Blues match and money started piling on them.

              Bookies are not silly though. They know the history and the ABs.

              Despite the big win Lions are paying 5.50 for the series, ABs 1.12 so Sweden should get on that if he backs his picks. A lot to be won there.

              First test odds are thinner, probably due to a typically expected slow AB start. 4.80 Lions, 1.17 ABs.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 7:31am
                moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 7:31am | ! Report

                “so Sweden should get on that if he backs his picks. A lot to be won there.”
                He should put his shirt on it.

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 9:15am
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:15am | ! Report

                Gotta admit a small hundy on the first test might provide for a few beers to commiserate over? At head to head those are very good odds.

            • June 18th 2017 @ 9:33am
              Coconut said | June 18th 2017 @ 9:33am | ! Report

              Completely agree about Justin Marshall… I just can’t figure what his issue is… He goes way too much the other way, he’s almost an apologist. I don’t subscribe to the one-eyed Phil Kearns style of commentary, but neither do I like it going to much the other way either…. Bring back Murray, I say… Got to the point where I had to mute the TV, it was so bad.

              • June 18th 2017 @ 11:35am
                moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

                It’s not only that Coconut—he labours the point so much too.He said a couple of things I agreed with eg but then ruined it by harping on and on about it.
                I find it particularly annoying when the Ref is speaking to a player or captain and I can’t hear what he is saying!

              • June 18th 2017 @ 11:36am
                moaman said | June 18th 2017 @ 11:36am | ! Report

                This moderation is waaaaaay out of control! Needs it’s horns shorn or pulled in altogether!

              • Roar Guru

                June 18th 2017 @ 4:01pm
                taylorman said | June 18th 2017 @ 4:01pm | ! Report

                Haven’t you got the latest naughty word list moaman?

          • June 19th 2017 @ 9:47am
            Jemainok said | June 19th 2017 @ 9:47am | ! Report

            Hey Suzy the thing what the Lions have going for them is the unknown. Will these tactics work against the AB’s? Will the AB’s back 3 drop ball? will the Lions back 3 drop ball? Who will win the forward battle? The Lions game seems to revolve around the Forwards dominating and an accurate kicking game with a really good defence system, what if they don’t dominate in the forwards do they have more layers to their onion? If they lose the contestable kicking where do they go from there? I don’t think they have answered any of that. If everything goes there way and they win the micro battles this will be a very close contest, but be off their game even a little and this could be ugly. We hope for the best but until that first test it is all a guessing game. But the lack of contest in the forwards by the MAB was not a good tune up for the AB’s imo.

      • Roar Guru

        June 18th 2017 @ 12:14pm
        Diggercane said | June 18th 2017 @ 12:14pm | ! Report

        Hi Pot,

        There is a heap to look forward to!

        What are your thoughts for the Lions bench? How would you approach it?

        For me, I would look at the players who can provide a point of difference and I would be very tempted to have Itoje, Te’o and Watson on the pine, assuming Farrells fitness?

        • Roar Guru

          June 18th 2017 @ 10:59pm
          Poth Ale said | June 18th 2017 @ 10:59pm | ! Report

          Hey Digger

          You’re asking me about the bench?! I haven’t even got my head around the starting XV yet!

          The line-up for the Chiefs obviously tells us who won’t be starting. The midweek team is now clearly established with
          Marler, Best, Cole, Henderson, Lawes, Tipuric, Haskell, Stander
          Laidlaw, Biggar, Daly, Henshaw, Payne, Nowell, Williams.
          Reps: Dacey, Dell, Francis, Hill, Jones, Davies, Russell, Seymour.

          The six new incoming are irrelevant since they’ve been told they’re finished after the last midweek game.

          So test team likely to be

          Vunipola, George, Furlong – starting front row – McGrath, Owens, Sinckler on the bench.

          Kruis, Itoje – I’m picking Itoje to start instead of Jones because Jones may play off the bench midweek. If he doesn’t, then Itoje off the bench for me to inject some pace and stamina in the third quarter.

          O’Mahony, O’Brien, Faletau – Warburton also on the bench midweek so that puts him on the bench for Saturday – he’s also a very good impact player, O’Brien to be replaced to preserve his engine. Although, himself and O’Mahony have less season minutes than a good few others in the squad due to earlier injuries with Leinster and Munster.

          Murray – nailed on. Webb on the bench.

          Now the tricky bit – and the bit where I’m thinking Gatland wants to try and surprise a little.

          He could go with a two five-eighths approach – Sexton and Farrell at 10/12.
          That would push Te’o out to 13 or stick with Davies in his best position or a little surprise with Joseph who hasn’t been picked for midweek, but did well in the Landers match. Irish combo at half-back and English combo in midfield.
          This lineup would allow for an extra utility back/midfielder on the bench instead of an out half in the 22 shirt, e.g. Te’o or Joseph
          If Sexton gets injured, Farrell to 10 and bring in the bench option.
          If Sexton goes well, then Farrell possibly replaced by Te’o, if required. Halfpenny is likely taking the kicks which is why I don’t think Farrell’s kicking prowess is essential.

          He could go Sexton at 10 and Te’o at 12, with Joseph or Davies on the outside, with Farrell on the bench covering 10/12

          He could go Farrell at 10, Te’o 12 and Joseph at 13 with an English familiar lineup. Sexton in the 22 shirt.

          Back three – I think North, Watson and Halfpenny with Daly getting the 23 utility shirt covering 13/wing/fb.

          • Roar Guru

            June 19th 2017 @ 8:25am
            Diggercane said | June 19th 2017 @ 8:25am | ! Report

            Thank you Pot, not much to add to that, think you have covered that all off.

            Selection at centre would be interesting, would I be right in perhaps thinking that Davies would be the conservative option given his defence over the attacking abilities of Joseph? How do you rate Daly as a centre?

            • Roar Guru

              June 19th 2017 @ 10:47am
              Poth Ale said | June 19th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

              Davies might be seen as the conservative option but I have to say he played bloody well in his final few games for Scarlets and winning the PRO12 before they left. He’s had a good run of form. I have never been persuaded of Jospeh’s attacking abilities (never mind defence) as much as others have, so I’m not dancing in the streets for his possible selection. He took his try well in the Highlanders game but at the same time, I had the sense that he deliberately ignored his man outside in going for the glory score – on another day, that could have backfired. Understandably perhaps, Gatland may go with the player he knows/coaches and trust in him to come good.

              Daly I haven’t seen much of to be honest, he plays in the English league and I don’t watch many of those games since I’m busy watching all the PRO12 ones. Like a lot of utility players, I think he’s damned on starting selection, and I’d be surprised to see him picked to start in midfield.

      • June 18th 2017 @ 8:59pm
        Jumbo said | June 18th 2017 @ 8:59pm | ! Report

        They will need more than one try to win against ghe abs.