The Runner Sports

Blues Top British And Irish Lions With Sonny Bill Williams’ Great Performance

The British and Irish Lions fall to the Auckland Blues with help from a great match by Sonny Bill Williams

The British and Irish Lions entered the match off of a narrow win against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians; the Lions’ attack in the opener was of huge concern. The Blues entered the match as the bottom of the New Zealand table. The Blues featured a great attacking center in Sonny Bill Williams, as well as powerful play on the wings.

British and Irish Lions’ attack improved early in the match

The Lions were not the team to attack first, but it did not take them long to do so. The Lions set up a powerful maul and worked to the line allowing CJ Stander to dive over the line for a try. Although this was the only try for the Lions, they played a majority of the first half in a much better position than last Saturday. The Lions kept the Blues pinned back early and left them to try and fight from their own half, which resulted in a number of penalties and better positioning for the Lions.

Leigh Halfpenny had a solid day of kicking making all four of his kicks on the day, which kept the match tight. Halfpenny also had a strong day attacking, tying Jack Nowell for top metres made at 52. The Lions’ scrum was very powerful throughout the match, completely dominating the Blues all game and won a lot of penalties from the scrum. Maro Itoje also had an impressive day with great work throughout at the lineout.

The offload and Sonny Bill Williams

Rieko Ioane started the attacking work against the Lions when the Lions defense crashed down, and the Blues took the ball to the outside channel to Ioane who was able to easily get the ball across the line for the try. The Blues struggled throughout the rest of the first half with ill discipline and bad field position. Right at the end of the first half, Stephen Perofeta missed a kick off the upright and the ball was knocked backward by the Lions. It was a sprint through the end zone and Sonny Bill Williams was able to dive on the ball to give the back the lead going into halftime.

The Lions had a very difficult time dealing with the offload, and Warren Gatland stated after the match the offload defense and discipline would have to improve. This was especially true when the Lions lost Liam Williams at a critical point in the match for taking out a Blues player in the air twice over a short period of time. Ihaia West was able to seal the match for the Blues following a great line break and offload by Sonny Bill Williams to get in the end zone for the Blues’ third try of the day.

The tour is not yet over

Although it is very difficult for Lions fans right now looking at who has been played and who is to come, Lions fans need not take it to heart. It is a very difficult thing to try and throw a team together in less than a month and expect them to do well. With each passing day, the team improves and becomes more cohesive. These matches although good for pride, are not the important ones, and the team must get ready for the All Blacks.



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David Bradham

Active duty Navy, have a true passion for Rugby.
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