The NZ Media Reacts To The Lions Disappointing Loss To The Blues
One from two.
The Lions suffered defeat in just their second game on tour this morning as they were beaten in almost every area of the pitch by a excellent Blues side. Sure the Lions were much improved, but the fact is they have bigger, tougher challenges to come.
Gatland’s team will learn from today’s result, but will need pick up the pace ahead of this weekend’s clash with the Crusaders. The Blues are ranked from 5 from 5 when it comes to the New Zealand franchises, losing six games. In contrast, the other four have lost just eight between them.
Here’s how the New Zealand media reacted.
Gregor Paul – NZ Herald
If nothing else, they looked more organised and willing than they were in Whangarei and while they clearly have a mountain to climb still, there were at least glimpses of what they might be able to do when they have had a few more games together and get their top team on the track.
But the essence of their game remains bump and thump and the question that is going to become louder and louder for the Lions, is where is the x-factor?
Warrenball gets them close but it needs something extra to actually win games.
Who is going to give them the magic offload, or unforgettable step to break a defence with something other than brute force?
They talked during the week about the emphasis they have placed on chaos – creating it and thriving in it. But from what has been seen so far from them, they are well out of their comfort zone.
Marc Hinton – Stuff
The British and Irish Lions wanted chaos, and now they will have it after falling at their first hurdle of note on this problematic tour of New Zealand. The Blues, with a special display, have not only made history, but lodged a hefty spanner in the works of the clunky touring machine.
The fallout will be massive from this 22-16 defeat in front of a big crowd of over 40,000 at Eden Park. Not so much from the Lions management who will utter all the right noises in the wake of a match that, really, could have gone either way. But the criticism from the massive northern media pack in tow will be deafening, and the confidence and momentum of the touring outfit, heading into the toughest test in the game, will have taken the first of what may be a number of significant hits.
The visitors had talked before of coming to terms with the “chaos” that is prevalent in the game down here. On the evidence of this they still have some work to do.
Patrick McKendry – NZ Herald
The Blues have done what many among their loyal support may have thought impossible this season, and have claimed a famous scalp not by the “rugby chaos” that the Lions were expecting at Eden Park, but by a ruthless adherence to the basics.
The chaos was there all right, and especially in the winning of this match which came via flat-out brilliance from the Steven Luatua and Sonny Bill Williams, superb both, and Ihaia West, the replacement first-five who received Williams’ offload and set off for the posts like a startled rabbit.
Mark Reason – Stuff
“The Lions looked like they might escape, but the Blues picked them up, held them in the air and speared the body into the ground. This was Tana Umaga’s night of redemption. This was the moment when he can finally move on from that moment of brutality 12 years ago.
“Just as it was back in 2005, some of the officiating was bizarre, to say the least, and the Lions players did extremely well to keep their mouths shut. But it has always been thus at Eden Park and the Lions had better get used to it in a hurry, because there are two test matches yet to be played at the ground.
“The northern hemisphere really needs to learn how to pass the ball better if they are to compete with New Zealand.
“We are not quite on the tour from hell yet, but when the cops waded into the crowd to retrieve the match ball, the Lions fans must have felt like not giving it back.”