The British & Irish Lions have suffered the first defeat of their New Zealand tour after slipping to a disappointing 22-16 loss to the Blues in Auckland. A stunning 74th minute try by the replacement Ihaia West, set up by Sonny Bill Williams, ultimately proved the difference as the Lions paid the price for their failure to convert a number of first-half scoring chances.
The Lions, skippered by the Welsh hooker Ken Owens, will be frustrated by the outcome, having initially looked the better team only to mislay their rhythm on a showery night. Courtney Lawes, Maro Itoje, CJ Stander, Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny all advanced their claims for Test series involvement but the Blues took more of their opportunities and were also assisted by the 57th minute sin-binning of Liam Williams.
It was his namesake Sonny Bill who made the crucial difference, offloading expertly out of the tackle to send the speedy West on a 40-metre slaloming run to score under the posts. Injury-wise it also proved a wince-inducing night for the Lions.
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