Category Archive: New Zealand Rugby

New Zealand Rugby News

Jul 10

Lions 2017: Guardian writers present their awards for the New Zealand tour

Maro Itoje exemplifies the Lions spirit and the epic try scored by Sean O’Brien their swashbuckling style in a fiercely fought series of high drama

Maro Itoje. The youngest Lion in the squad started only two of the Tests but, crucially, the All Blacks won neither. Wants to keep hold of Bil, the cuddly Lion mascot, and deserves to have his wish granted. Robert Kitson

Related: Warren Gatland says Lions’ draw ‘some achievement’ and declares 2021 interest

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/10/british-and-irish-lions-all-blacks-test-series

Jul 10

Lions did themselves proud against New Zealand – a draw was a fair result | Nick Evans

Honours deserved to be even as tourists weathered the expected All Blacks onslaught with a superior kicking game and superb defence

Like most people I had a sense of anticlimax at the final whistle. It was a strange feeling. I couldn’t help but think: “Even if they flip a coin, surely it can’t end like that?” But thinking about it a bit more, it means that the 2017 series will go down in history. We will look back on it in the future and there will be a bit of mythology to it.

And for all that it was a perplexing end to the tour, I don’t think there should be any changes to the laws. It is so rare that it happens and, as Steve Hansen said, it was probably a fair result for where the two teams were in that point in time. If it comes down to a draw after all the hype, everything that has gone on before, then so be it.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/10/nick-evans-british-lions-new-zealand-third-test

Jul 09

Warren Gatland sees Lions’ draw against All Blacks as next best thing to success | Andy Bull

Head coach is justifiably proud of his team’s achievement of a tied series against the best team in the world on their home territory

Warren Gatland lost his red nose somewhere along the way on Saturday night, but he did have a couple of black bags under his eyes on Sunday morning. He said he was feeling fresh, but you would not have guessed it to look at him. It had been “a pretty quiet night,” he said, “quiet for me, anyway.”

Related: Sam Warburton the Lions’ brightest star in series that had everything

Related: Warren Gatland says his Kiwi instinct was a crucial factor in Lions series draw

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/warren-gatland-lions-draw-all-blacks

Jul 09

Sam Warburton the Lions’ brightest star in series that had everything | Robert Kitson

The Lions captain did not make the starting XV for the first Test but his influence in the second and third matches against New Zealand was incalculable

There are several defining images from the 2017 British & Irish Lions tour, many of them involving the same colour: the red card shown to Sonny Bill Williams in Wellington, Warren Gatland’s red clown nose, the oceans of red in the stadiums and, perhaps above all else, the red‑shirted Lions captain, Sam Warburton, jokingly yanking the trophy towards himself as he and his New Zealand opposite number, Kieran Read, posed for end-of-series photographs.

Related: Warren Gatland sees Lions’ draw against All Blacks as next best thing to success | Andy Bull

Related: Warren Gatland says his Kiwi instinct was a crucial factor in Lions series draw

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/sam-warburton-brighteest-star-lions-tour-new-zealand

Jul 09

Warren Gatland says his Kiwi instinct was a crucial factor in Lions series draw

• Gatland admits some New Zealand media coverage was hard to take
• Wales coach leaves door open for potential role in 2021 tour to South Africa

Warren Gatland has claimed his Kiwi background was the British & Irish Lions’ secret weapon in their 1-1 series draw against New Zealand. The former All Blacks hooker, hailed as “the best head coach in the world” by his tour manager, John Spencer, has also made clear he would not be averse to doing the job again when the Lions travel to South Africa in 2021.

Gatland, who has become the first Lions head coach not to lose a series on successive tours following the team’s 2013 triumph in Australia, said he initially thought he was on “a hiding to nothing” but believes his inside knowledge of the Kiwi psyche made a difference to the outcome. “I think if anyone else had been doing it we might not have drawn the series,” he said.

Related: Warren Gatland says Lions’ draw ‘some achievement’ and declares 2021 interest

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/09/warren-gatland-british-irish-lions-new-zealand

Jul 09

British & Irish Lions series man marks

Maro Itoje and Sean O’Brien were outstanding performers in a squad of players that showed up strongly across three Tests and seven other tour matches

Greig Laidlaw

Related: Lions and All Blacks fight to a standstill after the most intense battle | Andy Bull

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/09/british-irish-lions-series-man-marks

Jul 09

British & Irish Lions’ tour: Five things we learned from tour of New Zealand | Paul Rees

Are the All Blacks, who are used to flattening every team they face, actually starting to flatline, as England close in on them at the top of the global rankings ahead of the 2019 World Cup?The players voted Jonathan Davies the Lion of the tour af…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/five-things-british-lions-tour-new-zealand

Jul 09

Stalemate blues: a New Zealander’s perspective on the final Lions Test | Jim Kayes

With the All Blacks missing three golden opportunities and a questionable late decision going against them, the crowd left Eden Park feeling deflated

It rained on Sunday morning in New Zealand. Absolutely teemed down in Auckland, so it was tough to see if the sun rose on the morning after the night before. It seemed fitting, somehow. Nature’s attempt to wash away the stain left at Eden Park by a Test that had promised so much. A game that fell flat just when we were expecting a crescendo.

There was no euphoria when the final whistle blew. The crowd stunned into silence after 80 minutes of raucous support trickled away from Eden Park, disappointed it had come to this.

Related: The Lions are priceless: meddle too much and they will become an endangered species | Paul Rees

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/stalemate-new-zealand-perspective-final-lions-test

Jul 09

The Lions are priceless: meddle too much and they will become an endangered species | Paul Rees

The likely reduction of tour matches for the trip to South Africa in 2021 sets a dangerous precedent and overlooks the impact Lions series have both at home and abroadWhen Warren Gatland submits his report on the tied Lions series in New Zealand to the…

Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/09/lions-tour-priceless-2021-south-africa-rugby-union

Jul 08

‘Sport is not scripted. You never know what is going to happen.’ Lions and All Blacks fans on the tied series

New Zealanders and Britons celebrate together on the streets of Auckland as the third test – and the tour – ends with honours even

A draw. A dead heat. 15-15. And the series too, after the epic twists and turns of the last three weeks, is therefore a tie: one win for New Zealand, one win for the Lions, and Saturday’s stalemate.

In Auckland’s waterfront fan zone, where thousands of supporters of both sides watched the epic showdown on more than a dozen giant screens, people turned to each other, shaking their heads, laughing at the tension they felt mere moments ago, when it seemed life – or death – was on the line.

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/08/british-lions-all-blacks-new-zealand-auckland

Jul 08

Warren Gatland says Lions’ draw ‘some achievement’ and declares 2021 interest

• Coach may fancy South Africa after holding New Zealand ‘in their back yard’
• Hails Sam Warburton for challenging penalty – ‘We’d have been devastated’

Warren Gatland said he could be interested in coaching the 2021 British & Irish Lions in South Africa after steering his team to a 1-1 drawn series with New Zealand. Gatland, who wore a clown’s nose into the post-match press conference in Auckland, has coached the Lions on two successive tours and has yet to finish on the losing side.

No other international side has avoided defeat to the All Blacks in a series in New Zealand since 1994 and Gatland may yet make himself available for another stint. “To win two and draw one wouldn’t be a bad achievement,” said Gatland, having watched his side draw 15-15 in a hugely physical, tense encounter.

Related: Lions and All Blacks draw thrilling final Test and series

Related: Warren Gatland’s achievements make case to be the next All Blacks coach | Michael Aylwin

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/08/warren-gatland-lions-tour-2021

Jul 08

Lions and All Blacks fight to a standstill after the most intense battle | Andy Bull

The sides had grown obsessed with winning the physical contest and in the series decider it produced the most brutal match in recent memory

When it was all over, Sam Warburton had one word left in him: “Wow.” It echoed around the ground, the crowd quiet until they realised that Warburton did not know what else to say, and his pause was overwhelmed by raucous applause. Warburton stood silent a moment longer, then added: “What a Test match.”

Soon afterwards, Kieran Read was called up from the other side of the presentation stage. The two men took the little silver trophy between them, each with one hand on one handle, and raised it together. When they brought it back down, Warburton tugged it one way, Read yanked it the other. They laughed, and slapped each other’s backs, neither quite ready to quit fighting for it.

Related: Lions and All Blacks draw thrilling final Test and series

Related: New Zealand 15-15 British & Irish Lions: third Test player ratings

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/08/all-blacks-lions-third-test-auckland-physical-battle

Jul 08

New Zealand media attack referee Romain Poite’s late penalty U-turn

• Decision of accidental offside by Ken Owens labelled a ‘French farce’
• ‘Whether it was his Wayne Barnes moment remains to be seen’

Romain Poite was always going to be under intense scrutiny after his compatriot Jérôme Garcès sent off Sonny Bill Williams in the second Test but the Frenchman’s decision to rescind the late penalty awarded against Ken Owens guaranteed the attention of the host nation’s media after the All Blacks had to settle for a draw in both match and series.

Related: Lions and All Blacks draw thrilling final Test and series

Related: New Zealand 15-15 Lions: third Test and series ends in draw – as it happened

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/08/all-blacks-lions-third-test-auckland-new-zealand-reaction

Jul 08

Warren Gatland wears clown nose after Lions and All Black tie series – video

The British & Irish Lions head coach, Warren Gatland, donned a clown’s nose whilst speaking to journalists on Saturday after his side fought back to draw 15-15 with the All Blacks at Eden Park. Gatland was mocked as a clown by some of the New Zealand media during the tour which finished as a draw. ‘To come to New Zealand and draw the series, you’ve got to be pretty proud of that,’ said the Lions coach

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/global/video/2017/jul/08/warren-gatland-wears-clown-nose-british-irish-lions-new-zealand-rugby-all-blacks-tie-series-video

Jul 08

Warren Gatland’s achievements make case to be the next All Blacks coach | Michael Aylwin

Critics attack his teams for playing Warrenball but as the only unbeaten Lions coach of the professional era Gatland has shown yet again he gets results

He would not rule it out, but nor was he chomping at the bit for another shot. Warren Gatland refused to be drawn on the prospect of another Lions tour. “I don’t know,” he said. “There’s been a lot of water under the bridge.” For now, obviously, he is just thinking about Wales, the autumn and preparing for the World Cup in two years’ time. Whether he is in position to take on another Lions tour in 2021 remains to be seen.

It is a scarcely guarded secret that he has his eye on the All Blacks job. And the All Blacks are said to have theirs on him. His contract with Wales runs to the World Cup, Steve Hansen’s with New Zealand until then, too. Hansen has said he will step down, sparking the mother of all struggles for the job.

Related: Lions and All Blacks tie thrilling final Test and series

Related: New Zealand 15-15 British & Irish Lions: third Test player ratings

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/blog/2017/jul/08/warren-gatland-lions-all-blacks-next-coach

Jul 08

New Zealand 15-15 British & Irish Lions: third Test player ratings

Maro Itoje was immense for the Lions and Owen Farrell held his nerve, but Beauden Barrett was wasteful and Jerome Kaino could have cost the All Blacks

Jordie Barrett, full-back 9/10 Beauden’s little brother was as solid as a rock under the high ball and his first-half try, after his key part in the first, gave New Zealand a lead they really should have held on to.

Related: Lions and All Blacks tie thrilling final Test and series

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2017/jul/08/lions-all-blacks-third-test-auckland-ratings

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