Lions were Lucky to beat New Zealand

As the Full-time whistle was blown in Wellington last Saturday morning (UK Time) history was made. The All Blacks’ 47 game, 8 year unbeaten run at home was brought to an end by the British and Irish Lions, the score 24-21.

The Lions’ corner was assisted early in the first half as Sonny Bill Williams was sent off for a dangerous tackle on Anthony Watson. This is what makes the Lions’ win less impressive, a three point victory against a team with 14 men is poor, though, it does exemplify the All Blacks’ class.

What made it worse was Mako Vunipola’s Yellow card in the second half for yet another Dangerous tackle. The All Blacks’ can feel hard done by with this.

When reviewing a dangerous tackle in a game the Referee and TMO will look at the following criteria:

  • Where is the initial contact?
  • Is contact made with force?
  • Is the player in control?

In Mako’s case the initial contact was with the head, it was at force and was not in control. The referee overruled the TMO’s recommendation of a red card and gave Mako a Yellow card- a big let off for the lions.

On Saturday the Third and Final test match is played. The only previous time that New Zealand have lost a test series was to South Africa in 1937. So it is fair to say that New Zealand will go into Saturday’s decider as firm favourites and are likely to send the Lions packing licking their wounds.

 

 

 

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My 37 man Lions squad

Loosehead: Marler, M.Vunipola, McGrath

Hooker: Best, George, Owens

Tighthead: Cole, Furlong, Sinkler

Locks: J Gray, Launchbury, Kruis, Lawes, AW Jones

Loose forwards: Falatau, Haskell, Stander, B.Vunipola, Itoje, Warburton, Barclay

Scrum Half: Youngs, Murray, Webb

Fly Half: Ford, Sexton

Wingers:  Daly, North, Seymour, Nowell, Watson

Centres: Joseph, Farrell, Henshaw, Davies

Full Back: L.Williams, Hogg
Reserves: O Mahony, Visser, Teo, Roberts

Wales beaten in 100 minute match in Paris

With the clock past 80 minutes Wales were camped on their 5 metre line defending a French scrum 20 minutes a sin-binning and a HIA later France scored a try, which was duly converted granting them a victory 20-18.

It was arguably the most interesting moment in the match, unusual for scrums but from a neutral’s perspective it was a match to send you to sleep.

Wales didn’t ever threaten the French line and built their score from the French ill-discipline and Halfpenny’s ever reliable boot.

The French took their opportunities with Remi Lamerat scoring early in the match and Lopez adding a conversion and two penalties to set up a tight finish.

With 77 minutes on the clock Wales turned over the French attack and in a moment he will surely regret, Sam Warburton kicked downfield and over the dead-ball line setting up the attack that lead to 20 minutes of scrums and the French snatching a victory from under the nose of the Welsh.

The scrums that lead to the French victory were controversial as the French Doctor came on to take tight-head prop Uini Atonio off for a HIA despite the prop telling referee Barnes he was not injured, leading to the suspicion the French faked the need for a HIA to bring on Slimani to lead the scrum battle that ensued. Then after multiple penalties to France Wayne Barnes sent Wales Prop Samson Lee to the Sin-bin. With both Atonio and Lee back on the field, Barnes then had to deal with an allegation of Biting on George North, with a mark evident he had no choice but to go to the TMO but with no conclusive views, no action was taken and with one last French attack from the scrum Chouly crossed the whitewash and Lopez converted giving France the win.

Final Score: France 20-18 Wales.

France- Tries: Lamerat, Chouly Cons: Lopez 2 Pens: Lopez 2

Wales- Pens: Halfpenny 6

Wales vs France match preview

Venue: Stade de France Date: Saturday, 18 March Kick-off: 14:45 GMT

Wales end their 2017 Six Nations campaign against France in a match which will help decide the final standings. Teams lying 2nd to 5th place are separated by one point with Ireland and Wales on 10 points and France and Scotland on 9.

Wales are unchanged from last week’s encounter with Ireland. This decision has come as a surprise to some who expected Rob Howley to mix things up and bring in some new blood before their summer tour.

France have made four changes to the side that comfortably overcame Italy with  Vahaamahina, Christopher Tolofua, Le Devedec, Chouly coming in.

Failure to add to their two victories in this campaign would represent Wales’ worst winning return in the Six Nations since 2010. However France have only won two of their last seven Six Nations matches though Les Bleus have an impressive home record winning seven of their last ten home Six Nations matches.

France: Dulin; Nakaitaci, Lamerat, Fickou, Vakatawa; Lopez, Serin; Baille, Guirado, Slimani; Vahaamahina, Maestri; Sanconnie, Gourdon, Picamoles.

Replacements: Chat, Atonio, Ben Arous, Le Devedec, Chouly, Dupont, Trinh-Duc, Huget.

Wales: Halfpenny; North, Davies, S Williams, L Williams; Biggar, Webb; Evans, Owens, Francis, Ball, Wyn Jones, Warburton, Tipuric, Moriarty.

Replacements: Baldwin, Smith, Lee, Charteris, Faletau, G Davies, S Davies, Roberts.

Referee: Wayne Barnes (England)

Touch judges: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand) and Matthew Carley (England)

TMO: Peter Fitzgibbon (Ireland)

Prediction- Wales Win