Lions and Auckland Blues fans clash in New Zealand tour warm-up match

Kristopher Nichols
June 8, 2017

A stunning Ihaia West try with just six minutes left on the clock has condemned the British and Irish Lions to their first defeat on New Zealand soil in 2017, going down 22-16 to the Blues at Eden Park.

Having limped to victory over the provincial Barbarians in Whangarei, the Lions looked better at the set-piece in Auckland but were still mostly listless in attack.

"It's just a couple of slight errors that have cost us".

Maro Itoje - to Lawes' left - sees Sonny Bill Williams coming in support, but it's too late as Luatua delivers a flawless offload out the back of the hand to his Blues and All Blacks teammate.

Despite their elimination from the Super Rugby finals race, Williams's Blues will continue to build as a squad and throw everything at their Test opponents.

"There's so much depth in this country". Rieko Ioane had put Blues ahead with the game's opening try before Williams also touched down at the end of the first half, Stephen Perofeta converting.

Things don't really get any easier for Gatland and co. following the match against the Crusaders.

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True to form, the Lions used their brawn to get back in the hunt via Stander, before the bruising Williams scored a lucky try on the half-time hooter.

Down 16-15 with the seconds ticking away, Sonny Bill Williams made 30 metres after breaking the Lions' defensive line and produced a trademark flick offload to West, who scooted around Leigh Halfpenny to secure the victor.

The Lions reclaimed the lead with two penalties to Wales fullback Leigh Halfpenny - their only second-half points - before Williams combined with West for the match victor.

But then West popped up to shock Gatland and his men.

West takes the ball on 40 metres from the try-line and goes between Peter O'Mahony and CJ Stander, while Best does his best to stay with the play.

"Generally we did that pretty well, our line speed defensively".

In a silver lining for Gatland, a calf injury to Kiwi-born centre Jared Payne isn't considered serious, while first-five Dan Biggar has suffered a minor concussion.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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