Lions feel the blues after Auckland loss

Warren Gatland's side lost 22-16 in Eden Park

Lions feel the blues after Auckland loss

Sonny Bill Williams celebrates at the final whistle Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Billy Stickland

The Lions have suffered their first loss of their 2017 Tour to New Zealand after losing 22-16 to the Blues in Auckland.

A try from replacement Ihaia West in the final ten minutes, which he converted himself gave the Super Rugby side a well deserved six-point win on front of their home fans in Eden Park.

The Blues showed their intent from the start, with winger Rieko Ioane scoring inside the first ten minutes. Irish centre Jared Payne had the chance to give the Lions a quick response, but he was adjudged to have had his foot in touch.

In a first half where Irish players impressed, CJ Stander scored the Lions' only try on his debut. The number 8 was at the back of a Lions maul before touching down to give the side a well deserved lead.

Looking like going in at the break with the lead, the Lions conceded a penalty in what would prove to be the turning point in the game. Blues fly-half Stephen Perofeta missed a straightforward penalty.

 

CJ Stander. Mandatory Credit ©INPHO/Dan Sheridan

His shot hit the post, bounced down inside the 22, and after a scramble for the ball, Sonny Bill Williams touched down to level the sides at 10-10. Perofeta converted the penalty and the Blues led 12-10 at the break.

The home side stretched their lead to five points midway through the second-half, but two Leigh Halfpenny penalties gave the Lions a 16-15 lead entering the final ten minutes.

Having had to cope with the loss of Liam Williams for ten minutes due to a yellow card, the Lions coped with all the Auckland-based side threw at them, and looked on course to ground out a hard-earned win.

West's try proved to be a moment of brilliance for the Blues with a Williams offload, and excellent an attacking line from West allowing him in under the posts to give the Blues the lead.

The Lions had their chances in the final five minutes to win, but their efforts were thwarted, giving the Blues a famous win.

On Saturday, the Lions meet the Crusaders hoping to banish the demons of Eden Park and return to winning ways. If the team didn't know how tough the tour was going to be, they do now.