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Saturday, July 08, 2017

Series drawn as All Blacks and British & Irish Lions decider ends in stalemate

The deciding Lions series match has finished 15-15, meaning that since they were tied at 1-1 going into the game, the series is drawn and we have no winner. Both sides made plenty of errors in a bruising clash in Auckland, but could not be separated come full time.

There was a controversial call by referee Romain Poite late in the game, after he ruled a penalty to the hosts for offside, but then changed his mind and gave a scrum instead.

It's a decision that seemed clearcut by the laws of the game, but after going for the more lenient ruling, will be debated long into the night, and probably discussed for the next 12 years.

All Blacks skipper Kieran Read, playing his 100th Test match, questioned it with the referee, stating that it wasn't an accidental offside as it was actually caught, but the decision stood.

Earlier in the game the hosts had scored two tries, through Ngani Laumape and Jordie Barrett, but it was the boot from Owen Farrell that helped the visitors along, as well as one long range kick from Elliott Daly.

Farrell then slotted a long kick of his own, getting three points from 48m with just a few minutes left in the match, levelling the game at 15-15.

That's how it ended, with the Lions surely taking plenty of pride from the showing and having earned the respect of the New Zealand players and fans. The home side meanwhile will rue their numerous mistakes throughout the match, and perhaps, some Beauden Barrett missed kicks.

"I'm not sure what to make of that really - I was getting ready for extra time," joked Lions captain Sam Warburton after the match. "Both teams are going to be gutted they didn't take a series win... I guess it's a little bit of an anticlimax from the player's point of view," he added.

Read felt the same, but did well not be drawn into discussing the Poite decision too much.

"Maybe it's the right result for the series. Both teams played well in patches and tonight we just couldn't be split," said Read.

"It's just one of those ones - I don't know what to feel, it's a funny one."

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