Great Britain Outclassed

Instead the Kiwis picked up the two points, leaving both sides locked on two points in the table and the Lions needing a win over Australia to secure their place in the final.

The game was strewn with errors in the opening moments, but New Zealand gained their composure after an altercation between Keith Senior and Steve Matai saw both players sent to the bin.

Almost immediately Nigel Vagana opened the scoring for the hosts, squeezing over the try line, with Stacey Jones adding the two points before, four minutes later, combining superbly with Ruben Wiki to send Brent Webb through for the second.

At 10-0 it looked bleak for the tourists, but they gained a glimmer of hope when Danny McGuire’s cross-field kick was spilled by Manu Vatuvai with Gareth Ellis swooping onto the loose ball and touching down.

However the Kiwis responded when Jones sent Webb over for another try, and they were unlucky not to extend the lead when Frank Pritchard lost the ball at the corner.

The Lions could have brought themselves right back into the game just moments before the half-time interval when Paul Wellens’ grubber to the corner was touched down by Gareth Raynor – however the video referee mysteriously ruled that Raynor had lost possession.

New Zealand got the second-half scoring underway after just nine minutes, when Stacey Jones’s chip into the in-goal area bounced unkindly for the British defence, but kindly for Nathan Cayless, who touched down, Jones converting.

The Kiwis were definitely on top at that stage playing at their best since the 24-0 win over Australia last year, and this was proved when crisp, sharp passing sent Vatuvai over at the corner for a simple try, Jones again adding the two points.

Great Britain were down and out but responded when Leon Pryce, who had come in off the wing to make his influence felt, jinked through the New Zealand line to touch down beneath the posts – but yet again the video referee disallowed the try, this time for obstruction, leaving even the Kiwi fans scratching their heads in puzzlement.

The game was concluded with another New Zealand try when Wiki was the beneficiary of another Jones chip towards the in-goal area, this one rebounding off the crossbar into Wiki’s arms.

– Report by Tony Williams

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