The Write Profile wrote:A draw is probably a fair result insofar that while the ABs created more opportunities to score, their conversion rate wasn't very high, and as Copehead says, Barrett is not a world-class kick-taker (he is however a brilliant playmaker who was influential in both of the ABs tries). If he had been on song from the tee, then the match could've been feasibly wrapped up not long after half-time. Instead, the Lions kept chipping away at the ABs defence without ever displaying dominance in any of the disciplines. It should be noted that both sides got away with murder, but even allowing for that, the ABs can claim to have had the advantage over the Lions in the scrums, they just didn't do enough with it. Their midfield lacked impetus.
I think this match shows that the ABs are in a rebuilding phase, having peaked around the 2015 Rugby World Cup, and there are a number of combinations that haven't quite been solidified (in particular the midfield), and with some of their more seasoned players, such as Kaino, on the wane. I think a test series against a fired-up England side would prove a difficult proposition for the All Blacks in their current setup. They seem to lack that last bit of indomitable instinct that defines the best AB sides.
I will say the last five minutes were utterly bizarre, the referee seemed to totally lose the plot or confidence. It took the shine off a very absorbing contest. On another note, who would be your players of the series? For me it would be Farrell and Iotje for the Lions, and Retallick and Whitelock for the All Blacks.
I think the AB pack is formidable and probably only a Lions pack could get close, I think their backs are less than the sum of their parts, Barrett is not an all round FH and if an opposing team puts defensive pressure on him so his running and passing game is curtailed he runs out of strings to his bow. His kicking, at 70%, is simply not good enough for international standards and I have said on this very board that one day it would cost the ABs games when they met a team who could match them. Now that has happened.
I think England would give them a decent game as their pack would get close, only 6&7 would be relative weaknesses and England's backs would be better drilled than the Lions and scarcely less formidable. Ireland too have shown that their pack can match the ABs on a good day and that will always give you a chance.
I think the Lions have rubbed some of the sheen of invincibility off the All Blacks and SA and Australia will have taken note and Ireland and England taken heart that they can match them, the gap from the best to the rest appears to have shrunk. You have to match their intensity up front and put huge and relentless defensive pressure on them in defence then the game is a crap shoot and you have a decent chance of a win.
As to the ref; it is simple Sam Warburton got to him and saved the series, first by suggesting he look at the competition in the air again with the TMO to gain time, and when that didn't bear fruit by suggesting accidental offside for Ken Owen. The law - if clear is a player cannot help but touch the ball then it is accidental if he stops an opposition player playing it and play on if he doesn't and he doesn't play the ball; that is a perfectly arguable position to take on the Owens offside, I am not sure it is correct that he had no option but to touch the ball but Warburton did what all great Captains do, and what the ABs under McCaw were masters at, he gave the ref a plausible option not to penalise his team.
Warburton is great at this, he is personable, polite and he talks to refs without antagonising them and never argues, that is one of the reasons Gatland was so desperate to get him into the team, POM is a warrior but he could not manage the ref like that.
In the end the right result was probably reached, neither side deserved to lose and neither side did enough to deserve to win.