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How An Off The Ball Intervention By Conor Murray Saved The Lions' Victory

How An Off The Ball Intervention By Conor Murray Saved The Lions' Victory
By Gavin Cooney

There'll be a third round. The Lions have beaten the All Blacks in Wellington, 24-21, to force the series to a decider in Auckland next Saturday.

The end-game was a reversal of the dying moments from the second Test of the 2009 tour. That day, the Lions had a 25-25 draw against South Africa almost secure, meaning the best they could do the following week was to tie the series. Then, substitute Ronan O'Gara tackled a man in the air, leading to the concession of a late penalty, which Morne Steyn converted to end the series.

This morning, the roles were reversed (albeit with the context different, with the hosts once again winning the first Test). New Zealand were defending the draw, knowing that, should they cling on, the worst they could do is draw the series. Then, with three minutes left, a substitute was pinged for tackling a player in the air: Charlie Faumuina hit Kyle Sinckler as he was returning to ground, having plucked a slightly high Murray pass from above his head.

Owen Farrell kicked the resulting penalty, and that was ultimately all she wrote.


But it could have been slightly different, but for some typically smart and quick thinking by Conor Murray.

Sinckler is quite inexperienced, and that rawness has been a great benefit on this tour, but it does occasionally lapse into indiscipline, and Sinckler's furious reaction to the tackle was a manifestation of exactly that.

He jumped to his feet, and rushed over to confront one of the New Zealand players, but for Conor Murray to hold him back. Sean O'Brien, Jamie George, and Jonathan Davies piled in to ensure that Sinckler did not do anything that might end up resulting in the loss of the precious penalty.


There's a video below, as are a couple of terrific images captured by Sportsfile.


As it happens, Sinckler was riled once again at full-time, confronting TJ Peranara. But at that stage, Murray was focusing on the far more satisfying act of kicking the ball dead to end the game.

Here's a video of that.

See Also: Players Ratings: The Lions Beat The All Blacks After A Rollercoaster Game In Wellington

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