It was a breathless win in Wellington.
On a cold, rainy night in New Zealand’s capital in 2017, the British and Irish Lions faced into a must-win clash against the All Blacks in what was the second Test of a remarkable series.
After losing the first Test a week earlier, the Lions needed to produce something special and although they were aided by a red card to Sonny Bill Williams, Warren Gatland’s side produced a superb performance to set up a third Test decider at Eden Park.
Below you will find an article published almost three years ago which details the vital contribution which Owen Farrell made in the build-up to Conor Murray’s try in the second test. This try and subsequent conversion from Farrell levelled the game with 10 minutes remaining.
Farrell would then go on to kick a game-winning penalty just two minutes from time.
[Article originally published July 1st 2017]
It was a try which changed the game and has the potential to change the series for the British and Irish Lions. Just like in Chicago, Conor Murray sold the New Zealand defence to dart over from close range, a try which got the Lions on level pegging with the All Blacks after Owen Farrell’s conversion.
Although Murray will get much of the plaudits, and rightly so, Farrell had a crucial role to play in the build-up to that try which may have gone unnoticed amongst the excitement of the whole situation.
The try was created through a beautiful little pop pass from Johnny Sexton to Jamie George, a pass which was delayed and timed to perfection. George ran a great line and subsequently made an excellent carry as he brought the play to about 10 metres out from the All Blacks try line.
Take a look at what happens once the ruck is formed after the tackle from TJ Perenara on George. Farrell is the first man on the scene and what he does at the ruck is incredibly clever.
Even though Beauden Barrett isn’t competing at the ruck, Farrell notices that the out-half is still a threat regardless and is pushed back to the ground as the Hurricanes man makes an attempt to get back into the defensive line.
Once that task is complete, Farrell powers through the ruck and actually holds Perenara by the ankles for a micro-second which delays the scrum-half from getting back to his defensive duties.
You can see the intervention from Farrell in full flow below.
Although Perenara does get back into the line eventually and makes an attempt to tackle Murray, that little bit of a delay caused by Farrell has contributed to the absolute ease by which Murray sold the dummy.
In addition to George, this try was created by Murray, Sexton and Farrell – the three players who were expected to have a huge say on how the game would pan out and that certainly proved to be the case.
Expect to see these three start at Eden Park on Saturday.
You can watch the full try below: