The 2017 British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand will live long in the memory. When it came to the Test matches, they were all incredibly gripping encounters which captivated supporters both in New Zealand and around the world.
Both teams played to an incredibly high standard and it’s difficult to think of too many international Test matches in recent times which were so physical, tense, and required an incredible amount of effort from the players.
With 20 minutes to go in the final Test, the team were level and the series at that moment was level. The final quarter of the game was nail-biting, to say the least, and unfortunately, there was some referee controversy which potentially determined the outcome of the match.
In the final minutes of the game, Romain Poite awarded a scrum to the All Blacks when Ken Owens played the ball from an offside position. The correct decision would have been a penalty to the All Blacks. However, a scrum was given and the Lions eventually turned over possession.
Whether Beauden Barrett would have made the kick, no one knows but if this was another game there would have undoubtedly been comments from the coaching staff lamenting the decision. However, Steve Hansen refused to get in for a tit-for-tat over the decision and simply said this in the aftermath of the match.
“As a little kid we’re taught to accept the good with the bad and that’s what we’re going to do here.”
Hansen on Poite's last decision: "As a little kid we're taught to accept the good with the bad and that's what we're going to do here."
— Nick Heath (@nickheathsport) July 8, 2017
Overall, the series has been an incredible spectacle and both the Lions, the All Blacks, the supporters and the NZ public have covered themselves very will in capturing the imaginations of the rugby public. An opportunity for Hansen to air his grievances would have been understandable but would have taken away from the overall success of the tour.
We must say fair play to Hansen for refusing to engage with this. This tour will live long in the memory for being a great success.
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