Home Rugby Ken Owens Outlines How Lions Test Series Draw In New Zealand Can Benefit Wales

Ken Owens Outlines How Lions Test Series Draw In New Zealand Can Benefit Wales

Lions and Wales hooker Ken Owens believes that the Lions’ gutsy series draw against the All Blacks could help Wales end their winless run against Steve Hansen’s men.

It is 64 years, 29 games and over 23,000 days since Wales last tasted victory over the men in black, a 13-8 win courtesy of a late Ken Jones try in December 1953. The win was only their second ever triumph over New Zealand, a 3-0 win in 1905 the only other time Wales have beaten them.

A 3-0 series whitewash last summer in the land of the long White cloud extending the miserable run.

Sam Warburton, Alun Wyn Jones, Liam Williams, Jonathan Thomas and Talupe Faletau started in last Saturday’s gripping final test, where a late Owen Farrell penalty levelled things up at 15 all and ensured a series draw for Warren Gatland’s men.

Owens and scrum-half Rhys Webb made second-half appearances off the bench meaning that seven Welsh players were involved in the third test.

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 08:  (R-L) Ken Owens of the Lions and Maro Itoje of the Lions look on following the drawn series during the third test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and the British & Irish Lions at Eden Park on July 8, 2017 in Auckland, New Zealand.  (Photo by David Rogers/Getty Images)

And shortly after coming on, the Scarlets hooker was involved in controversy. Handling the ball in an offside position after Liam Williams had spilled a restart, French referee Roman Poite awarded a penalty against him.

In an eminently kickable position within the Lions 22 and with only minutes left, the kick would have probably given New Zealand victory.

But after reviewing the incident on the big screen and with a little bit of persuasion from Lions skipper Sam Warburton, he surprisingly changed his mind, awarding a scrum instead.

The Lions held on and the 5o cap veteran believes that Welsh involvement in the thrilling 24-21 second test victory and third test draw, can help them come November the 25th when they welcome New Zealand to the Principality Stadium.

“I think it will [help] going forward with Wales”, he told BBC Sport.

“A lot of players were key players in that victory and the draw, and I think we’ll take huge confidence from that going into the autumn series.

“Hopefully we’ll get that monkey off our backs with Wales”.

While Owens and the other Welsh Lions can definitely take heart from the epic series, beating the All Blacks and then drawing with them as the cream of British and Irish rugby is a different kettle of fish to beating them with your own national team.

New Zealand All Blacks Brodie Retallick (C) is stopped short of the try line by Wales' Ken Owens (L) and Taulupe Faletau (R) during the rugby Test match between the New Zealand All Blacks and Wales at Eden Park in Auckland on June 11, 2016. / AFP / MICHAEL BRADLEY        (Photo credit should read MICHAEL BRADLEY/AFP/Getty Images)

Wales showed last summer that they can compete with the All Blacks for the first 5o minutes, creating chances and causing the All Blacks problems behind, especially in the first and second tests.

With the exception of the third test where they were outplayed from early on, Wales tested them for large parts of the opening two tests.

But the final 30 minutes of both the first and second tests saw the All Blacks go up a gear and blow Wales away.

Wales can give them a game come November but expect Kieran Read’s men to make it 30 straight wins over them in Cardiff.


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