The New Zealand media has reacted savagely to the British & Irish Lions narrow win in their tour opener against the Provincial Barbarians…
In blunt terms the Lions looked incompetent.
To be down 7-3 at halftime, and not take the lead until the 56th minute, was a disgrace to the jersey.
The fireworks which lit up the crisp Whangarei air high above Toll Stadium before this extraordinary match kicked off had little on the collisions against the famous visitors by the players from the second tier of the game here or the shining star quality of one Bryn Gatland.
This, unfortunately for the British and Irish Lions, was a damp squib of a performance in the opening match of their highly anticipated tour.
Anyone seen the Lions?
All Friday night the Northland rain battered the tin roofs of Whangarei and so when morning dawned dreich, it came so no surprise that Warren Gatland’s travelling red army stayed in their tents and campervans. But we did at least expect the Lions players to turn up for the match in the evening.
The Lions did not even have the excuse of a dreadful playing surface. After the torrents which had fallen, we envisaged Toll Stadium to look more like Toll Puddle Stadium, but the top of the ground was perfect. There was no plea to be made for so abject a Lions performance.
Only Toby Faletau and Ben Te’o furthered their reputations. And they aren’t even British. The Lions trailed 7-3 at halftime and the score distinctly flattered them.
If the British and Irish Lions were under any illusions about just how tough this tour of New Zealand would be, they surely aren’t now.