Here’s how the New Zealand media reacted to the Lions win against the Crusaders.
Phill Gifford – Stuff
Step aside Wayne Barnes.
Make room in that special corner of Kiwi hearts reserved for you after 2007 and the World Cup quarter-final in Cardiff.
A French referee called Mathieu Raynal was on fire in Christchurch on Saturday night.
We discovered he doesn’t appear to recognise the difference between a scrum being overpowered and a scrum being illegally turned.
The stunning season the Crusaders have had to date was based first on their set pieces. Raynal was responsible for taking the scrum card out of their hand.
Five minutes from halftime he allowed Lions captain Alun Wyn Jones to pull down a promising Crusaders maul near their line. At the least it was a penalty. It wasn’t far off being a yellow card. Raynal ignored it.
The Barmy Army would have loved the fact they won in the time honoured northern way. No tries, but a swag of penalty goals
Gregor Paul – NZ Herald
Proof at last these Lions can play a bit. Finally, after two duds, they hit the mark. They gave a performance that revealed something about themselves and went a long way to restoring pride and credibility.
And against, probably, the best team they will encounter other than the All Blacks.
We can finally take them seriously now they have shown something worth taking seriously. They played a smart hand and deserved their win.
Tactically they were clever. Low risk and grinding. They gave the Crusaders nothing – didn’t let them get into their work either with or without the ball. Their linespeed on defence was relentless and they held everything together for 80 minutes.
It was a bruising, powerful performance from the Lions that hinted – actually basically told – everyone what is to come from them.
Mark Reason – Stuff
They can’t score tries and have now managed a feeble total of two in their opening three games. But they can kick and chase. It may look more like Aussie Rules than rugby, but New Zealand can expect a great deal more. The home sides had better man the ack ack guns because the Lions bombardment will keep on raining down out of the lights.
Call it Warrenball, call it Gattacka, call it what you like, the Lions are going to play a physical game. There is no use pretending any more. They cannot hope to match New Zealand teams in terms of their passing and their fundamental ball skills. But they can hope to take them on in some of the darker areas. It’s not pretty, but the Lions fans have started singing after the 12-3 win against the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night.
Richard Knowler – Stuff
Game on. Warren Gatland’s British and Irish Lions have finally applied the jumper leads to their tour of New Zealand and, in doing so, poked a stick into the eyes of their detractors.
If you were a tourist from the northern islands you wouldn’t care a fig if their 12-3 win over the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night lacked tries, or breath-taking back moves.
Because the Lions, a team that some said might go through their tour without a win after their lacklustre opening victory over the NZ Barbarians, just tickled-up the mighty Crusaders – and kept them tryless – in front of a 21,500-strong crowd dominated by their parochial supporters
Patrick McKendry – NZ Herald
The tour is back on track for the British and Irish Lions, who showed in this victory over the Crusaders that they might have a bit about them after all.
On a very cold night in Christchurch they matched the Crusaders punch for punch and emerged deserved victors. It wasn’t pretty, but it was mighty effective; their defensive wall in particular offered Scott Robertson’s men very little in the way of opportunities and the constant high kicks, while a boring tactic for many in the south, was pragmatic and right for the conditions.
The win by Warren Gatland’s men allowed them to avoid becoming the first Lions side since 1908 to lose the first two of their three matches and they will depart for Dunedin and their match against the Highlanders on Tuesday with a vastly improved self belief.