Breaking inside the 50 day countdown to the British and Irish Lions tour of New Zealand, it is only fitting that Last Word On Rugby offer All Blacks fans a ‘Lions flashback’ or two. So starting today, follow us as we recall ten of the best clashes from historic tours.
#10: British and Irish Lions 2005 second test of the series on July 2 helped clinch the result for New Zealand. Played out at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington, the clash was one where several key memories were made. The atmosphere was super intense, and key moments would change the matches momentum – worthy of a flashback moment.
With Brian O’Driscoul invalid from the tour, his deputized captain was Gareth Thomas. The Wales captain had his men primed, and opened the scoring himself. Ably supported by Jonny Wilkinson and Simon Easterby, the Lions had real focus but would soon feel the wrath of the home side. And the superb skill of one man in particular.
Dan Carter establishes his World-class credentials
After his stellar year of 2004, Carter was the key to the home sides success. More so than in Christchurch a week earlier, he was pivotal in turning the momentum his sides way. With Tana Umaga in commanding form, Carter benefited with tries and kicks that established his credentials.
His haul of 33 points was a virtuoso performance, with support from the likes of Richie McCaw, Sitiveni Sivivatu, as well as bristling hometown flanker Jerry Collins, Byron Kelleher, Ali Williams, Carl Hayman and Rico Gear; to name just a few.
While Carter enjoyed the power of his tight forwards, the role he played was instrumental. The plaudits arrived from all quarters. “He announced himself as one of the best players of the modern era,” Sir Clive Woodward recently wrote in the Daily Mail. “His display in the second test was one of the most polished and accomplished I have seen from a player.”
— Super Rugby/TRC (@SuperRugby) November 2, 2015
Carter would go onto more striking performances in the Black jersey, with a pivotal role in the 2015 Rugby World Cup triumph. He would also amount the highest individual points in International rugby history: 1598
New Zealand 48 – Tries: Carter (2), McCaw, Sivivatu, Umaga; Conversions: Carter (4); Penalties: Carter (5)
British and Irish Lions 18 – Tries: Thomas, Easterby; Con: Wilkinson (2) ; Pen: Wilkinson.
Second test won well, British and Irish Lions series taken in Style
With the match result, New Zealand claimed the series. Having the confidence knocked out of them, the Lions would be punished in the third test. And that whitewash is the perfect motivation for the upcoming 2017 return trip.
Follow our ‘Lions flashback’ series, building up towards the opening game of the British and Irish Lions tour, on June 3.