Former Lion: Silly Sonny has given us hope

Horndean's former British & Irish Lions forward Derek White is relishing the third test decider at Eden Park next weekend after the tourists squared the series with a 24-21 win over the All Blacks in Wellington.

Sunday, 2nd July 2017, 5:04 pm
Updated Tuesday, 18th July 2017, 8:40 am
Jonny Sexton in action for the Lions in the second test

It is game on after this result.

At the same time, the Lions know their job is far from over yet.

They still face a massive task next weekend against an All Blacks side that will be hurting.

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We can expect the hosts to throw everything at them and they have to be prepared for that.

The turning point at the weekend was obviously the sending off of Sonny Bill Williams inside the opening half-hour.

There is no doubt it was absolutely the right decision by the referee.

Williams led with his shoulder to the player’s head and it was a totally stupid and unnecessary thing to do.

It left the All Blacks with an uphill battle but they still managed to lead for most of the game.

I was in no doubt, however, that being a man short for so long would eventually take its toll.

That is what happened with the Lions again showing just how dangerous they can be as an attacking side.

The gamble of playing Jonny Sexton and Owen Farrell together paid off under the circumstances.

Some of the handling on display and interposing was fantastic.

It is also telling the Lions scored a good try when both teams were playing with 14 men for 10 minutes.

Whether the Sexton-Farrell combination would have been so effective if Williams had stayed on, I am not sure.

The All Blacks were starting to challenge that channel to make ground.

The Lions’ forwards, though, were much improved in their physicality and stepped up to the mark.

It was backs to the wall stuff at times but they did it a lot better.

The big question mark, however, is against the discipline or lack of it from the Lions.

Their discipline was dreadful.

They gave away penalty after penalty and if Beauden Barrett had had his kicking boots on it could have spelled disaster for the tourists.

As it was, he missed three straightforward kicks and that was the difference between the two teams.

The biggest Lions culprit was Mako Vunipola, who was a nightmare.

He gave away three quick-fire penalties and was also sent to the sin-bin.

If the Lions are to stand any chance of winning the series they must tighten up their discipline.

Importantly, though, the win in Wellington has done a little to burst the bubble of All Blacks invincibility.

If the Lions do win it then it will be a huge achievement.

They would become only the third team in 100 years to come back and win a series after losing the first game.

To become only the third team in 100 years to come back and win a series after losing the first game might just be a bridge too far, though.