As the rugby world struggles to come to grips with a drawn All Blacks-Lions series, NZ Rugby chief executive Steve Tew has revealed the notion of a tiebreaker was dismissed during tour negotiations.

Last night's 15-15 result at Eden Park had everyone hanging for some kind of definitive resolution, but instead left them with the image of captains Kieran Read and Sam Warburton jointly raising the series trophy.

Speaking to Newstalk ZB's Tony Veitch, Tew admitted he had predicted the outcome in his welcome to official guests earlier in the evening.

"A long time ago, when we drew up the tour agreement, we would have considered how we would break a deadlock," he said.


"We could have gone points for and against, we could have gone the number of tries, we could have gone to a penalty shootout, we could have played an extra 10 minutes ...

"But what we, in the end, determined was that if you played 24-odd minutes against each other and you're still locked up, then surely that's a reflection that the two sides are pretty equal.

"Imagine if it was last week's situation, where one team was down to 14 guys for 55 minutes and then had to play an extra 10 minutes of extra time ... would that have been a fair outcome, given they'd battled through the whole game with less players?

"Or if, at the end of extra time, you had a penalty shootout ... is that really how you want to determine who wins the series?"

Many rugby league fans took to social media afterwards, calling for an NRL-style "golden point" format, where the first scorers in overtime win.

Ironically, international league doesn't usually embrace this concept either. A draw is a draw, unless it occurs at the sudden-death stage of a tournament.

All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen with NZ Rugby CEO Steve Tew. Photo / Brett Phibbs
All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen with NZ Rugby CEO Steve Tew. Photo / Brett Phibbs

"Extra time may have been interesting, but one team may have been able to manager their bench better than the other, simply because of circumstances," said Tew. "Anything could have happened that would have made that an uneven process.

"At the end of 240 minutes, if we're all square, we're all square."

Notably, though, the All Blacks trailed their rivals for only three of those 240 minutes through the series.

Tew told Veitch NZ Rugby would lodge no formal protest against the performance of French referee Romain Poite, but that all the series referees would be assessed as part of an overall review.

"It's a process that would normally be followed and we'll leave it at that," he said.

Poite had a chance to award the All Blacks a potential game-winning penalty in the dying moments, when Lions fullback Liam Williams spilled a kick-off forward and hooker Ken Owens played the ball from an offside position.

After TMO review, Poite ruled it a case of "accidental offside" and overturned his initial penalty, awarding an All Blacks scrum instead.

"I think [All Blacks coach Steve Hansen] summed it up last night," said Tew. "The decision was made on the field and that's the end of it."