The Lions have roared at last - and the British media has its chest out as a result.

Just days after bemoaning the potential fate of the tourists following haphazard opening games against the Barbarians and the Blues, the United Kingdom press has done a quick back-flip.

The 12-3 win over the Crusaders emboldened the British media with some even suggesting All Blacks coach Steve Hansen will have suffered a sleepless night.

The Guardian newspaper said the result will have caused parochial Kiwi fans to rethink claims these Lions could be the worst to ever tour New Zealand.


"Every successful Lions tour needs a rallying cry and "remember Christchurch" will now be the mantra of the 2017 expedition," said the UK media outlet.

"New Zealanders, at the very least, will have to readjust their opinion of the supposed lightweights in their midst.

"A minor tremor measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale was felt in the stadium after the game; if the Lions keep improving, a major shock could yet await in the Test series."

The Daily Mail continued the theme of a Lions renaissance and claimed former leaguie Ben Te'o had shown he was the man to contain Sonny Bill Williams.

"The Auckland-born centre is the most physical midfield option and has the upper body strength to make life hard for the All Black superstar," predicted Nik Simon after Te'o's strong display in the No. 12 jersey last night.

"The Crusaders have swept aside all-comers this season....but they were utterly neutralised and subdued by the Lions' monumental defensive efforts."

"To restrict these opponents to just three points was a stunning feat. There were nine All Blacks in the home line-up here and they will join their national squad knowing that the Lions may pose more of a threat than many Kiwis had thought following two underwhelming outings prior to this one."

The Independent said Crusaders coach Scott Robertson's post-match concession that his players were not expecting such a physical workout was a good sign for Warren Gatland.


"With the reigning world champions among the most physical teams in the world, the Lions will need to match fire with fire when they meet, and if they can maintain this same intensity for 80 minutes they will make life difficult for the Kiwis," the newspaper wrote.

The London Telegraph noted how Gatland thumped the desk in the coaching box upon fulltime in a clear gesture that he felt the tour had turned the corner.

"Above all, though, the Lions' defence was superb against a team that has proven unbeatable this season," wrote Julian Bennett.

"The Crusaders are a brilliant side with a Test-class pack and the Lions matched them at their own game.

"There was not quite as much devil from the back three as might be liked but this gave hope that the All Blacks can be given a seriously good game in a fortnight's time.

"With Gatland's 'Test-match animals' stepping up in the shape of Owen Farrell, Taulupe Faletau and George Kruis this was hugely encouraging. The Lions needed some momentum getting towards the business end of the tour and this certainly provided it."


The British writers wouldn't have a bar of any suggestion the Lions had bored their way to victory with a negative game plan.

"For all the fuss about 'Warrenball' and 'rugby chaos', much of the success the Lions enjoyed in the first half was thanks to playing to their traditional strengths - set piece excellence, solid carrying and dominant half-backs," wrote Bennett.

"They may not have played like rugby's equivalent of the Harlem Globetrotters but there is no shame in that up against a team in the class of the Crusaders."

The Telegraph said the performance will have concerned Hansen and there were critical lessons for the All Blacks.

"That they need to work on restarts, for one thing," wrote Bennett. "Luke Romano struggled to take them, and Steve Hansen will be unhappy if he finds his side struggling with one of the game's basics.

"They also need to get on the right side of a European referee at scrum-time.


"Some of the calls made by Mathieu Raynal seemed arguable but the Lions were on his good side all day. The All Blacks will be working hard on that side of the game."