Sonny Bill Williams made history for the wrong reasons tonight when he became the first All Black to be sent off in a test for 50 years, and the first ever in a British and Irish Lions test.

Second-five Williams was shown a red card by referee Jerome Garces in the 25th minute after connecting with his shoulder to the head of Lions wing Anthony Watson, who left the field for a head injury assessment but returned.

Garces watched several replays in slow motion before making his decision, and Williams can't have too many complaints - but it was probably more clumsy than intentional.

Waisake Naholo's supporting tackle on Watson may have put Williams off balance, but World Rugby's crackdown on tackling without arms, and any contact with an opponent's head, meant it wouldn't have been a difficult decision for the French official.


Williams will now face the judiciary at 5.00pm on Sunday.

Blindside flanker Jerome Kaino was the unlucky All Black. He had to leave the field along with Williams to allow midfielder Ngani Laumape to come on for his test debut, the All Black scrum doing remarkably well with Anton Lienert-Brown performing Kaino's role on the side.

All of which meant the All Blacks were severely disadvantaged for 55 minutes and looked extremely tired in the final minutes - a time when their superior fitness usually means they have an advantage. They couldn't play a width game in the constant rain, and without the ball carrying ability of Williams, they tired themselves to near exhaustion against the red brick wall in front of them.

It was probably the main reason for their defeat, their first in New Zealand of course since their loss to South Africa in Hamilton in 2009.

The Lions played well; tackled extremely well, but their own discipline let them down and unfortunately for the home side, Beauden Barrett's off-target goalkicking (he kicked seven but missed three relatively easy ones) cost them.

To be fair to the Lions, their attitude was vastly improved from the first-test loss at Eden Park. Their front-on tackling was tremendous, and they took their chances on attack, outscoring the All Blacks two tries to none.

They gave up 13 penalties to the All Blacks' eight, and prop Mako Vunipola was deservedly yellow carded on 56 minutes for his shoulder charge cleanout against Barrett - his second unprovoked charge against the All Blacks No10 in minutes, but Steve Hansen's men simply couldn't find an extra gear when they needed it.

Colin Meads was the last All Black to be sent off - in 1967 and in a time before red cards even existed. He was simply ordered off the Murrayfield pitch for allegedly kicking prone Scotland player David Chisholm.


The only other All Black to be sent off in a test was Cyril Brownlie who was sent from the Twickenham pitch in 1924 in the final match of an epic unbeaten four-month 28-game tour which earned the team their "Invincibles" tag. Brownlie was sent off for allegedly kicking an England forward. The All Blacks won the match 17-11 regardless.

Not this time, so all roads lead to Eden Park for the third test. The series is alive and kicking.