Can we have one more match, please? Surely, surely it can't end like this.

A draw is such an anti-climax to a series that, quite literally, gave us everything.

No-one will be happy with a stalemate. Players lingered on Eden Park long after the final whistle, not sure how to react. Even the trophy has to be "shared".

Romain Poite's accidental offside ruling - after first awarding a penalty - was a hugely controversial decision that will long be debated. So, too, will Rhys Webb throwing the ball into a prone Wyatt Crockett - the resulting penalty allowing Owen Farrell to bang over the kick which leveled it up.


The Lions were force to absorb one hell of an onslaught, and deserve immense credit for what they have come through after a brutal six week, 10 match tour. No-one gave them a real chance of getting to this point.

The backlash from Wellington lived up to the hype. The All Blacks came with a relentless pace to brutally expose the Lions early. But they somehow found a way to hang tough.

For a long time the chance to match their predecessors of 1971, the only previous Lions team to win a series in New Zealand in 11 attempts, weighed heavily on their shoulders.

Experienced men - nine from the last Lions tour four years ago - crumbled at times on the biggest stage outside a World Cup. But then they came again.

Truth be told the Lions were fortunate the game was not gone after 30 minutes; such were they their own worst enemies. The All Blacks really were that dominant, but they also dropped the ball at least five times in the Lions 22 to keep the tourists in the hunt.

Julian Savea was guilty multiple times. But he was not the only culprit with execution sorely lacking.

Mako Vunipola and Maro Itoje threw themselves about constantly. Jonathan Davies looked good from centre and put in some inspirational hits. Murray kicked well from the base, as he has all series.

Owen Farrell eptiomised the panic with the Lions early. In the first quarter alone he squandered a Vunipola turnover by kicking the ball straight into Brodie Retallick. With the backfield open, he kicked another out on the full. And he was then caught too far off the wing.


But then he was the man to step up and nail the late, decisive penalty.

Farrell was not alone in being shaky. Jonathan Sexton failed to find touch from one penalty kick. Liam Williams dropped high balls and kicks through. He and Elliot Daly took the ball into touch. The All Blacks shunted the Lions scrum, and even gained one tight head. Hooker Jamie George botched two long lineout throws when the Lions had a one man advantage.

Twice the Lions were exposed on the cross-kick on both sides of the field. They knew it was coming and, yet, when Jordie Barrett pushed a nudge from his brother back on the inside to Ngani Laumape, the cover defence was far too slow.

In the finish the Lions survived all that and much more.

We had to wait until Jerome Kaino was yellow carded in the 50th minute to see any real form of the glint in their eyes of the Lions' players we were told they had in training this week. Only then did they draw level; 12-12 with 20 minutes left.

It wasn't quite the moment Warren Gatland so desperately craved. But he can be proud of his men. Matching the draw at this ground in 1971 is more of a win for the Lions and their legion of touring fans than it is for the All Blacks.