Everyone was excited about the All Blacks and Lions series finale at Eden Park.

As New Zealanders, most of us had accepted that second-test loss in Wellington as we never have before. It was a rare reaction - normally there is criticism and debate - and the reasons for that were the quality of the opposition, and the fact the series needed it.

Yes there was controversy, with Sonny Bill Williams' red card and the late penalty which got the Lions over the line, but the bigger issue was who would win the decider?

I went to numerous functions during the week and I met a lot of nervous All Blacks supporters and I was a bit nervous myself. I wasn't entirely confident the All Blacks could get the job done. One of the few sources of comfort was the Eden Park factor.


The test ending as a draw leaves a feeling more akin to a non-result than anything else. Neither side will feel like they got what they wanted. We've got a situation where two very even teams have belted their way through the series but we've ended up with a result where no one wins.

If you were to ask Warren Gatland as he was getting off the plane in Auckland all those weeks ago: Lose a couple of Super Rugby matches, draw one, but win the other two and beat the New Zealand Maori and draw the test series he would probably have said - 'you know what, I'd take that home to the UK, I wouldn't be disappointed with that. I want more because I want to win but if that's the worst case scenario I'd take it'.

The tour has been a success for that reason and many others. I don't think we've really recognised how much the Lions have done for rugby in New Zealand. There have been hospital and school visits and a magnificent welcome in Waitangi. They have faced haka from Super Rugby teams and they've never moaned about any of it.

They've embraced it. They've accepted everything with good grace and have been brilliant ambassadors for the Lions and their countries.

What they've offered New Zealand in terms of competition is something we've sought as a nation for some time. We're lucky in that we have the depth and skill to be able to beat any nation but the Lions arrived and effectively stated, 'no, we don't accept that, we're here to win'. They've done a brilliant job off and on the field.

We'll debate the last test and how it ended, but rugby offers up the most complicated rule book in sport. There are always going to arguments that are never resolved due to those complicated laws.

Having been involved as a player in 2005 I know how significant that series was to the All Blacks. People think it was easy but it certainly wasn't. And I think this Lions team has shown that. It's not easy to beat them - it's always a battle.

And who now isn't looking forward to them coming again in 12 years?