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Lions farewelled by All Blacks whitewash

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allblacks.com in Auckland     10 Jul 2005     allblacks.com

In a night of mixed rugby, All Blacks captain Tana Umaga capped his own brilliant Series with two of his team's five tries.

After a minute’s silence to commemorate this week’s tragedy in London, late rain signalled the onslaught of a black tide for the third week running.

As in Wellington a week ago, the stronger start belonged to the side wearing scarlet - vigorous set-pieces helping No 10 Stephen Jones to a third minute penalty. Lions wing Josh Lewsey’s sideline break looked certain to add more until stern All Blacks defence forced Jones to settle for his second three-pointer.

6-0 Lions and more drama for the home crowd as No 7 Rodney So'oialo was singled out by the linesman for an early tackle yet, confusingly, Tana Umaga was sin-binned. Although all that possession and Lions fire was for nothing - centre Conrad Smith gliding through the tissue-tackle of debutante fullback Geordan Murphy blindside in 9th minute.

Another debutante (albeit in black), Luke McAlister, converted.

7-6 All Blacks and they had a second soft try four minutes later as Lions halfback Dwayne Peel failed to control a McAlister grubber into the visitors in-goal and lock
Ali Williams pounced.

Fourteen points scored with just 14 players on the field: Sir Clive must be pulling someone’s hair out.

The second quarter saw Jones reply with his third penalty before McAlister answered in kind. And the kicking continued: Jones knocking over his fourth as the rain grew heavier. His fifth attempt in the 33rd minute - a kick that would have closed the margin to just two at 17-15 - ricocheted off the right-hand upright.

The All Blacks pack began to gain ascendency, and the fleet-footed McAlister stepped through a half-gap in the 38th minute and found Umaga on the outside for the captain’s 35th Test try.