Lions media proclaim 'victory for the ages'

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    03 Jul 2017     Getty Images

Here is some media reaction from Great Britain and Ireland to the win.

Robert Kitson, The Guardian: "By general consent among those lucky enough to be in the stadium, Saturday's match was among the most compelling and thrilling oval-ball occasions of recent times. Watching the 'Miracle in the Cake Tin' again on television two things repeatedly stood out: the impassioned support the team received from their travelling sea of red, and the light drizzle in which the game was apparently taking place. The former was thunderously real, the latter a complete optical illusion. Conditions were often horrendous, so much so that both sides did well to attempt anything remotely creative."


Gerard Meagher, The Observer: "It is a delicious irony of this Test series that the Lions are catching the eye with the tries they are scoring while New Zealand get the upper hand at the scrum. Similarly, New Zealand's most dangerous weapon was the debutant Ngani Laumape – a wrecking ball of a No.12 continually crashing over the gainline in a manner synonymous with Warrenball."

Stephen Jones, The Sunday Times:
"The faithful went to the Westpac stadium [sic] probably believing that sport would have to be ancillary to their trip. But instead, the series is burning hot, and vital. And level. It was another amazing match, and nothing augmented it quite like the grace with which the defeated team accepted their loss, of the match and of Sonny Bill Williams, sent off for a horrendous illegal charge. The All Blacks who spoke afterwards agreed that on this occasion the Lions were on a different planet to anything they have experienced before."

Sir Clive Woodward, The Mail on Sunday:
"The dismissal of Sonny Bill Williams set the narrative and for a while the Lions did not cash in. I've seen that so many time in my playing and coaching career. It can be just plain difficult playing against 14 that early in a game against a really quality side. They automatically raised their effort levels and intensity by five per cent and the subconscious temptation for the team with 15 is just to take the foot off the pedal a tad. You have to fight that and it was a battle the Lions eventually won."

Mick Cleary, The Sunday Telegraph: "History is not easily conquered but the Lions managed it, saving not just this series but also the credibility of future Lions tours. Those who oppose such trips, who seek to diminish the concept by reducing the length of the tour, should have been in Wellington. This was a victory for the ages, one to be celebrated and retained, an occasion to inspire future generations. Few believed in the Lions, but the Lions believed in themselves. They showed that they were a team of heart and soul as much as of muscle and bone."

Sir Ian McGeechan, The Sunday Telegraph: "It is a fantastic victory and it really sets it up for the decider at Eden Park. I was one of the coaches on the 1993 tour when we came back to level the series 1-1 in Wellington. Everything will change this week. If this Lions team did not know it before then they will quickly realise they are facing a whole nation from parliament down to the man on the street. This is the closest thing you can get to the pressure of a World Cup final…The backlash is already brewing. This is not simply a case of weathering the storm for the first 20 minutes; it will last for the full 80 minutes."

Neil Francis, Sunday Independent (Ireland): "The All Blacks are undoubtedly the superior team but that does not necessarily mean that they will win the series. They have far greater ring craft, beautiful feet, the ability to bob and weave, box clever, and put the gloves up to the face and defence when necessary. They can pick up points all the way through the fight. All of this can be undone when a right hook lands – at 24 minutes into the game that is exactly what happened. As Mike Tyson said, 'Everybody has a plan until you get punched in the face'. Last week the All Blacks had to shuffle the deck due to injury. Yesterday they had to shuffle the deck because one of their best players was deservedly sent to the line."

Barry John, Wales on Sunday: "As a former Lion myself I was left with a sense of pride at what I had just witnessed and there is no reason to fear a New Zealand backlash next weekend because Gatland's men are up to the challenge. There a lot of people down under who will be eating a bit of humble pie this morning, having written off these Lions as no-hopers just a couple of games into the tour. Well, they have demonstrated they are anything but no-hopers and I actually fancy them to win the third Test, too. The swingometer of the whole summer has suddenly transferred in one massive 80 minutes."