The British & Irish Lions have suffered their first defeat on their tour of New Zealand just two matches in as the Blues stunned Warren Gatland’s side 22-16 in front of over 40,000 fans at Eden Park.
The Lions were much better than their inauspicious opening win over the Provincial Barbarians on Saturday, but lacked the attacking spark that their counterparts had in spades.
Sonny Bill Williams, Steven Luatua and Rieko Ioane were particularly impressive for the Blues who outscored the Lions three tries to one.
Social media was abuzz with reaction with plenty of differing opinion.
Several former players in the north were far from impressed by the Lions, lamenting basic errors and a heavy penalty count.
Well the dominant @lionsofficial line out had a shocker under pressure at the end. Get the loss out the way and spring back Saturday
— Lewis Moody (@LewisMoody7) June 7, 2017
I think the forwards were good but I question the way the backs play to flat not enough individual skill
— Andy Powell (@andypowell8) June 7, 2017
Superb try from Blues to win the match – Lions far too many unforced penalties.
— Brian Moore (@brianmoore666) June 7, 2017
Coach Warren Gatland is sure to come under scrutiny from New Zealand fans and media, but two of his former Wales players think it’s too early to judge.
Incredible strength in depth in NZ, @lionsofficial playing against teams who have been together for 7 months rather than 7 days.Will improve
— Martyn Williams (@martynewilliams) June 7, 2017
Incredible try to win that game….! Just remember these games are preparation for the Tests.
— Tom Shanklin (@TomShanklin) June 7, 2017
Meanwhile a former All Black had a piece of advice for the Lions moving forward, while another current kiwi player was bit more cryptic.
I will say it again!!!! DON’T kick the ball away all the time to NZ teams!!! What a try by the @BluesRugbyTeam
— Nick Evans (@nick10evans) June 7, 2017
This is gonna be an interesting @lionsofficial tour of New Zealand