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Friday 3 February 2023 Dublin: 8°C
Photosport/Andrew Cornaga/INPHO
AS IT HAPPENED
As it happened: All Blacks v The Lions, First Test
After four years of talk, it was action time.

After all the mind games, squad selection arguments and long-haul flights, we’re about to get down to business.

Eden Park is full and the first Test is upon us.

Murray Kinsella is in Auckland for The42 to witness Peter O’Mahony lead out the tourists against the back-to-back world champions and we’ll be minute-by-minute here.

So how do you see this going?

While we’re back supping milky tea, Murray’s ready for some champagne rugby in the famous Eden Park:

The Lions have just emerged, behind the Cork Con man, to plenty of boos from the hosts and support from the travelling red army.

And here come the All Blacks. Haka next then.

Haka and anthem performed and observed, so let’s have some rugby football.

Get those predictions into comments section.

And we’re off.

Good start for the Lions and Conor Murray whose kick leads to a penalty for the tourists. Promising.

The Lions almost get over for an early try!

Davies breaks and puts Murray in, it seems. Daly then looks like he may have dotted down in the corner but Dagg’s scramble defence is crucial.

Hugely encouraging though.

‘That is pure black magic from Barrett’.

Bbeauden has the whole crowd oohing with a one-handed Austin Gleeson style scoop of a hopping ball.

This had been a great first opening period.

Tahdg Furlong has made the first real error from a Lion with a loose enough pass that concedes possession.

The All Blacks perform the Haka Photosport / Andrew Cornaga/INPHO Photosport / Andrew Cornaga/INPHO / Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

The All Blacks are going through the phases here and exerting plenty of pressure on the visitors for the first time really.

‘That’s a try saver’ – an excellent take from Anthony Watson denies Ioane in the corner after a delicate Barrett kick.

Beauden Barrett scores the first points of the game after a very entertaining opening 15 minutes or so. Lions were called offside.

TRY! All Blacks 8 Lions 0 

Codie Taylor picks the pass off his shoelaces and gets over in the corner. You felt that was coming after immense pressure again. Ruthless stuff.

Barrett slots the conversion, in the meantime.

It seems so long ago now but here’s that so-close Elliot Daly effort.

The British & Irish Lions / YouTube

Couple of comments below criticising the referee already.

“Historically referees have always been anti lions. Today’s is no different.”

Agree?

Conor Murray Photosport / Andrew Cornaga/INPHO Photosport / Andrew Cornaga/INPHO / Andrew Cornaga/INPHO

Some switching of talent in the All Blacks side.

Ben Smith, who’s just back from concussion, is headed off for a HIA with Aaron Cruden on at 10, and Barrett move to 15.

A chance for the Lions. But nothing comes of it and they’re still scoreless almost half an hour in.

Farrell finds Daly with a big crossfield kick. Had he found Williams behind him there was a a big opportunity but the chance is gone.

They’re on the board. Farrell nails a penalty to get the Lions up and running.

Crotty’s limping off to be replaced by Lienert-Brown.

Barrett makes it three kicks from three to stretch the All Blacks’ lead.

TRY! Sean O’Brien gets over!

What a try.

Liam Williams was superb and the ball ended up with the Carlow man.

Farrell misses the kick though.

Half-time: All Blacks 13 Lions 8 

Conor Murray kicks for touch with the time in the red after some big pressure. They’ll be delighted to go in within a score of the hosts, right?

Had your cup of team? We’re underway again.

Here’s that crucial intercept from Anthony Watson in the first half:

The British & Irish Lions / YouTube

Some pressure from the Lions! Advantage.

Farrell goes to the corner and the touring fans are in full voice.

What a period of play. The Lions were knocking on the door but again they fail to take the chance.

You have to take your opportunities against this side.

Itoje for Jones it looks like for the Lions while Savea is on for Kaino.

Owen Farrell and Ben Te’o tackle Sonny Bill Williams James Crombie / INPHO James Crombie / INPHO / INPHO

Former colleague Stephen McBride who’s on a walkabout in the southern hemisphere, sends us this pic from the Auckland Fanzone.

image1 (1)

Are you watching anywhere more exciting?

Sam Warburton replaces Peter O’Mahony, who’s left it all out there.

TMO! Have the All Blacks scored again?

TRY! Rieko Ioane is awarded the score and the All Blacks tighten their grip on the game.

The visitors went to sleep for a moment there again. Barrett adds the extra.

Aaron Smith celebrates Rieko Ioane scoring their second try Photosport / Marty Melville/INPHO All Blacks' Aaron Smith celebrates Rieko Ioane scoring their second try. Photosport / Marty Melville/INPHO / Marty Melville/INPHO

Furlong’s night’s work is done with Kyle Sinckler trotting on for the last 20 minutes.

Huge AB pressure once again.

Another Barrett kick from in front of the posts stretches the hosts’ lead and it’s a long way back now.

The craic has seriously gone out of this game, hasn’t it?

From a point just after the break when it looked like the Lions might get over the line and go to within a point of the hosts, to a 15-point difference now and the hosts dominating possession.

The next 15 minutes will be important in the context of the rest of the series though, even if Gatland can’t oversee a first Test victory.

As Sexton nails a class kick down the line, there’s two more changes for the Lions.

Rhys Webb and Ken Owens sprint on in place of Conor Murray and Jamie George.

TRY! All Blacks 28 Lions 8

Rieko Ioane pounces on a missed catch to steam away and dot down.

Barrett kicks his sixth from six to make it a 22-point game with nine minutes or so left.

Williams – whose mistake led to that try — is replaced by last man on the bench, Leigh Halfpenny.

Sexton kicks to the corner as the Lions look to create a late try.

Kieran Read trots off to a standing ovation after a monster game with Scott Barrett on.

We’re into garbage time and again Sexton kicks to the corner.

TRY! All Blacks 30 Lions 13 –  Rhys Webb gets over

And with the last kick of the game, Farrell makes it 30-15.

Full-time: All Blacks 30 Lions 15

So it’s on to Wellington for the last dirt-track game against the Hurricanes for Warren Gatland and his touring party.

We’ll be live on Facebook with Murray for reaction from Eden Park, in an hour or so, or whenever the press conference wraps up. We’ll post it here too.

Thanks for your Saturday morning company. You can get dressed now.

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