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Dublin: 15 °C Thursday 27 June, 2019


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Good morning and welcome along to our live coverage of the third match of the 2017 Lions tour, as Warren Gatland’s side face their stiffest test yet in the form of Super Rugby leaders Crusaders.

The tourists are in desperate need of a victory, and indeed performance, in Christchurch after defeat to the Blues on Wednesday and an underwhelming start against the Provincial Barbarians seven days ago.

Kick off is at 8.35am Irish time so stick with us and we’ll bring you all the action as it happens.

Here are the Lions arriving a little earlier on.

Conor Murray arrives Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Owen Farrell arrives Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Paddy Rala O'Reilly hanging up Alun Wyn Jones' jersey Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

A view of a Lions jersey in the changing room Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

It’s a big night for Ireland internationals Conor Murray, Tadhg Furlong, Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony, who all make their first starts of the 2017 tour as the Lions bid to bounce back after the midweek defeat in Auckland.

Conor Murray before the game Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

The Irishmen are part of a group of 11 players who get their starting chance for the first time on the tour of New Zealand, with England’s Owen Farrell set to wear the number 10 shirt in a side captained by Alun Wyn Jones.

CJ Stander, Johnny Sexton and Jack McGrath – all of whom were involved against the Blues – are part of the Lions bench.


15. Stuart Hogg
14. George North
13. Jonathan Davies
12. Ben Te’o
11. Liam Williams
10. Owen Farrell
9. Conor Murray

1. Mako Vunipola
2. Jamie George
3. Tadhg Furlong
4. Alun Wyn Jones (captain)
5. George Kruis
6. Peter O’Mahony
7. Sean O’Brien
8. Taulupe Faletau


16. Ken Owens
17. Jack McGrath
18. Dan Cole
19. Maro Itoje
20. CJ Stander
21. Rhys Webb
22. Johnny Sexton
23. Anthony Watson

And this is how the Crusaders will line-up this evening.

Head coach Scott Robertson’s team is captained by All Blacks lock Sam Whitelock, with fellow Test players Luke Romano, Owen Franks, Seta Tamanivalu, Codie Taylor, Isreal Dagg and Joe Moody all starting.


15. Isreal Dagg
14. Seta Tamanivalu
13. Jack Goodhue
12. David Havili
11. George Bridge
10. Richie Mo’unga
9. Bryn Hall

1. Joe Moody
2. Codie Taylor
3. Owen Franks
4. Luke Romano
5. Sam Whitelock (captain)
6. Heiden Bedwell-Curtis
7. Matt Todd
8. Jordan Taufua


16. Ben Funnell
17. Wyatt Crockett
18. Michael Alaalatoa
19. Quinten Strange
20. Jed Brown
21. Mitch Drummond
22. Mitch Hunt
23. Tim Bateman

A sell-out crowd of 18,000 is expected inside the AMI Stadium for this one and with kick off fast approaching, the atmosphere inside the ground is building nicely.

Crusaders v British and Irish Lions - AMI Stadium Source: David Davies

Crusaders v British and Irish Lions - AMI Stadium Source: David Davies

Crusaders v British and Irish Lions - AMI Stadium Source: David Davies

Ryan Bailey here to guide you through all the action as it happens while Murray Kinsella is in position in Christchurch as we bring you minute-by-minute coverage of the 2017 Lions tour.

As always, if you want to join the conversation, tweet us: @The42_ie, e-mail or post your thoughts in the comments section below.

There is loads of pre-match content on the site to browse through before we get underway, including Murray Kinsella’s latest letter from New Zealand and a closer look at the all-conquering Crusaders.


Kick off! As Hakas go, that was something special but all the talking is over and we’re ready for the serious business.


Very nearly a perfect start for the Lions as the Crusaders are unable to gather Farrell’s kick off. It’s eventually worked out wide through Jonathan Davies but his final pass to Welsh team-mate George North is intercepted by George Bridge.


This is a very encouraging start for the tourists as they retain possession through the phases and look to test the Crusaders defence early doors. Eventually George Kruis finds himself isolated and is then penalised for holding on.


More good work from the Lions, this time in defence as Mako Vunipola gets himself in a great position to force the turnover after the Crusaders had got a bit of a roll on.

The hosts give away the free-kick at the scrum before Israel Dagg shows his class in the air by claiming the up-and-under and the Lions are caught offside.


The first Crusaders lineout breaks down as Codie Taylor overthrows and that gives Conor Murray the chance to clear his lines and bring play back up towards halfway.


It’s a dry evening in Christchurch but there’s a heavy dew as night falls and it has become extremely greasy out there with both sides finding handling a little tricky.

The Lions do well to force George Bridge into touch on the far side after Richie Mo’unga’s cross-field kick before Peter O’Mahony does brilliantly to steal a lineout after Murray’s clearing kick.

Flag 11Mins

PENALTY! Crusaders 0-3 Lions (Farrell)

After that O’Mahony steal, the Lions are on the front foot and rumble on towards the Crusaders line with a powerful rolling maul. The hosts are then pinged for hands on the ground and Farrell slots over the penalty.


Very positive start from the Lions and Farrell sends an up-and-under into the Christchurch sky, with Mo’unga unable to catch cleanly and it’s a Lions scrum inside the Crusaders half.


PENALTY! Crusaders 0-6 Lions (Farrell)

Joe Moody concedes the scrum penalty and Farrell is on the money from the tee again.


Warren Gatland called for O’Mahony to unleash the ‘Munster mongrel’ tonight and the Ireland flanker has certainly started well.


The Crusaders are struggling at scrum time as their front row are pinged for an early push and referee Mathieu Raynal has a word with Sam Whitelock. Farrell finds a good touch on that far side.


Tadhg Furlong tackled by Jordan Taufua Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

The Lions team line-up Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Owen Farrell kicks the first penalty of the game Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO


Stuart Hogg launches an up-and-under and as he looks to chase his own kick, the Scottish fullback is caught by Conor Murray’s elbow and he’s in a bad way with blood streaming from his face. Hogg is a bit groggy as he’s helped off to be patched up with Anthony Watson on in his place.


Huge scrum from the Crusaders as they get an almighty push on and they are awarded the penalty, with the home fans responding with a huge roar. There’s a bit of a flash point afterwards which requires the referee to intervene.


The chance is gone for the Crusaders as they knock on after the Lions defence stands firm. Murray keeps it clear but he fails to find touch and Dagg has open space to run into. The hosts knocking on the door now.


The Crusaders look very dangerous all of a sudden and that’s the first time we’ve seen them unleash their running game, with Matt Todd cutting through on the left and then winning the penalty at the breakdown.


PENALTY! Crusaders 3-6 Lions (Mo’unga)

And the Crusaders are up and running as Mo’unga makes no mistake from the kicking tee.


The Crusaders make a mess of the kick-off again as Luke Romano fumbles it and Liam Williams dives on it to steal possession for the Lions. The Lions work it right and Davies picks a great line to run onto Farrell’s fired pass but he is unable to gather and the chance goes a begging.


Luke Romano is tackled by Mako Vunipola Source: Photosport/John Davidson/INPHO

Israel Dagg during their Haka Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Stuart Hogg goes off with a blood injury Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO


Davies is down receiving treatment after going into contact on that occasion and he’s off for a HIA so Johnny Sexton is on in his place, forcing the Lions into a reshuffle. Farrell goes to 12 and Sexton fills in at out-half.


The Crusaders concede another penalty as they stray offside and Farrell pings one deep into opposition territory. Jamie George finds his man and this is a perfect attacking platform.


PENALTY! Crusaders 3-9 Lions (Farrell)

Three from three for Farrell as he knocks over another penalty, this time from just in front of the posts after the Crusaders were caught offside.


End to end stuff now as Alun Wyn Jones’ offload is intercepted and Mo’unga streaks clear with nobody at home for the Lions — but Sean O’Brien does brilliantly to chase down the out-half and reel him in.

The Lions scramble back and while they prevent the initial threat, the Crusaders win the penalty and go for the jugular by going for the corner.


Codie Taylor finds his man from the lineout and the Crusaders hammer away at the Lions line, but they appear to be held up and the TMO agrees. We’re going back for the penalty.


That’s a big moment and the reaction from the Lions tells its own story. After turning down the three points, the Crusaders knock it on and the tourists win another scrum penalty. Three minutes until the break.


Good work from Watson and Farrell there and the latter angles a superb kick towards the five-metre line to give the Lions a perfect attacking platform here right before the break.


Lovely hands from O’Brien on this near touchline opens up the space for Liam Williams but he’s stopped in his tracks, before the Lions are forced in field again and eventually are turned over.


A hugely entertaining 40 minutes of rugby at the AMI Stadium as the Lions head into the break with a six-point advantage. O’Brien, O’Mahony, Furlong and Murray all having good games.


Owen Farrell kicks a penalty Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Sean O'Brien with David Havili and Richie Mo’unga Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Conor Murray with Richie Mo’unga Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO


Right we’re almost good to go again. Stuart Hogg and Jonathan Davies both failed their HIAs, by the way, and won’t return this evening with Sexton and Watson staying on for this second half.


Speaking to Sky Sports at half time, Lions captain Sam Warburton said:

“It’s pretty pleasing to see the boys are hanging in there. I think Owen Farrell has done a great job trying to play territory. It is quite greasy out there and it is forcing errors so we need to put them in their half, make them exit and use our defence to put pressure on them.”


Taulupe Faletau shows his power after putting the head down and charging into his opposite number Jordan Taufua. It sets the Lions on the front foot and some lovely hands from the backline forces the Crusaders to scramble and Taufua fails to release in the tackle.

Farrell is going for goal here.


But he misses! You would have expected Farrell to slot that one over but the flags stay down and that’s a huge let-off for the Crusaders.


Close! The Lions have been let down by their inaccuracy again this evening and after Te’o steps two tackles and breaks into the space, his pass out to Williams is a shocker and the chance is gone.


Oh that’s beautiful from Farrell. After the Crusaders cleared, the Lions win their own lineout and the England out-half sees the space in behind and judges a kick through perfectly as it trickles into touch.


Peter O'Mahony with Luke Romano in the line-out Source: Photosport/Martin Hunter/INPHO

Richie Mo'unga Source: Photosport/John Davidson/INPHO

The Lions come out to start the game Source: Photosport/John Davidson/INPHO


The Crusaders have changed their entire front row with Funnell, Crockett and Alaalatoa all on.


Jack Goodhue steps inside Farrell and scythes through before stabbing it into the corner for Bridge to latch onto, but the winger, under pressure from George North, takes his eye off the ball with the line at his mercy.


The Crusaders conceded their fourth scrum penalty and the French referee isn’t a popular man in Christchurch at the moment as the Lions are given the chance to clear their lines.


Sean O’Brien, who has been excellent this evening, is making way after 56 minutes with CJ Stander introduced by Gatland.


The second half remains scoreless.


Slick hands from the Lions open catch the Crusaders narrow and Williams has the pace to streak clear on the left side. He opts to kick but has to contest it with Todd, with the ball breaking free and Watson latching onto it and eventually bundling his way over the line.

We’re going back to have a look at which hand the ball came off in the build-up, and it clearly comes off Williams. No try.


The Lions shut the door on the Crusaders and look to counter with Watson exploiting the gaps to run through midfield, and with Sexton supporting on his left shoulder this is a brilliant chance for the Lions. Sexton does well to come back infield and he picks the on-rushing Stander out but the Munster man knocks on.


The game has really started to open up here and it’s making for a superb contest, although we’ve yet to have our first score of the second half.

Jack McGrath is on for Vunipola with 18 minutes remaining, while Itoje has replaced for Kruis.


Murray has kicked very smartly all game and that was a hell of a kick from the Munster scrum as he arrows one into the corner. Gatland makes another double change with Dan Cole and Ken Owens on for Furlong and George.


Lions fans during the game Source: Billy Stickland/INPHO

Ben Te'o Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

Liam Williams Source: Photosport/Martin Hunter/INPHO


The Lions are hammering away at the Crusaders line after Sexton was involved in a break down the left touchline. With a penalty advantage, Farrell throws an audacious pass out wide but it comes to nothing and the Lions are going to take the three points here.


PENALTY! Crusaders 3-12 Lions (Farrell)

The right decision to go for the points there and Farrell extends the lead to nine points.


The defensive effort from the Lions has been heroic all evening and it was Sexton on that occasion who held his man up and forced the turnover. Great work from the Leinster out-half, who has had a much better game since coming on.


Five minutes remaining and it’s a two-score game but don’t rule the Crusaders out just yet as they have a penchant for launching late comebacks. They’ll need to produce something special here.


Penalty against the Lions at scrum time and the Crusaders kick up towards the opposition 22. Three minutes left on the clock.


All smiles in the Lions box as Gatland’s men win a scrum and that should be that. The tourists have been outstanding tonight and this will be a huge win.


A huge momentum-boosting victory for the Lions and you can read Murray Kinsella’s on-the-whistle match report from the AMI Stadium here.

Owen Farrell kicks a penalty Source: Dan Sheridan/INPHO

You get the sense that the 2017 tour is now up and running and next up for Gatland’s men is the Highlanders on Tuesday. We’ll have plenty more reaction from Christchurch, including a Facebook Live with Murray Kinsella at 12pm, to come throughout the day but until next time, goodbye!

About the author:

Ryan Bailey