The final test game – what should have happened!
What a tour that was. Over a month of action in New Zealand came to a close on Saturday when the Lions held the All Blacks to a draw at Eden Park. The atmosphere at the stadium was electric, until the final whistle when no one really knew what was going to happen. Extra time? Drop goals? Anything to decide a winner surely. Unfortunately for the eager rugby fans around the world that was it and the series went down as a draw. But what if?
We’ve put together a few scenarios that could have happened should the game have continued until we found a winner!
Just like that night in Sydney fourteen years ago when Jonny Wilkinson wrote his name into English folklore, this one could have been decided by extra time. England we’re the beneficiaries then claiming the World Cup and we’re confident the Lions could have come off better after twenty minutes of additional time. The likes of Te’o, Nowell and Webb would have done the damage, using their pace to damage the tiring All Blacks.
No winner after extra time? No worries, sudden death will sort it. The rules are simple, the first team to get points on the board take it. If it was a try needed then we’d give it to the All Blacks. After scoring two on the night they’d be hungry for a third and use their silky hands and pace to do the damage. But any points will do and that’s why again we think the Lions would have taken it. Sustained pressure from the forwards would get the Lions upfield, Farrell would be sitting in the pocket, licking his lips. He lives for these pressured moments. Once slotted the stadium would have erupted, New Zealand would have been awash with ecstatic Lions fans. Arise Sir Owen Farrell.
There’s only one thing left after that – penalties. If there was still no winner each team would select six players to step up and attempt drop goals from the 22. Barret(both of them), Perenara, Dagg and Cruden would step up for the All Blacks whilst Farrell, Sexton, Webb, Daly and Davies would line up for the Lions. Unfortunately for the Lions there’s just no chance the New Zealanders are going to miss here. Take it further. Get Reid, Retallick and Moody to take them too, there’s still no missing. So a loss for the Lions. But how valiantly did they play, taking the All Blacks to penalties at Eden Park?
So there you have it, three alternative endings to an epic tour. Three ridiculous endings that would have provided one of the greatest sporting stories ever told. Maybe they’ll introduce some sort of protocol for South Africa 2021?