independent

Friday 17 November 2017

Lions bounce back

Furlong and co. set up crunch decider

Tadhg Furlong (extreme right) lines up with some of the Lions colleagues before the second test on Saturday
Tadhg Furlong (extreme right) lines up with some of the Lions colleagues before the second test on Saturday

As the Lions savoured a 24-21 victory over New Zealand to keep the three-game Test series alive, Tadhg Furlong once again held a firm scrum while also being prominent in the loose.

The All Blacks may have been down to 14 players, following the red carding of Sonny Bill Williams during the opening half.

However, the Lions still had to battle back with two excellent tries to make it 21-21, before an Owen Farrell penalty gave them victory to set up a huge grudge final test in Auckland this Saturday.

Significantly, Furlong was given first opportunity to tame the All Blacks scrum, and he held firm in the tight in a huge front five battle.

It gave them the cushion to provide some quality ball, all of which helped with the two tries, with the All Blacks having just two in the back row. This was capitalised on by Conor Murray for a fine individual try with a break from the base of the scrum.

It was a compelling contest for the 80 minutes. Furlong's direct opponent, Joe Moody, will dominate his memory of the tour as the pair had another ding-dong battle from the opening scrum.

While there was little to choose between them in the tight, Furlong was more effective in the loose, getting in the tackles while also showing his strength at the breakdown.

He certainly justified his inclusion from the start, with his accurate lifting in the line-outs also contributing to the Lions winning some quality ball, even off the All Blacks throw.

Furlong will now be looking forward to the final test, having made such an impact in the two games to date. If he helps the Lions scrum to even gain parity it should set up an intriguing 80 minutes of rugby.

Wexford People

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