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New Zealand 48 British & Irish Lions 18

Well the spin all week has been about Tana Umaga’s spear tackle on Brian O’Driscoll but the All Black captain has had the last laugh.

By receiving Dan Carters gift of a try in the 18th minute, Umaga lit the blue touch paper on a night where the All Blacks wrote themselves into the history books again by gunning down the Lions in spectacular fashion.

Now before I write what I am about to, I want to let it be known that the All Blacks were the best side on the day and their second half performance in particular was one of the finest and most clinical performances by a rugby team in recent years. They deserved to win the match and indeed the series.

With that piece of humble pie out of the way it is only fair to say that the first half of the game last night was a farce. Andrew Cole should have been taken outside and shot for his performance in that first period. I thought it was supposed to be the Lions who had the 16th man with their supporters, but obviously Cole had other ideas.

Refereeing decisions for both sides were poor, but some of his calamitous errors were game defining and virtually handed the kiwis the match on a plate.

In a conversation our group was having with a local supporter a while before this game, he chimed “New Zealanders and Australians never see eye to eye about anything, with the sole unified exception of our hatred of the British”. That statement kind of says it all really where Mr Cole is concerned.

Well actually, now I am thinking about it, I am not entirely sure it is bias that Cole is actually suffering from. Perhaps it’s just plain ineptitude??

Anyway, Coles wildly erratic showing wasn’t the only inept performance on display. The players themselves could hardly be blamed as they gave their all but it just wasn’t good enough. No. The Lions management and coaching staff should stand up and be prepared to take the flak that is undoubtedly coming their way.

I fail to see how a coaching staff comprising of a world cup winning coach, two international team coaches, a two time former Lions series winning coach and some of the most innovative and up and coming coaches in world rugby have put out a display the likes of which we have endured in these test matches so far. And that’s before we start talking about the money side of things.

There is one test match left and all the signs are pointing towards a blackwash. Sir Clive and his charges are going to need to pull a rabbit out of a hat from somewhere, but I for one can’t see where that rabbit is going to come from?

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