As it happened: Lions make big statement with clinical win as pinpoint kicking game and dominant scrum stifle Maori All Blacks




Relive to 1 NEWS NOW's live updates of tonight's Lions Tour match between the Maori All Blacks and British and Irish Lions at Rotorua International Stadium in Rotorua.

FT: MAB 10-32 BIL

The ball sails out for the final whistle and this is a massive statement from the Lions. They dominated the entire game in momentum and statistics. Maori All Blacks were pushed further and further into their half and starved on any ball. Gatland will know his side were clinical in executing his gameplan tonight and any doubters should be well aware the Lions have come to win a series now. For the Maori All Blacks, handling errors mixed with a disconnected-looking backline with the minimal ball they had really hurt them. It's a tough end for the likes of Messam and Elliot who won't wear the jersey again. That's it for tonight. We'll have coverage of the press conferences shortly and throughout tomorrow.

79min: MAB 10-32 BIL

Maori All Blacks lose the ball and it's going to be a Lions scrum with seocnds to go here.

77min: MAB 10-32 BIL

The refs can't find anything from the limited footage available. The captains are called in and told to cool the sides down but the Maori All Blacks will get a scrum Lions 10m to restart things.

77min: MAB 10-32 BIL

Emotions getting into the game now and the ref is going upstairs to check if there's been any foul play. Ref is struggling to separate everyone and finally declares, "leave or get penalised!".

74min: MAB 10-32 BIL

Benches are empty and the Barmy Army is starting to make themselves known as they "Lions" bellows from the stands. Thier boys have stepped up big time tonight and they may not be done here. It's their scrum feed 30m from the MAB line.

70min: MAB 10-32 BIL

BIL THREE! Sure enough, Halfpenny slots it. 22 point lead, 10 minutes to go.

68min: MAB 10-29 BIL

Lions now just starving the ball from the Maori as they earn what will likely be another three points for Halfpenny. They keep attacking the middle of the field for eight phases until the MAB give up a penalty 30m out in front of the posts for hands in the ruck.

65min: MAB 10-29 BIL

The Maori All Blacks survive this time and force a turnover on their line after they shut down the pick and go off the back of the scrum. The ball is shovelled to McKenzie frantically in the pocket and he scrambles it into touch.

63min: MAB 10-29 BIL

The scrum earns a penalty advantage and the ref eventually brings them back for it. Lions pick another scrum.

61min: MAB 10-29 BIL

ANOTHER 5m scrum coming up for the Lions after their backline rumbles towards the line before Te'o is held up over the chalk. Kerr-Barlow is on the pitch and it looks like the Maori All Blacks are about to make a raft of changes as the bench is all warming up. Kerr-Barlow has rejoined the team from the bin.

58min: MAB 10-29 BIL

The Lions look happy to keep the Maori All Blacks pinned down now as they relentless kick the ball back into the Maori All Blacks' half challenging them to try and run it if they want territory. It works again as the MAB finally decide to kick for touch instead of playing forceback and get a lineout on the MAB 10m.

55min: MAB 10-29 BIL

BIL TRY! Itoje goes over after the Lions stay with the forward pack from the scrum with a couple of pick and goes. You'd have to think it'll take something special for the Maori All Blacks to come back here as Halfpenny knocks over the extra two. This has been a brilliant performance so far from the Lions - a very good response to the All Blacks' outing last night. Still, there are 20 minutes left and anything can happen in sport.

53min: MAB 10-22 BIL

Lions are completely dominating the game and the pressure is showing. Lions pin the Maori All Blacks in their 22m and McKenzie tries to create something with a chip over the top and that is a horrible, horrible choice! The ball lands in the lap of a sweeping Lions defender and he immediately swings it wide. Lions on the attack and grubber it for the tryline. Rieko gets there in time and tries to get out of goal but he's smothered. Lions scrum on the MAB 5m to come - we know what happened last time.

50min: MAB 10-22 BIL

BIL PENALTY TRY! The Lions back their scrum and its got them seven points! For the first time this tour they back the pack and a massive shove crumbles the Maori All Blacks and the ref has no other choice. Maori All Blacks in trouble.

48min: MAB 10-15 BIL

BIL NO TRY! Ben Te'o dives in off the maul formed from the lineout but the TMO shows he's short! The Lions thought they had scored for all money and were set up for a kick off reception but now they have to come all the way back for a 5m scrum.

47min: MAB 10-15 BIL

MAB YELLOW! Kerr-Barlow is in the bin and he's lucky his night isn't over! Halfpenny is in space off the scrum to the right and as he's tackled by Lowe, Kerr-Barlow comes in to help with no arms and he hits Halfpenny's head with his shoulder. The TMO has a look and the ONLY reason he's not red-carded is because Halfpenny falls into the shoulder. It's still reckless contact though so he's off for 10. Lions smell blood and they use the penalty to go for the 5m lineout instead of three points.

46min: MAB 10-15 BIL

Lions have excellent attacking position again after Lowe drops a high ball cold inside his 22m. Lions have a scrum just to the right of the field inside the MAB 22m. This high ball is killing them tonight.

43min: MAB 10-15 BIL

BIL THREE! Lions are going to get another three here and the ref has had enough. He brings in Dixon and tells him to clean up the discipline from the Maori All Blacks inside and around their 22m. This time they're pinged near the middle of the field for being offside. Halfpenny steps up and slots it to keep his perfect Tour record going.

41min: MAB 10-12 BIL

McKenzie gets things underway for us as the wet weather has well and truly set back in.

HT: MAB 10-12 BIL

Maori All Blacks had one last chance to score before the half after a penalty gives them a lineout on the Lions' 22m but strong Lions defence wraps up Ngatai looking for a linebreak and the Maori midfielder is penalised for not releasing. We head to the sheds with a close game on the scoreboard, but in reality this has been all Lions. They're up at least 70 per cent in both territory and possession and have had to make 50 less tackles than the Maori All Blacks. The Big concern for Colin Cooper is how poorly the Maori ABs are responding to a pretty obvious high ball game in wet weather. We'll be back in a bit with the second half!

37min: MAB 10-12 BIL

NO! The kick has the legs, it's soaring and the crowd gets excited but it sails just to the left!

35min: MAB 10-12 BIL

Lions are penalised after they don't roll away at the breakdown this time. They continue to win the hill ball game so Lowe opts to run into contact just behind halfway and the penalty occurs. It looks like McKenzie wants a crack! This will be a massive kick, maybe 60m! It's inside his half and near the left sideline. Yeap, he's grabbed the tee!

33min: MAB 10-12 BIL

BIL THREE! Lions back in front through Halfpenny's boot as their pressure game cracks the Maori All Blacks again. This time it's the tackler not rolling away right in front of the posts 22m out and they're happy enough to take the lead. 

31min: MAB 10-9 BIL

Lions get excellent field position from a penalty just inside their own half after the Maori All Blacks are pinged for not releasing in the ruck. Sexton with a big kick that gives them a lineout on the right sideline inside the MAB 22m.

28min: MAB 10-9 BIL

Another high ball match is won by the Lions but they lose they knock it on on halfway! Ngatai recovers the loose ball and spots no one at him at the back so he chips it over. McKenzie is flying in to get to it but North gets there first just a metre outside his goal. He shakes off McKenzie and gets a couple of valuable metres before the ruck forms. Murray clears. MAB linout on the Lions' 10m to come.

25min: MAB 10-9 BIL

Lions make another linebreak through Sexton in the middle of the field, he offloads to Davies but he's wrapped up much quicker this time. Lions look to pick and go but they knock it on at the back of the ruck doing so! Silly error there. MAB scrum coming up in the middle of the field just outside their 22m.

22min: MAB 10-9 BIL

MAB THREE! Maoris get three back straight away as Itoje is penalised for dissent just after the kickoff. The English lock was dragged down in a bad position from a maul and lost it in the process. The MAB forwards gave him some stick and he's not dealt with it well 40m out right in front of his posts. McKenzie grabs his tee and slots it straight and true. Maoris back in front.

20min: MAB 7-9 BIL

BIL THREE! Another easy penalty for the fullback and he's nailed it. Inside the 22m to the right.

18min: MAB 7-6 BIL

Davies makes a linebreak through the heart of the Maoris' defence with a dummypass and he's taken down metres from the line! Maori All Blacks give away advantage for being offside as they scramble back and the Lions happily take it. TMO just gave the 'all clear' on Lowe's hit so nothing to come from that. Halfpenny has the tee in hand again. 

15min: MAB 7-6 BIL

Boos ring out from the Rotorua crowd as Lowe appears to be taken out by a late hit. Play is continuing but the TMO may not be done with that yet.

12min: MAB 7-6 BIL

MAB TRY! Perfect response and Messam is in! Maori All Blacks scrapily get the ball to halfway and they go right. It gets to Milner-Skudder with space in front of him, he opts for a grubber, it's weighted beautifully and holds up just outside the 22m. North tries to recover sliding in but he cant! Ball is loose. Messam hacks at it with his foot. He chases. It bounces up perfectly and he dives in-goal to score! McKenzie steps up for the extras and he's got it!

10min: MAB 0-6 BIL

BIL THREE! Straight and true. Easy as you like. Lions playing a brilliant pressure game and the Maori All Blacks just aren't responding.

8min: MAB 0-3 BIL

Lions continue to implement the kicking game and they've likely earned another easy three points from it. Murray opts for a high box-kick on the Maoris' 10m and it falls perfectly just outside the 22m. Rieko Ioane goes high and can't catch it and in doing so knocks it forward to his brother Akira. Akira makes a play on it and his pinged for offside straight away. Halfpenny stepping up with a tee just outside the 22m on the right.

6min: MAB 0-3 BIL

Straight back to that high ball battle off the kick off and once again the Lions win it as Franklin attempts to take in a high ball after claling off his teammates but he knocks it on cold. Lions scrum on halfway to come.

4min: MAB 0-3 BIL

BIL THREE! Halfpenny has the kicking honours for the men in red tonight and he nails it down the middle. Maoris need to pick up their line speed on defence to slow these Lions down.

3min: MAB 0-0 BIL

Well, it's an excellent start for the Lions who manage 17 phases of composed rugby before the Maoris finally crack and Messam is offside. Lions play with an advantage and go for a crosskick to the right wing but they get nothing from it and comeback to the mark. Easy three points coming.

1min: MAB 0-0 BIL

We're straight into the high ball as the sides trade kicks into the night sky with the wet ball. Lions win this one after Lowe thumps a shocker into touch on the full! Lions will come all the way back for a lineout on the Maoris' 22m.


Hika Elliot and Ash Dixon lead a truly fierce haka prior to the match and we're about ready to get underway. Lions to kick off.

Showers have stopped in Rotorua but there's chances it could easily kick up again. Definitely will be a wet surface.

Teams stand for a moment of silence before the anthems to pay respects to the lives lost in the recent London fire - you could hear a pin drop in the sold out stadium. 


Maori All Blacks perform the Haka during the Maori All Blacks v NZ Barbarians match at Eden Park in Auckland

Source: Photosport

From the start coach Warren Gatland identified tonight's match against the New Zealand Maori as an important milestone on the British and Irish Lions rugby tour.

Tonight's match in a sodden Rotorua marks the midpoint of the tour - the beginning of its tougher second half - and Gatland indicated it would be against the Maori that he fielded his top-strength lineup, a week before the first test against New Zealand.

Not all has gone to plan. Instead, injuries and considerations of fitness and form appear to have prevented Gatland from naming his test XV and that might have an impact on the

Lions' readiness for the three-test series which begins in Auckland next Saturday.

Tour captain Sam Warburton has been picked on the bench as he struggles to regain full fitness and his best form after a recent knee injury. Flanker Peter O'Mahony has been handed the captaincy against the Maori in a form backrow which includes his Ireland teammate Sean O'Brien at openside and Wales' Taulupe Faletau at No. 8.

Warburton now seems in danger of surrendering the captaincy and being named on the bench for the first test; a possibility Gatland acknowledged at his team announcement when reflected in the four games so far.

"Sam's well aware of the competition that is there at the moment," Gatland said. "He fully understands that that loose forward trio (O'Mahony, O'Brien and Faletau) went outstandingly well against the Crusaders.

"The challenge for them is to repeat it and if they do it again we'll make what we think is the right selection for the test match."

Gatland said Warburton was a quality leader, "but this tour isn't about Sam Warburton. It is about putting the squad first."

The Lions had a second setback when England flyhalf Owen Farrell was ruled out of tonight's match with a leg injury. The grade one quadriceps strain, which might take 10 days to heal, may also rule Farrell out of the first test.

The loss of Farrell appears likely to have a serious impact on Gatland's preferred test lineup. The Lions coach may have been considering playing Farrell at inside center, outside the Ireland halves pairing of Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton, but that option seems to have been removed.

The team Gatland has selected to face the Maori - who beat the Lions when the teams last met in 2005 - is close to test strength but points to some uncertainty about the top team.

"There's a bit of juggling going on at the moment, a bit of mixing and matching," Gatland said. "Even though it's a strong side, we've got to make sure we're not fully showing our hand."

Gatland, a former All Blacks hooker, suggested the team was chosen with the intention of "keeping the All Blacks guessing." But after winning two and losing two of their first four matches, playing mind games is not a luxury the Lions can afford.

The game will also be No.8 Liam Messam's last in the Maori All Blacks jersey.

Tonight's game will be Messam's 13th for the side.


MAB: James Lowe, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Matt Proctor, Charlie Ngatai, Rieko Ioane, Damian McKenzie, Tawera Kerr-Barlow, Liam Messam, Elliot Dixon, Akira Ioane, Tom Franklin, Joe Wheeler, Ben May, Ash Dixon (c), Kane Hames.

MAB Reserves: Hika Elliot, Chris Eves, Marcel Renata, Leighton Price, Kara Pryor, Bryn Hall, Ihaia West, Rob Thompson.

BIL: Leigh Halfpenny, Anthony Watson, Jonathan Davies, Ben Te'o, George North, Johnny Sexton, Conor Murray, Taulupe Faletau, Sean O'Brien, Peter O'Mahony (c), George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Tadhg Furlong, Jamie George, Mako Vunipola.

BIL Reserves: Ken Owens, Jack McGrath, Kyle Sinckler, Iain Henderson, Sam Warburton, Greig Laidlaw, Dan Biggar, Elliot Daly.

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