'Canes fight back to draw with B&I Lions
MATCH REPORT: A late second-half fightback helped the Hurricanes snatch a 31-31 draw against the British and Irish Lions in Wellington on Tuesday.
The Lions leaked four second-half tries and then missed a drop-goal attempt after the siren as they threw away a commanding position against the Super Rugby champions.
It was a frustrating result for the Lions as coach Warren Gatland looks for reinforcements after the first-Test loss to the All Blacks.
There were some bright spots, with Tommy Seymour scoring two tries on the right wing and George North one on the right, although Gatland's Test focus will be on the forwards.
Lock Courtney Lawes excelled, along with hard-running number eight Christiaan Stander.
Iain Henderson also played well but marred his Test hopes when he was sin-binned for a dangerous tackle, allowing the Hurricanes back into the game in a thrilling finale.
In what may be a taste of things to come in the second Test, it was an often bad-tempered encounter featuring plenty of off-the-ball niggle.
The match in front of a 39 000 sell-out crowd in the New Zealand capital started brightly, with both sides throwing the ball around.
A Dan Biggar penalty put the Lions ahead but the Hurricanes looked threatening on the wing as Julian Savea went on the charge.
Just as they were building pressure and looked poised to score, Lions scrumhalf Greg Laidlaw intercepted an Otere Black pass and pinned his ears back.
He was run down just over the halfway line but offloaded to fellow Scot Seymour, who dotted down between the posts, with Biggar adding the conversion and another penalty.
Flank Callum Gibbins hit back with a pick-and-go try as the Hurricanes outmuscled the Lions defence, but the visitors kept the scoreboard ticking over with another Biggar penalty.
North then scored their second try when the Hurricanes failed to claim a Biggar high ball and Henderson flicked it into the path of the giant Welsh wing.
The Hurricanes pressured the Lions with a line-out drive as half-time approached, but this time the defence held to send them into the break up 23-7.
A perfectly timed Savea pass set up fellow All Black Ngani Laumape for a try seconds after the restart and a Jordie Barrett penalty narrowed the gap to 23-17.
The Lions patiently worked the ball forward after Wellington scrumhalf Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi was sin-binned for a high tackle, then sent it out wide for Seymour to score his second.
But the Hurricanes replied with tries to Wes Goosen and Vaea Fifita after Henderson's yellow card, locking up the scores at 31-all and setting up a barnstorming final 10 minutes.
The Hurricanes worked the ball through 23 phases but could not find a way through, and then Biggar's attempted drop goal fell short to end the match in a draw.
Man of the match: Ngani Laumape had another strong game for the Hurricanes, while Jordie Barrett was also influential out wide. Tommy Seymour scored two tries for the Lions. However, the award goes to Goerge North for a powerful performance on attack and defence.
Tries: Gibbins, Laumape, Goosen, Fifita
Cons: Barrett 4
For British and Irish Lions:
Tries: Seymour 2, North
Cons: Biggar 2
Pens: Biggar 4
Yellow cards: Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi (Hurricanes, 52 - foul play, high tackle); Iain Henderson (British and Irish Lions, 66 - foul play, tip tackle)
Hurricanes: 15 Jordie Barrett, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Vince Aso, 12 Ngani Laumape, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Otere Black, 9 Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi, 8 Brad Shields (captain), 7 Callum Gibbins, 6 Vaea Fifita, 5 Sam Lousi, 4 Mark Abbott, 3 Jeff To'omaga-Allen, 2 Ricky Riccitelli, 1 Ben May.
Replacements: 16 Leni Apisai, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga, 19 James Blackwell, 20 Reed Prinsep, 21 Kemara Hauiti-Parapara, 22 Wes Goosen, 23 Cory Jane.
British and Irish Lions: 15 Jack Nowell, 14 Tommy Seymour, 13 Jonathan Joseph, 12 Robbie Henshaw, 11 George North, 10 Dan Biggar, 9 Greig Laidlaw, 8 Christiaan Stander, 7 Justin Tipuric, 6 James Haskell, 5 Courtney Lawes, 4 Iain Henderson, 3 Dan Cole, 2 Rory Best (captain), 1 Joe Marler.
Replacements: 16 Kristian Dacey, 17 Allan Dell, 18 Tomas Francis, 19 Cory Hill, 20 George Kruis, 21 Gareth Davies, 22 Finn Russell, 23 Leigh Halfpenny.
Referee: Romain Poite
Assistant referees: Jaco Peyper (South Africa), Jérôme Garcès (France)
TMO: George Ayoub (Australia)
AFP & @rugby365com