Rob Howley said that the objective was ‘chaos rugby’.
Unfortunately the only chaos on view in this morning’s encounter was that caused by the Blues.
The Lions improved from the opening game but the Blues were better.
The Lions starting pack and the forward subs were pretty good and for most of the game held the upper hand, particularly in the scrum.
However the handling and offloading skill of the Blues backs and forwards was a step up.
SBW and Reiko Ioane should be in the 33 man squad that Steve Hansen is about to announce although Ioane may not even get a start or feature on the bench for the first test. He gave Jack Nowell a torrid time and it is hard to see the Exeter wing being handed a test shirt.
Liam Williams didn’t do his chances much good either, when he arrived to replace Payne.
Forget that the SBW try was probably a knock on and that without it the lions would have won – this was a loud wake up call for just how good the All Blacks are going to be on the ball in open play – even if the Lions get the edge in the set pieces.
After the match Warren Gatland said that he didn’t think there was a big difference between the NZ Super Rugby sides and the All Blacks.
If he thinks adding in Brodie Retallick, Sam Cane, Israel Dagg, the Barrett and Savea brothers plus Kieran Read, Waisake Naholo, Anton Leinert-Brown, Sam Whitelock and Damien McKenzie won’t add anything then he is kidding himself as well as us I suspect.
And if all, or any of the other ‘injuries’ recover before the series, then some of the above talent won’t get anywhere closer to the pitch than a seat in the stands.
The game on Saturday against the Crusaders is huge – they are unbeaten in Super rugby this year.
The Lions will bring in Owen Farrell, Sean O’Brien, George Kruis, Jonathan Davies and Connor Murray for their first starts as he gives everyone a chance to stake a claim for the tests.
He’ll probably have another different selection for the Highlanders on Tuesday – but after that I think he has to settle on his test side and work out how they are going to keep the ball away from the dangerous runners in the AB side – not easy since the number is in double figures.
I’ve said it before – the Lions only have to win 2 more matches to make this tour an unbridled success, but on this morning’s showing this will be no easy task.