On Saturday the British & Irish Lions face the All Blacks in the final test of the series… a decider to win the series.
It will be each team’s third match at the hallowed ground this season. Players will be familiar with the surrounds, but the results to date are the polar opposite. The All Blacks have played two and won two. The Lions have played two and lost two. But the past is the past, and the Lions have given themselves a real chance of creating history with their victory in the second test in Wellington. Or is the past the past?
The Lions have essentially reached Base Camp in better shape than their opponents but now have to climb rugby’s equivalent of Everest.
Today is 23 years since the All Blacks last lost at Eden Park.
There is no point scratching your eyes, it reads correctly, 23 years. That is an absurdly long time. Maro Itoje the sensational Lions and Saracens forward was not even born the last time the All Blacks lost at Eden Park.
It is also worth noting that it took something truly spectacular that day 23 years ago to beat the All Blacks, in what has become known as The try from the end of the world.
Did the Lions use up their The try from the end of the world when Sean O’Brien crossed for that incredible score in the first test? Did they use up their luck with Barrett having a slightly off day with the boot in Wellington?
It does not matter because it has all come down to one game, and anything can happen in one game.
Since 3rd July 1994 the All Blacks record at Eden Park is P39-W38-D1-L0.
- The All Blacks drew the first match in the sequence. An 18-18 draw with South Africa
- The All Blacks have scored 1367 points and conceeded 543 points
- The average score in that period is 37-15
- The highest score by the All Black is 78 points (v Samoa 2017)
- Most points conceeded by the All Black is 35 points (v South Africa 1997 55-35)
- The closest game was the 2011 RWC Final (8-7)
- The Lions were beaten 38-18 in 2005
There is no doubt that the record speaks volumes of what the Lions are up against. But to their immense credit, they have given themselves a shot at the series. They have already beaten the All Blacks at home, which is a remarkable feat in itself as we pointed out here.
The question is, can this Lions side really storm the fortress and take the series, or will they end up another statistic?
Author: Steven Prescott
I am a total sports fanatic; it is as simple as that. I love all sports, and when I’m not sitting at my computer living my dream with The 1014, I am planning adventures. The last time I did this I ended up convincing my wife to cycle 26,125km across three continents, and 22 countries with me as part of the Pedalling Prescotts.