The historic Test series between the British and Irish Lions and New Zealand came to an end this Saturday as the teams remained deadlocked at 15-15 after the final whistle.
The nail-biting final game ended in a draw, leaving the series tied at 1-1, marking the Lions' first draw in the professional era.
After a humiliating 30-15 defeat in the first Test, the Lions came roaring back in the second game, winning it 24-21 to inflict the first major defeat on the All Blacks since their 32–29 defeat to South Africa in 2009, thus ending their 47 match unbeaten streak.
This was also the Lions' first win over New Zealand since 1993 and their first win over them in the professional era.
A mouth watering clash was set up in the third Test as both teams went for the gold.
The match lived up to its billing and a thrilling contest ensued, but a somewhat anticlimactic end was reached when Test ended in a 15-15 tie. However, if Sam Warburton had his way, the series would’ve ended in a very different manner.
"I was expecting to go again," said the Lions’ captain.
"I didn't actually realise it was a drawn series. I was ready for 20 minutes of extra time.
"I was trying to drink as many electrolytes as I could because I was cramping up, but then I realised everyone was shaking hands and I thought: 'Oh, it's a drawn series'.
"You never think it is going to go down to that situation, so I never looked into what would potentially happen."
After Owen Farrell's 78th-minute penalty tied things up, the game continued for a few minutes before the curtains came down on the show and both sides had to settle for a draw.
It is noteworthy that extra time is not the usual norm in rugby union; it is only played in a knockout competition. But Warbuton thinks that the occasion warranted an outright result.
"If I had to, I would probably have tossed a coin and gone for the win, with extra-time or a golden point or something. I think it would have made for an amazing climax. I think it would be nice to see a winner.”
Warburton’s feelings are understandable.
The Lions were up against the two-time defending world champions in the All Blacks, and they were in their backyard, so not many people gave them a chance.
A thorough drubbing in the first Test made matters worse, but the red shirted heroes responded to the challenge like champions. Not only did they drew level in the very next game, they came agonizingly close to changing the pecking order of the rugby world in the last and final game of the series.
For now, they can be mighty proud of their exploits, they finished level with one of the best rugby teams of all time despite having very less preparation time and an insanely tough schedule.
Do you think extra time should have decided the last game between the Lions and the All Blacks? Let us know in the comments below.
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