Lions tour: All Blacks 'typically stodgy' in Wellington test defeat - Stephen Jones
Arch All Blacks critic Stephen Jones has gently poked the borax at Steve Hansen's "try-free" team after the second test loss to the Lions.
Writing in The Sunday Times, Jones said the Lions had "played all the rugby", leaving the All Blacks to play a typically stodgy southern hemisphere-style based on scrums".
However he hastily appended a "note to Kiwis". "That is irony, just a gentle sending-up. Oh, never mind."
Jones said the Lions won because they "came out with more ferocity at the breakdown".
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"They were far more hungry to take out Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick and the other big runners. When they stopped the New Zealand momentum, they sent Beauden Barrett scuttling round in circles, missing kicks and finding himself closed down instead of in space."
Jones said the Lions' selection had been "inch-perfect" with the "axis powers of Johnny Sexton and Owen Farrell in midfield sharp and flowing".
"Sam Warburton and the omnipresent Sean O'Brien were wonderful, finding ways to stop the New Zealand flow. Taulupe Faletau was dominant at No 8, Jonathan Davies again looked the best outside-back on the pitch and there were contributions from practically everyone."
In another Sunday Times piece, Jones said the Lions had ended New Zealand's amazing run of 47 home wins dating back to 2009, "which is quite something".
"They not only stopped them scoring with such freedom, but they also stopped them scoring any tries at all, which is something else altogether.
"Now that they have the effrontery to consider winning the series, you sense that the Lions no longer share the widespread global fawning and drooling at the All Blacks, they simply see them as 15 players who are more than beatable, without extra aura."
Jones said the Lions now had to go out at Eden Park and "prove their technical ability" in the deciding third test.
"And, also, more importantly, their resistance to a New Zealand reaction which will prove that revenge is a dish served piping hot.
The Lions could expect "a massive improvement" by the All Blacks at Eden Park where the home team has not lost since 1994.
"Kieran Read and Brodie Retallick cannot be so quiet again, and nor will they will be so easily corralled. Their natural passion and accuracy and flair cannot be contained for two games in succession.
"Furthermore, Steve Hansen and his coaches are renown as wickedly clever men and for good reason. They can change things up to surprise their opponents, to devastating effect."