Top 15 of 2017: All Blacks-Lions Series

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

It’s been a big year in rugby around the world - we’re taking a look back at some of the biggest storylines of 2017, as 2018 looms. will be sharing the top 15 of 2017, every day until New Year’s Eve, based on the stories you read and reacted to more than any other.

#15: British and Irish Lions come to New Zealand

From the omission of England captain Dylan Hartley in the Lions squad to the moment Sam Warburton and Kieran Read split the spoils, the All Blacks-Lions series was enthralling.

The Lions squad announcement was a production in itself, beamed across the world, with plenty of talking points to emerge from the event.

Once the games got going, the heat was officially on, with the Lions sneaking past a provincial barbarians team, before battling each of the five New Zealand Super Rugby sides.

A loss to the Blues had the northerners under pressure, before the Tests began.

New Zealand took the first Test 30-15, with the series threatening to be a one-sided event, after an All Blacks master class in Auckland.

The Lions were licking their wounds as they travelled to Wellington, facing a must-win encounter in the middle of a gruelling tour.

But the second Test threw the series on its head, with a Sonny Bill Williams send-off giving the Lions the upperhand.

In a wet and windy grind, the Lions took that second Test, keeping things on level pegging going into a blockbuster series decider.

After an incredible series, it seemed fitting that an Owen Farrell penalty 13 minutes before full-time put scores level and kept the final Test, and the series, in a deadlock when the whistle blew.

Even watching on from across the ditch, the magic of that series was not lost on Australian rugby fans, watching a collection of the world’s best go about their business in front of some of the, anecdotally, best atmospheres in rugby.