Thursday 18 July 2019

Tadhg gave it his best shot

First test defeat for Lions

Tadhg Furlong is tackled by Jerome Kaino and Codie Taylor of New Zealand
Tadhg Furlong is tackled by Jerome Kaino and Codie Taylor of New Zealand

Brendan Furlong

Tadhg Furlong proved the cornerstone of the Lions pack, coming through his first test against New Zealand and showing that he has what's needed to become of the game's best tight-head props.

The Lions lost their opening test 30-15 in the red-hot atmosphere of Eden Park as the All Blacks continued their long unbeaten run at the stadium.

With a devastating second-half display, the home side simply dismantled the Lions challenge, showing why they are back-to-back world champions.

The biggest challenge facing the Lions was in the scrum where New Zealand had many issues to settle, at best being described as inferior to the Lions in the set-piece.

Straight from the first scrum they applied the pressure, but Furlong will be quite happy with the solid base he provided, holding his own in what was a terrific battle involving the front five.

For just under an hour he held the Lions together, with only one mistake of a mistimed pass when a catch and carry would have been the better option, but that apart he was excellent in his time on the pitch.

Despite the pressure of the scrum, Furlong was lively about the pitch, getting in a total of nine tackles, while also making ground with his carries.

His first start in a Lions test will long be remembered as he was only replaced when he had nothing left in the tank.

Despite his lack of experience at this level of rugby, the 24-years-old Horeswood native, and former New Ross club player, received a favourable review from all the rugby experts who see him as retaining his position for the second test.

That must-win game for the Lions will take place on Saturday, and Furlong will be expected to be in the thick of the action again.

Gorey Guardian