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Lawes helps Lions to dramatic Wellington win

Travis PerkinsSponsored by Travis Perkins

Courtney Lawes came off the bench to help the British and Irish Lions square their series with the All Blacks in Wellington.

The second row was sent into the action midway through the second half, and with the Northampton man on the field the Lions came back from an 18-9 deficit to record a 24-21 win over the world champions.

The match was finely poised going into the break, Owen Farrell squaring things up with a penalty on the stroke of half-time to tie things up at nine apiece.

But the All Blacks belied their 14-man status - Sonny Bill Williams having been sent off after 20 minutes for a shoulder charge on Anthony Watson - to score three unanswered penalties in the third quarter to put themselves two scores ahead.

However in the final 20 minutes the extra body began to count, as first Taulupe Faletau and then Conor Murray crossed for tries on either side of the field. Farrell missed the first conversion but made the second, and made no mistake with a penalty from in front of the sticks with four minutes to play.

It is now one-all in the test series, and both teams have a full week to prepare for the decider in Auckland’s Eden Park next Saturday.

Lawes was not the only winning Saint on the international stage this weekend, as centre Nafi Tuitavake helped Tonga overcome Samoa 30-26 in their Pacific Nations Cup opener, the first test match to be played in Tonga since 2008.

Tonga are also in action next Saturday, hosting Fiji, and if they win that match they will have secured their place in the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

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