Rugby
Williams red no excuse for deserved Lions win - Hansen
RUGBY

Williams red no excuse for deserved Lions win - Hansen

Steve Hansen said Sonny Bill Williams' red card was "not the issue" after New Zealand suffered their first home loss for eight years.

Steve Hansen refused to use Sonny Bill Williams' red card as an excuse and felt the British and Irish Lions deserved to end New Zealand's long winning run on home soil in Wellington on Saturday.

MORE: WATCH: SBW sensationally red-carded against the LionsWATCH: Lions produce storming fightback to stun 14-man All Blacks

Williams was dismissed by referee Jerome Garces for a shoulder charge on Anthony Watson only 25 minutes into a dramatic second Test at Westpac Stadium.


The All Blacks led by seven points with 12 minutes to play after Beauden Barrett landed seven penalties, but Conor Murray darted over after Taulupe Faletau scored the opening try and Owen Farrell's penalty three minutes from time gave the Lions a famous 24-21 victory.

Not since 2009 had the world champions been beaten in their homeland, an incredible run of 47 Test wins in a row, and head coach Hansen had no complaints after watching the tourists set up a decider at Eden Park next weekend.

"I'm not stunned, they're a very good side. We didn't help ourselves from our side, losing a player. We hung in there but you have to take your hat off to the Lions." he told Sky Sports.

Hansen added when asked about centre Williams' dismissal: "That's not the issue, don't make it about the tackle. He [Garces] made the call, whether it was wrong or right is not the issue.


"We have to look at how we played and how they played and they deserved it. We're obviously very disappointed but we're proud of our guys."

New Zealand Kieran Read also accepted that the tourists were probably worthy of a famous win and turned his attention to responding in Auckland.

The number eight said: "The Lions were probably the better team. We had our chances and we got in front but couldn't hold onto that lead, we let ourselves off the hook and they took their chances really well.

"In these conditions whoever was in the right area of the field was accumulating points, when we weren't doing that we let them in.


"It sets it up nicely for next week, we're looking forward to it."

 

 

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