Lions attack impresses Venter

Springbok assistant coach Brendan Venter says the British & Irish Lions' win in Wellington showed the All Blacks can be vulnerable in some areas.

The Lions beat the 14-man All Blacks 24-21 last Saturday to level the series at 1-1.

Venter said he was impressed by the way the Lions took the game to the world champions.

'Prior to Sonny Bill Williams' sending off, and subsequently playing against 14 men, the visitors would have been buoyed by the fact they made metres on attack and got in behind the All Blacks,' said Venter in his latest column for The Times.

'Much has been made of the Lions' defensive effort and the fact that they managed to keep the All Blacks tryless for the first time since 2014. While the Lions' hard press on defence was a notable feature of the second Test, I was even more impressed with their attacking endeavour. The All Blacks are an amazing rugby side and remain the best in the world. However, the Lions managed to pick up space against them, and there were definitely signs at the Cake Tin that there are some areas where the hosts can be vulnerable.'

Venter, though, said Lions coach Warren Gatland's comment that 'we haven't seen the expansive rugby that the All Blacks are known for', could backfire spectacularly in Auckland on Saturday.

'The All Blacks camp may regard those remarks as an insult, and it could spur them on offensively, because they pride themselves on being the best attacking team in the world. On the flipside, it could work in the Lions' favour if the All Blacks play too much rugby.

'Gatland dangling a juicy carrot in front of the All Blacks means that he is backing his defence to keep New Zealand's attacking threats at bay, but it's always a big gamble, poking the bear.'

Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

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Simon Borchardt