Lions find their finishing touch in famous comeback

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Lions find their finishing touch in famous comeback

For the second time in as many weeks, it appeared as if the British and Irish Lions' failure to capitalise on advantageous situations would cost them dearly.

Though the Lions were eventually well beaten 30-15 by New Zealand in the first Test in Auckland, both camps conceded the result could have been different had the tourists been more clinical when they had possession and territory at Eden Park.

And seven days later in Wellington, the Lions appeared set to let another opportunity slip through their fingers, the All Blacks recovering brilliantly from the dismissal of Sonny Bill Williams for levelling his shoulder into the face of Anthony Watson, to lead 18-9 in the second half.

Beauden Barrett had been strangely inaccurate from the tee, but the Lions' own ill-discipline - exemplified by Mako Vunipola's sin-binning for two sloppy penalties - continued to provide him with chances and the fly-half converted a trio of three-pointers in the first 20 minutes of the second half to build an imposing lead.

The All Blacks' sudden sizeable advantage was punishment for a Lions performance featuring consistently poor line-outs in wet conditions and kicking errors that threatened to undermine a colossal showing from Maro Itoje, who stood out as the best player in either shirt.

However, just two minutes after Barrett had booted the All Blacks into a seemingly commanding position, the Lions found the finishing touch that had deserted them so crucially in Auckland.

After Watson's surge down the right the ball was switched left to Taulupe Faleteau, who finished with the confidence of an outside back rather than a number eight as he brutally powered his way through Israel Dagg to go over in the corner.

Barrett restored some breathing room for New Zealand but by this point the Lions had found their stride with ball in hand and duly levelled matters as Conor Murray sniped in from the ruck after a Jamie George break and Owen Farrell converted.

And it was Farrell, having outperformed Barrett with the boot, who had the final say, sending a penalty soaring into the gloomy Wellington sky and through the posts.

It sealed an enthralling 24-21 success and ended New Zealand's 47-match winning run on home soil, striking a decisive blow in what will surely go down as one of the greatest comebacks in not just Lions but rugby history.

Though assisted by a moment of misjudgement from Williams, the Lions have the momentum and have found their finishing touch.

Now they must finish the job and complete an even more unlikely fightback to win the series by doing what no team has done since 1994 - beat the All Blacks at Eden Park.