NEW ZEALAND 21 BRITISH & IRISH LIONS 24
Sonny Bill Williams was sent off as the British and Irish Lions claimed a thrilling Test series-levelling 24-21 victory over world champions New Zealand at Westpac Stadium.
Williams, one of the biggest names in world rugby, received his marching orders from French referee Jerome Garces after just 25 minutes of a titanic tussle for a dangerous shoulder charge to the head of Lions wing Anthony Watson.
He was the first All Blacks player to be sent off in a Test match since Colin Meads against Scotland 50 years ago, only the third All Black of all-time and first in New Zealand, and the home side were eventually floored by a 77th-minute Owen Farrell penalty to set up a series decider in Auckland next Saturday.
It was New Zealand’s first home defeat since South Africa beat them in 2009, and their first against the Lions for 24 years.
Despite their one-man advantage, though, the Lions were almost made to pay for poor discipline, with All Blacks fly-half Beauden Barrett kicking seven penalties from 10 attempts, but second-half tries by number eight Taulupe Faletau and scrum-half Conor Murray - plus 14 points from Farrell - saw them home.
Lions prop Mako Vunipola was sin-binned for a poor challenge on Barrett during the third quarter, and at one stage, the Lions conceded five kickable penalties during a 14-minute spell.
New Zealand’s 46-Test unbeaten record on home soil was eventually ended by the Lions amid wild scenes of celebration from their travelling fans.
Lions captain Sam Warburton said: “I’ll be happy next week when we bring the Test series home.
“We’ve got to win the Test series. It’s great that we got it to 1-1 but still a lot to work on. We gave away far too many penalties in the second half.
“We’ve got to up it next week. The one disappointing thing was the discipline. To score a wide try shows we were willing to play a bit.”
New Zealand captain Kieran Read:“Lions were probably the better side. We had our chances and we couldn’t keep that lead.
“We had the energy levels but our execution wasn’t there.
“Perfect, it sets it up nicely for next week.”