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Lions mauled; RUGBY UNION.

New Zealand 21

British Lions 3

SIR CLIVE WOODWARD'S British Lions lost their captain, their way and the first Test in Christchurch on Saturday.

TCUP - Woodward's favourite buzzword meaning Thinking Clearly Under Pressure - was smashed to pieces by an inspired and gleeful All Blacks.

Brian O'Driscoll's tour might be over - but the fear is this defeat has also ended the hopes of the fit players he leaves behind.

O'Driscoll dislocated his shoulder, following an off the ball incident involving All Blacks skipper Tana Umaga and hooker Keven Mealamu, while Richard Hill and Tom Shanklin also joined the crocked list.

The stats were always against the Lions - just one win in their last nine matches against the All Blacks and just one win in seven visits to Christchurch.

And while Woodward was still confident, it couldn't have started any worse.

After just 60 seconds, O'Driscoll was sandwiched in a double tackle by Umaga and Mealamu. His shell-shocked team-mates stood and watched as he was strecthered off the field and replaced by Will Greenwood.

It wasn't to be for the Lions as All Black fly-half Daniel Carter kicked two penalties, before lock Ali Williams touched down after a poor Lions line-out.

Sitiveni Sivivatu scored a stunning try after the break, while the Lions could only add a Jonny Wilkinson penalty.

Grewcock's suspension will come as a real blow to Woodward, who has now been forced to wave goodbye to four of his squad during the weekend.

O'Driscoll, flanker Hill and utility back Shanklin all suffered injuries and will be joining Grewcock on the plane home.

"I have not seen what Danny has done as I've been concentrating on the Brian O'Driscoll injury," said Woodward.

"Obviously they have banned him for two months, which means I have to say the decision was right. That's why the process is in place and clearly he has done something wrong."


BLACK AND BLUE: Cov coach Mike Umaga is the only happy man in the bar at the Butts Park Arena after watching Saturday's win surrounded by expectant Lions fans. New Zealander Umaga had special reason to celebrate as his brother Tana captained the All Blackcks and set up their second try.
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Title Annotation:Sport
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Jun 27, 2005
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