2005 Lions Tour: Saturday, July 9New Zealand 38 Lions 19, Eden Park, AucklandScorers: NZ: Tries: Conrad Smith, Ali Williams, Tana Umaga 2, Rico Gear; Cons: Luke McAlister 5; Pen: McAlisterLions: Try: Lewis Moody; Con: Stephen Jones; Pens: Jones 4
* New Zealand wrap-up the Test series with a 3-0 whitewash, having claimed 21-3 (first Test) and 48-18 (second Test) wins previously
Sir Clive Woodward's Lions put in another dogged display, but gradually fell away and out of contention at a packed Eden Park as New Zealand hit them for three first half tries before the Super 12's top scorer Rico Gear collected his own kick ahead on 80 minutes to bag their fifth.
Despite the effort shown by Woodward's men, there was no stopping the Lions' first series whitewash since 1983.
Although displaying a lot of heart and pride in the red jersey, the Brian O'Driscoll-skippered '05 squad added another disappointing chapter to the Lions' nightmare travel log of New Zealand - becoming the third Lions selection to suffer a whitewash on All Black soil, after the 1966 and '83 tours.
The tourists were outscored by 12 tries to three in all in the 2005 series, and were always on the back foot since Henry's side powered clear for a 21-3 first Test win in Christchurch.
Saturday witnessed another good start from the Lions however, and two Stephen Jones' penalties had them 6-0 up after nine minutes.
It could have been more. Munster and Ireland lock Donncha O'Callaghan was found guilty of ignoring a three-man overlap two minutes earlier, for what looked like a certain try to the right of the posts. A brilliant Josh Lewsey break up the left flank had set up the chance.
But, as if to emphasise their clinical ability, barely six minutes after Jones' second penalty, New Zealand had bagged two converted tries. Centre Conrad Smith slipped too easily through the tackle of Test debutant Geordan Murphy (11 minutes) and lock Ali Williams clawed over, after a deft Luke McAlister kick had avoided the grasp of Dwayne Peel, with Rodney So'oialo in close attendance (14).
All that was achieved with Tana Umaga off the field for killing the ball, and salt was rubbed into the Lions' wounds when the All Blacks' captain managed to plunge over for the first of two tries on 38 minutes.
Henry's charges pulled 17-12 clear thanks to 21st-minute penalty hit from youngster McAlister, although Wales fly-half Jones did manage two more of his own on 18 and 23 minutes.
Scrum ball saw McAlister take a brilliant line through the Lions cover two minutes before the break, and with the visitors' defence pulled asunder, a neat offload from the 22-year-old saw Umaga touch down despite Ryan Jones' best efforts.
24-12 down at the break, and there was nothing but a familiar ring to the scoreline for the Lions.
From a 48th-minute free-kick, man-of-the-match Umaga then secured his second try. The Lions' defence was again at odds with itself and the bustling centre slipped through the double tackle of Stephen Jones and Ireland's Paul O'Connell to score.
It looked game over, but credit to the Lions, who brought Ireland duo Shane Horgan and Ronan O'Gara, for his first Test involvement, off the bench, they kept up their interest with a 59th-minute effort from flanker Lewis Moody.
Repeated forward drives at the All Blacks' line had failed, but with the home defence, for once, under the kosh, a Simon Easterby lineout take was commanded and driven over with Moody emerging as the try-scorer.
Jones chopped over the conversion from the left wing. Fittingly, New Zealand had the final say - winger Gear snapped up a loose pass destined for the hands of Horgan as the Lions looked to press for a final score - and he coolly kicked ahead, controlled and touched down in the right corner for the perfect finish.
McAlister converted for a debut night's haul of 13 points and the evidence that there is much more depth to the All Blacks' artillery will surely see them pencilled in as 2007 World Cup favourites, ahead of the impending Tri-Nations tournament.
Replacements used: Marty Holah for Lauaki (half-time), Campbell Johnstone for Woodcock (44 mins), Justin Marshall for Kelleher (47), James Ryan for Jack (77). Not used: Derren Witcombe, Nick Evans, Doug Howlett.
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS:
(15) Geordan Murphy (Leicester/Ireland)(14) Mark Cueto (Sale Sharks/England)(13) Will Greenwood (NEC Harlequins/England)(12) Gareth Thomas (Toulouse/Wales) (Captain)(11) Josh Lewsey (Wasps/England)(10) Stephen Jones (Clermont Auvergne/Wales)(9) Dwayne Peel (Llanelli Scarlets/Wales)(1) Gethin Jenkins (Cardiff Blues/Wales)(2) Shane Byrne (Leinster/Ireland)(3) Julian White (Leicester/England)(4) Donncha O'Callaghan (Munster/Ireland)(5) Paul O'Connell (Munster/Ireland)(6) Simon Easterby (Llanelli Scarlets/Ireland)(7) Lewis Moody (Leicester/England)(8) Ryan Jones (The Ospreys/Wales)
Replacements used: Matt Dawson (Wasps/England) for Peel, Graham Rowntree (Leicester/England) for Jenkins (both 49 mins), Shane Horgan (Leinster/Ireland) for Thomas (51), Ronan O'Gara (Munster/Ireland) for Murphy (66), Martin Corry (Leicester/England) for R Jones (68), Gordon Bulloch (Glasgow/Scotland) for Byrne (70), Martyn Williams (Cardiff Blues/Wales) for Moody (76).
Sin-bin: Tana Umaga (New Zealand) (9 mins), Jerry Collins (New Zealand) (54)HT: NZ 24 Lions 12; Attendance: 50,000Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)