O’Brien: New Zealand defeat a crushing blow

Only a last-gasp converted try denied British & Irish Lions' Ireland stars a first-ever victory for their nation over New Zealand - and Sean O'Brien admits it is a bitter pill to swallow. [more]

O’Brien: New Zealand defeat a crushing blow

Only a last-gasp converted try denied British & Irish Lions’ Ireland stars a first-ever victory for their nation over New Zealand – and Sean O’Brien admits it is a bitter pill to swallow.

The Lions’ next Tour will be in New Zealand in 2017 and if the All Blacks’ 2013 results are anything to go by – becoming the first side in the professional era to have a 100 per cent record in a calendar year – it will be one of their biggest challenges yet.

But they achieved the feat by the narrowest of margins, after Lions heroes Conor Murray, Rory Best and Rob Kearney had all crashed over for three tries to build a 19-0 lead with 17 minutes played.

Johnny Sexton also collected seven points from the kicking tee but New Zealand roared black to clinch victory by 24-22 and cruelly deny Ireland.

It was also Lions legend Brian O’Driscoll’s last chance to overcome the All Blacks before his planned retirement at the end of the season.

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And O’Brien believes the pain in defeat was only greater after losing in such dramatic fashion.

"We are not happy losing the game like that,” said O’Brien. “We started so well and got such a lead, not finishing them off, we have to have a long, hard look at ourselves and see where we can improve.

"They have that belief, that's what we have to get to.

"I think there was a little bit of trust needed in the last couple of minutes. It's just really, really disappointing. We have to assess (what happened) next time we get into camp together."

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