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George North gets first 2017 tour try in dramatic British & Irish Lions draw

George North gets first 2017 tour try in dramatic British & Irish Lions draw

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The British & Irish Lions concluded their midweek fixture list in New Zealand with a thrilling 31-31 draw against the Hurricanes at the Westpac Stadium.

Tommy Seymour scored two tries for the Lions while Northampton Saints’ George North also got his first score of the Tour at the end of the first half.

North was centimetres away from a second as the Hurricanes fought back in the second half, but just put a toe in touch as he went over in the corner after Jonathan Joseph’s kick through.

And a last-minute drop goal attempt from Dan Biggar fell just short as the Lions had to settle for a share of the spoils in Wellington.

North caps perfect first-half display

With the Lions 16-7 ahead, Wales fly-half Biggar send an excellent up-and-under kick deep into the Hurricanes 22 with Leigh Halfpenny chasing well.

The replacement full-back was unable to claim the kick himself but saw the ball bounce straight into the arms of second row Iain Henderson.

It was his excellent hands which freed North for a simple run in as the Northampton Saint, playing in the centres after an injury to Robbie Henshaw, went under the posts unopposed.

North made 59 metres in total and beat five defenders while Exeter Chiefs’ Jack Nowell, who started at full-back but moved to the wing, made 62 metres.

Front row put in fine 80-minute display

Leicester Tigers’ Dan Cole and Joe Marler, of Harlequins, both put in solid performances for the Lions with the scrum and lineout operating smoothly throughout.

Neither were replaced at the Westpac Stadium as they reached double figures in the tackle counts to demonstrate their fitness and desire.

The Tigers prop also made a key turnover on the hour mark as Callum Gibbins found a gap and the Hurricanes threatened inside the Lions 22.

Lawes in contention for Second Test

This was the final chance for players to put their hand up for a slot in head coach Warren Gatland’s 23 for the must-win Test against the Lions on Saturday.

Gatland suggested pre-match that any player brought off early was in contention for the weekend, and it was Northampton Saints’ Courtney Lawes who came off after 53 minutes.

Lawes, who had another impressive game, was replaced by Saracens’ George Kruis and was one of just two permanent Lions changes made during the entire match.

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