Farrell's boot earns Lions battling win over Crusaders

The British and Irish Lions scrapped their way to a gruelling 12-3 win over the Crusaders as Warren Gatland's men responded positively to their midweek setback.

Unconvincing in their tour-opening win over New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, the Lions came in for further criticism following their defeat to the Blues on Wednesday.

And up against a Crusaders side that has won all 14 of its Super Rugby matches this season, this was a stern test of the tourists' credentials.

Thanks to the boot of Owen Farrell, who kicked all 12 points, it was one they passed impressively as the Lions got the best of the pivotal set-piece battle with the slippery conditions in Christchurch making running rugby difficult.

Both sides were guilty of handling errors with the try line beckoning, but the Lions' defence remained strong under pressure while Farrell was able to punish the opponents' transgressions in their own territory.

In greasy conditions at AMI Stadium, goal kicking was always likely to prove decisive and it was Farrell who drew first blood for the Lions, doubling the advantage in the 17th minute thanks to another effort from the tee.

Having struggled at the scrum in the early stages, the Crusaders finally got the shove on their opponents, which prompted a brief bout of pushing and posturing, before Richie Mo'unga got the hosts on the board with a penalty of his own.

The gap was back to six as Farrell converted a simple kick from close to the posts but the Lions were soon on the back foot as Mo'unga's break got the Crusaders on the verge of the line.

A TMO review proved inconclusive as the Crusaders claimed they had got the ball down, and three points went begging as they opted to kick for the corner rather than goal and subsequently knocked on from the line-out.

It was the Lions' turn to rue a missed opportunity early in the second period as Farrell erred for the first time, before Ben Te'o's superb line break was tarnished by a poor pass to Liam Williams.

Having escaped on that occasion, the Crusaders went agonisingly close to the opening try as Jack Goodhue embarked on a scintillating break but his kick through just bounced away from George Bridge at the crucial moment.

Replacement CJ Stander became the latest to knock on from another promising position following Anthony Watson's run but that disappointment was mitigated by Farrell securing a hard-fought success with another successful kick 10 minutes from time.

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