Lions square the series in Christchurch
JJ Williams scored the match-winning try against the All Blacks
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Ian McGeechan set up a try for Welsh sprinter JJ Williams as the British & Irish Lions squared the series against New Zealand with a 13-9 second Test victory in Christchurch. In a violent match, Lions captain Phil Bennett kicked three penalties and All Blacks wing Bryan Williams equalled him but Williams' try proved decisive at Lancaster Park. New Zealand went on to win the third Test 19-7 in Dunedin before completing a series victory with a narrow 10-9 win in Auckland.
The New Zealand Rugby Union announced that All Blacks coach Graham Henry and his two assistants, Wayne Smith and Steve Hansen, would lead New Zealand's assault on the 2011 Rugby World Cup on home soil. The NZRU re-appointed the trio, who were at the helm when the All Blacks crashed out of RWC'07 in the quarter-finals at the hands of hosts France, insisting that they were "a very strong and experienced team".
The Reds claimed their first Super Rugby title by defeating the Crusaders 18-13 at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane. The two sides were tied at 13 points apiece with just 12 minutes to go when Will Genia dived over for the hosts after a stunning break from inside his own half. The Crusaders piled on the pressure in the closing stages but the Reds held on to become only the second Australian franchise, after the Brumbies, to claim the top prize in southern hemisphere club rugby.
The first ever match played by a representative British side in South Africa took place at the Newlands ground. Bill MaClagan of Scotland led the side to a convincing win in the tour opener against Cape Clubs. Paul Clauss and Randolph Aston each scored a brace of tries for the tourists.
Sanzar invited expressions of interest from applicants wanting to host the 15th Super Rugby team ahead of a planned expansion of the competition in 2011. "Sanzar sees the change in the competition format from 2011 as a first step in positioning Super rugby to allow for future opportunities," the group said in a joint statement. The franchise was finally awarded to the Melbourne Rebels in Australia.
Hawkes Bay defeated Wairarapa 21-10 in the famous Battle of Solway for the Ranfurly Shield in front of 10,000 spectators at the Solway Showgrounds in Masterton. Opposing forwards Maurice Brownlie and Quintin Donald were both sent off in the first half. The Shield, however, was restored to Wairarapa who successfully appealed that the Bay had fielded an ineligible player.
Mark Morrison's Lions opened their tour of South Africa with a 13-7 defeat by the Western Province Country XV at Newlands. It was the first time outside a Test series that the Lions had lost on South African soil. Japie Krige scored two tries for the home side and Dietlof Mare converted both his efforts.
Ollie Campbell's golden boots drove the Lions to a 25-16 tour win against Counties at Pukekohe. The Irish No.10 added five penalties and two drop goals to John Carleton's try for the visitors.
The legendary George Nepia was in storming form leading the NZ Maori. He kicked two conversions and a penalty in his side's narrow 19-13 defeat by the Lions in Wellington. Jack Morley and Tony Novis each scored a brace of tries for the tourists as Dai Parker landed a conversion and a penalty.
Jo Maso showed some deft touches and scored an important try for France in their 8-6 tour win over Southland in Invercargill.
The Lions, on their first ever visit to Johannesburg's Ellis Park, went down 16-9 against Transvaal. Freddy Turner scored a try, two conversions and a penalty to give the hosts a famous victory.
The Lions triumphed 6-3 over a North Auckland side, which featured a then uncapped and relatively unknown Sid Going at scrum-half. Ronnie Lamont and Keith Savage scored a try apiece for the tourists in Whangarei.