EDEN PARK, Auckland -- Two matches down and the British & Irish Lions have suffered their first defeat after losing 22-16 to the Blues at Eden Park.
The Blues brought their own version of 'rugby chaos' to the Lions as their expansive style caused the tourists all sorts of problems. Rieko Ioane had a game for the ages on the wing while Sonny Bill Williams showed his world-class skill set to tee up Ihaia West for the try that ended the tourists' hopes of a narrow victory.
The Lions are now under no illusions as to the size of the task that faces them. Though they fielded a completely different 15 to the side that started against the Barbarians, they struggled with the intensity and pace of the opposition.
Warren Gatland said he'd happily sacrifice a game or two to win the Test series, but they must learn fast if they are to shock the unbeaten Crusaders on Saturday in Christchurch. Here are four lessons for the Lions to take away from a disappointing evening at Eden Park.
Lions get real taste of 'rugby chaos'
Rob Howley name-checked his own rugby 'chaos' theory seven times in Tuesday's press conference, saying that the southern hemisphere game sees outbreaks of unstructured play which leads to counter attacks and disjointed attacks. The Lions were exposed to their fair share of that at Eden Park.
The Blues' attack was so effective. They exploited space, found gaps on the flanks to dart into and used it to stretch the tourists. There was little the Lions could do to prepare for the Blues' second try as they grabbed an opportunist score after Stephen Perofeta's penalty struck a post. But the first -- a wonderful effort from Rieko Ioane -- exploited gaps in the Lions' defence out wide after one offload and a glorious pass from Perofeta opened them up.
And then came their third as Sonny Bill Williams broke through the Lions' defence to offload to Ihaia West who sidestepped Johnny Sexton and Leigh Halfpenny to score. The speed at which they moved the ball was remarkable, and the pace from Ioane on the flank caused the Lions all sorts of difficulty.
They got a taste of this approach in last weekend's win over the Provincial Barbarians so they must adjust to the speed at which the New Zealand sides can shift the ball from the point of contact. Expect more of this over the coming weeks.
Ill-discipline halted Lions momentum
The Lions ended up conceding 13 penalties, and a further two free kicks. Just when they looked to be building some sort of momentum, the referee's whistle brought them back to a standstill and prevented them building any tempo and phase play.
The match also marked their first yellow card of the tour. Liam Williams was far too excited from the bench and after two tackles in the air, saw yellow from Pascal Gauzere. He could have easily gone for the first offence.
The Lions' lineout defence found the wrong side of Gauzere's refereeing as four times they were penalised for offences around the lineout. Twice they were whistled for closing the gap, one for offside and another for taking the Blues man out in the air.
On their own ball the Lions did well and it led to CJ Stander's opening try, but defending the Blues' efforts saw them constantly penalised by the referee. Perhaps this was just Gauzere's perception but they will need to work on this if this is a sign of things to come.
Weight of the jersey is telling
In their opener against the Barbarians, Sexton made a series of uncharacteristic errors. Against the Blues it was Jack Nowell and Williams' turn. Williams was penalised for both of his untimely tackles while Nowell was punished for being defensively at sea for the Blues' first score.
The weight of the jersey and limited chances to impress may be causing these uncharacteristic errors. But the speed at which they can feel at home in their new Lions skin will aid or hamper Test chances.
Rhys Webb and Leigh Halfpenny impress for the tourists
While Taulupe Faletau was their standout player against the Barbarians, his Wales teammate Rhys Webb was the Lions' shining light under the lights of Eden Park.
Webb played with real purpose and kept the Lions ticking over. Despite seeing little ball in the second-half, it was he who kept the tempo high and his kicking game was also on point.
Conor Murray will get his chance to impress on Saturday against the Crusaders but Webb is currently ahead of Greig Laidlaw in the pecking order.