Conor Murray says Lions gained “respect” following shared series

Conor Murray says Lions have gained greater “respect” from the rugby public following drawn series with New Zealand.

Owen Farrell struck a late penalty to secure a 15-15 draw and a shared series with the All Blacks earlier this morning.

Warren Gatland’s team also had to withstand a late penalty scare as Frenchman Romain Poite changed his mind on penalising Ken Owens from a penalty to a scrum for an accidental offside.

For the first time since 1971, the Lions leave New Zealand without suffering a series defeat and it was only the second every shared series since the tour of South Africa in 1955.

While the home side were expected to take the series, there is no doubt that the Lions were the happier dressing room after the game.

Speaking to reporters in the aftermath of the Eden Park epic Munster’s Conor Murray said it was an unusual feeling.

“When the final whistle went it was a bit strange. No one really knew what to do,” said Murray.

“But when you think about coming down here to the double world champions, in their own backyard, and to come away with a drawn series is something we can be proud of.

“I think we’re going to leave with a lot more respect that we came with. I’m not saying we didn’t have any respect but we’ve gained some over here through our performances. It’s an awesome group to be part of.”

When asked why the Lions were happier with the outcome that their hosts, Murray was quick to point out that the Lions had only 8 weeks to come together and forge a team capable of competing with the All Blacks.

“It’s different from our point of view. We came together as a squad eight weeks ago and tried to get going. There’s really good players in our squad and a lot of leaders in there. They drove standards over the tour.

“It’s a difficult place to come and play rugby  But it’s been really enjoyable and everyone has given their all to it. You step out of your comfort zone. You play with people you usually compete against and you’re enemies with, nearly.

“Its a strange feeling at the moment but I think as the night goes on and we take our holidays and we get to look back on it, we’ll be proud of this.”

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