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Wednesday Jun 14, 2017

Highlanders inflict second tour defeat for British and Irish Lions in Dunedin

Highlanders inflict second tour defeat for British and Irish Lions in Dunedin
25
Comments

The British and Irish Lions slipped to their second defeat in four matches after a late penalty from Marty Banks secured a narrow 23-22 victory in Dunedin on Tuesday.

It was a game that had almost Test-match levels of intensity, with the Highlanders very much bringing their A-game and the Lions showing a vast improvement from their opening three games.

Both sides laid everything on the table, but ultimately the Lions’ indiscipline once again got the better of them, leaving Banks to win the game for the Highlanders again.

The Super Rugby side started brightly and through an early Banks penalty, took the lead, but only after they were denied a second minute try from Waisake Naholo thanks to a desperate Jared Payne tackle.

Naholo didn’t have to wait long however and made the most of a serious defensive lapse in the Lions line to waltz in under the posts.

The Lions responded well and levelled the game through Jonathan Joseph’s well-taken try approaching the half hour marker.

10-10 at the half-time break, the Lions needed a quick start to the second period and they got exactly that. Perhaps the sole downside of the Highlanders’ play was their – at times – aimless kicking. Lima Sopoaga’s attempted cross-field kick was beautifully snapped up by Tommy Seymour, who raced clear to touch down.

From then on, it was an all-out arm-wrestle. The Highlanders hit back with a push-over try from hooker Liam Coltman, which Banks converted.

Arguably, the Lions had three chances to secure victory and failed to do so. Two penalty misses late in the game – a 68th minute kick from Owen Farrell and 78th minute one from Elliot Daly – cost them six points while Joseph’s final play knock-on settled the result.

Banks’ kick in the 73rd minute was proof if ever it was needed, that points obtained when offered are key to victory.

The Lions now face a daunting clash against the New Zealand Maori side in Rotorua on Saturday.

25 Comments

  •  im1
    im1

    The quality of Australian super rugby sides doesn't really compare to those in NZ. The only game that has really mattered so far is the crusaders game. The best super rugby side vs a close to best Lions XV. More will be known from Maori game. If lions win, it's 2 from 2 (starts) for most of the players who will start the tests. If not, then they may as well come home tomorrow

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    I don't know if I ever thought the Lions had a decent chance.... I agree that in AB land it was always going to be a case of trying to limit the damage caused and perhaps scoring a couple in return to potentially win, but certainly getting beaten by provincial teams is not a good look. It seems to me that this Lions team given maybe 4-5 months of training together, with a few games weekly against provincial sides during that time... then facing an AB team who has had maybe a week or so to prepare...MIGHT, have a chance.... but in it's current set up, with a little bit of training at home, little bit abroad, getting hammered by the locals and then facing the worlds best team.... it's not going to be pretty....imo... But who knows... the AB's might choke..

    Reply
  •  ajv1beta
    ajv1beta

    Am I the only one who feels like some, particularly the media, are still being a bit too optimistic about the Lions' chances? That's two defeats now, both in games that were definitely winnable. Nice to see Lions finally scoring open-field tries, about time, but still some awful execution, sloppy penalties and a real lack of clinicalism. I don't even think the selection, as critical as I was of it, is the issue now - it feels more tactical. A lack of organisation, key players lacking confidence/match fitness? I don't think there's much excuse not to be beating the regional teams - on the winning Australia tour of 2013 the Lions only lost once and were comfortably dispatching the Super Rugby sides. I know, NZ are a different proposition, but I just feel like this is seriously undermining confidence. The tour has barely got underway from a Lions standpoint, with only 1 top tier performance out of 4.

    Reply
  •  dancarter
    dancarter

    A team without Launchbury?

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    If you read what nick Evans said, and then take the time of your final two sentences, it's not that difficult to come to the to the conclusion that when the bruhs get together for a beer that's what at least one of them is saying

    Reply
  •  docrugby
    docrugby

    "Many kiwis said they wouldn't win a single game."Absolute nonsense.Show me one single case of that?Oh yeh the ol' fake news card. In the final analysis when all is said and done it will be the Test matches that will be the litmus test...everything else are entrees to the main meal.That is all that matters and i look forward to watching the Lions get (dun dun dun)...eaten.Delicious!My compliments to Chef Hansen.

    Reply
  •  docrugby
    docrugby

    Hahaha you really hate to be that guy...at least you got that right.

    Reply
  •  docrugby
    docrugby

    "But then again that should be the result for a country playing at home" Really?Then how come the All Blacks consistently beat countries that are playing at home and how did England do playing at home in the last WC? The Lions getting up over the Crusaders was an anomaly born from the complacency that seeps into a team that was unbeaten up until the Lions and off the back of the Crusaders watching the Blues beating the Lions.It was the same for the All Blacks in Chicago...an anomaly that was righted the next week in Dublin.Pfft

    Reply
  •  jimmy23
    jimmy23

    I really, really hate to be that guy Rugbydump but there's nothing from any of the other internationals on here? I'm not saying this just because I'm an England fan but the England vs Argentina game was by far the best match of the weekend in terms of entertainment.

    Reply

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  • Sounds as though we're both saying the same thing then... In terms of the stuff article as I said "I can't answer for every idiot out there." And Flight of the Concords is definitely the high point of NZ exports.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    "what is an under strength lions side?" A team picked by WG?

    Reply
  •  dancarter
    dancarter

    "The English even think they're the best in the world right now if you ask them". Well, have you asked them? I haven't seen or heard any English rugby fan claim they are better than the All Blacks. If you ask enough, maybe 1 or 2 might claim England are the better team but I would expect the vast majority to say the ABS are the best. Speaking as an English rugby fan, I don't think we are the best in the world. We will only be the best in the world if we win the next world cup or overtake the All Blacks in the world rankings and beat them in the process of overtaking them in the rankings. England are much improved and are a very good side, but I consider the ABs to be a class apart.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    Thanks for correcting my spelling. Agree that the prestige of the wins cannot be taken away and should not be. MY point on the understrengthness of the Lions was that, if the Highlanders are to say they are understrength (or if anyone says they are) then it has to be said that the Lions were as well. Both sides with everyone fit and available could have put out stronger teams. This is disrespectful (if true) http://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/rugby/international/93309791/lions-tour-kiwis-expect-lions-to-lose-all-10-nick-evans-tells-brits Not meant to offend on the exports point. Apologies if so, and also to Flight of the Conchords who are an excellent export as well.

    Reply

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  • These days a side/squad is synonymous IMO. And I was just making the point that they weren't "understreght" or under strength. As they have a lot more depth to draw from than a normal national side. To call them under strength in my opinion is to take away from what were special wins for both the Blues and Highlanders. It shows a lack of respect I think. Not just for the NZ players but for the Lions palyers as well. I don't think anybody expected the super rugby sides to have a chance against even the mid-week boys before the tour. Let them be excited by it. As a Blues fan I've not had a lot to be excited about this year. I can't answer for every idiot out there but I stick by my stance that if you're wearing a jersey ABs or Highlanders you will have earnt it. Therefore I wouldn't make the argument of under strength. As a ABs fan and a rugby fan I can honestly say I'm not nervous. I'm excited. I feel as though a lot of the super rugby has been one way traffic. The "Championship" will probably be dull as well. A Lions tour is special and only comes to us once every 12 years or so. In terms of your snipes about a country of 4millions exports I'll not comment. Just feels like you want to make a dig.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    You asked what an understreght Lions side was, not squad. So that midweek team team was understrength becasue WG has to leave his first choice players out of the mid week games so they are fully fit for the test matches. The English do not think they are the best team in the world. Thats just hyperbole. And if the Highlanders are allowed to say they were understrength becasue they were missing a few players, then the Lions can say that their squad is understrength as the best two players of the last 2 6 nations are out injured (Billy and Hogg) NZ media/commentators/fans are just starting to get a little nervous, becasue the Lions have not been far off 4/4 and have been showing signs of improvement, when many. many Kiwis said they wouldn't win a single game. Not saying the most likely result is not a 3-0 win in the tests for NZ, but then again that should be the result for a country playing at home, who's only other exports other than rugby are lamb and crowded house

    Reply

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  • To be clear, I didn't say it was the best team the British & Irish Lions could field. I don't think Warren even knows the best team yet... All I'm saying is that they are drawing on 4 very good rugby nations. The English even think they're the best in the world right now if you ask them. So this squad of players are the combined best of these rugby playing nations... How can you call that under strength? At this stage I think they are still figuring out who the best players/combinations are. It will be the same for the ABs. They haven't played for a year, and will have just one game before hand. At some stage I'm sure we'll see debut AB's. Regardless if they are good enough to put that jersey on they are an All Black and we expect them to play like it.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    Q. What is an under strength Lions side? It is the combined might of 4 rugby playing nations? A. The team on Tuesday was not 'the combined might of 4 rugby playing nations'. The best players are playing this Saturday. That will be te combined might and the one that the Lions tour is judged on. So far it is doing well. Correction - I also feel like the one good game from the Lions is also the one game where we saw a NZ team being stopped from playing their style of rugby "I just feel if the Crusaders had shown the kind of composure, and game style they've played all year they'd have had a much better chance of beating the "A" team" - If the Lions had shown a bit more composure they would have won by 25 points.

    Reply

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  • What is an under strength Lions side? It is the combined might of 4 rugby playing nations? I think the reality is the NZ super rugby teams are good(ish). But more importantly they've played together all season, they have their combinations down. They've also had a bit of luck.(The off the goal post try for the Blues.) Still if I was a Lions fan I'd be disappointed. Dropping the first game might be understandable(Jet lag, combinations etc.), regardless of who's on the field this is the Lions!!! I also feel like the one good game from the Lions is also the one game where we saw a NZ team stop playing their style of rugby. Obviously a lot of that came down to pressure apllied by the Lions. I just feel if the Crusaders had shown the kind of composure, and game style they've played all year they'd have had a much better chance of beating the "A" team. Still I reckon we'll know more after the NZ Maori game.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    The reality is that it's an under strength lions side against a NZ super rugby team in their own back yard. Kiwis are not allowed to use the "under strength" card anyway. You are either as amazing as you always say you are with so much depth in the squads when it suits you, so you say lions will not win a game all tour, or when s game is close or you lose you say that not all your all blacks were playing. You can't have it both ways. So far in the games that count the lions close to team beat crusaders at close to full strength relatively convincingly. On the others, second string lions teams came very close to winning even games.

    Reply
  •  vladimir
    vladimir

    A poor scrum penalty... for a winning penalty. The 50/50 calls are still going the same way it seems.

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Not really... looks more like he is commenting on what RD posted....

    Reply
  •  drg
    drg

    Yeh there was definitely a block, but to be fair the Lions 15 - who was slightly caught out, made a piss poor attempt at a tackle, and the Lions #4 had the perfect chance to put a big hit in, and bollocksed that up completely.... ...sooo, with that in mind, the Highlanders definitely deserved that try.

    Reply
  •  russthemuss
    russthemuss

    Not surprised to see an excuse out of a lions supporter as the first comment. The reality is that was an under strength Highlanders side (sitting at 4 out 5 teams on the NZ conference). Was a great game and the ref let them play (other than a poor scrum penalty against the lions he did really well). I think the Highlanders player did hold him back for the Naholo try but would he have got there to tackle him? Probably not but should have gone to TMO. Can't wait to see the NZ Maori smash them like they did 12 years ago!!!!

    Reply
  •  gonzoman
    gonzoman

    To be fair, Warburton's try could have been prevented by the Highlander's #3... if the tighthead prop in question wasn't busy being held back by AWJ...

    Reply
  •  armchairref
    armchairref

    Surprisingly, none of the notoriously one eyed kiwi commentators noticed this either.

    Reply

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Highlanders inflict second tour defeat for British and Irish Lions in Dunedin | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos