AUCKLAND BLUES 22 BRITISH & iRISH lIONS 16
A late try and conversion from Ihaia West secured a memorable win for Auckland Blues as the British and Irish Lions suffered a loss in the second match of their New Zealand Tour series.
Having spluttered to a 13-7 win last Saturday against New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, Warren Gatland’s Lions looked to be heading for another unconvincing win after a Leigh Halfpenny penalty on 71 minutes to put them 16-15 ahead.
But Akira Ioane’s break sprung Sonny Bill Williams who canters in behind the red defence. Then West pops up on his shoulder, swerves past Leigh Halfpenny and slides under the posts.
CJ Stander had scored a try on his debut for the Lions to put them 7-5 ahead after R Ioane had gone in for the Blues.
Ireland centre, Jared Payne, playing against his former club, had a try disallowed as the Lions went in at the break 12-10 behind.
British and Irish Lions captain Ken Owens said” “I think our discipline lost the game. We gave away a lot of penalties and our contact areas in first and second phase especially in the first half. The speed of the game is quick, but think we are matching them physically, our attacking shape was better than on Saturday.
“We are disappointed, but we go on to the next game. We are going to have to be harsh on ourselves and get our tour back on track on Saturday.”
British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland: “It felt like there were lots of positives from today, our set-pieces were good but we will need to impress on the team the need to focus on the penalty concession. If we can halve that it will make a big difference.
“We need to stop the offload game - we know how dangerous that can be.
“That try on half-time was pretty unlucky. I think if we tighten up in a couple of areas to maintain that pressure we can get that momentum back.
“We have improved from the opening game with the time we have spent together and we will improve again before Saturday.”