RUGBY: Highlanders snatch narrow win over British and Irish Lions

British and Irish Lions' Sam Warburton scores his side's third try
British and Irish Lions' Sam Warburton scores his side's third try

HIGHLANDERS 23 BRITISH LIONS 22

One big scrummage toppled the British and Irish Lions for the second time in New Zealand, as the Highlanders prevailed 23-22 in Dunedin.

British and Irish Lions' Jonathan Joseph scores his side's first try

British and Irish Lions' Jonathan Joseph scores his side's first try

Jonathan Joseph, Tommy Seymour and captain Sam Warburton all ran in tries for the often-threatening Lions, but the tourists were undone late on at the coal face.

The Highlanders blasted the Lions off the ball, and Marty Banks slotted the 74th-minute penalty that wrestled the one-point lead - and eventually the result.

The Crusaders made the scrum a big talking point after the Lions defeated them 12-3 on Saturday, insisting the tourists struggled at the set-piece.

And here referee Angus Gardner certainly felt the hosts had the upper hand in the decisive skirmish.

British and Irish Lions' Iain Henderson breaks through the Highlanders defence

British and Irish Lions' Iain Henderson breaks through the Highlanders defence

Replacement Owen Farrell missed a routine shot at goal and Elliot Daly failed with a long-range effort, as the Highlanders joined the Blues in scalping the Lions.

Waisake Naholo and Liam Coltman claimed the tries for a Highlanders side missing nine regular starters, including All Blacks Aaron and Ben Smith.

The Lions will be left to lick the wounds of a second defeat in four matches on this tour, with Courtney Lawes a new injury doubt having suffered a nasty-looking head injury.

REACTION

Lions captain Sam Warburton:“For one reason or another the penalties got up into double figures.

“It was a game where it was going to be thrown around a bit more, but our first and second arrivals on the breakdown were a little late.

“We scored a couple of tries, we looked good when we were direct. We are looking forward to the challenge of the New Zealand Maori on Saturday.”

Lions coach Warren Gatland: “We gave away a line-out for their try after having cleared our lines.

“We know we need to better in those moments to make sure we don’t compound our errors. We were inaccurate at times, they kicked the ball quite smartly to put us under pressure.

“The players are learning that it is about playing for 80 minutes and being in the moment.

“We always said that coming to New Zealand was going to be tough against the Super Rugby sides. They are the best rugby nation in the world.”