Belfast Telegraph

British and Irish Lions fall to second defeat of Tour in New Zealand


The British and Irish Lions have been beaten by a solitary point by the Highlanders.

The 23-22 loss adds to the defeat to Blues in the second game of the Tour.

It had been a fast and frantic game with the Lions holding the lead for a long period until a late comeback rocked the tourists.

The Lions had led by as many as nine points during the second half but couldn't convert that lead into a victory as the hosts scored ten points in the final 20 minutes to nick the win. Marty Banks slotted home the winning penalty on 74 minutes but Elliot Daly came inches from earning back the advantage when his 55 metre effort fell short with two minutes on the clock.

An early Lima Sopoaga penalty was cancelled out by Dan Biggar before Waisake Naholo touched down the opening converted try for the hosts.

That seemed to spark the Lions. Biggar slipped a tackle and set up Jonathan Joseph to score before adding the extras to draw level at 10-10.

Tommy Seymour raced away to give the Lions the advantage three minutes after the restart an even though Sopoaga converted another penalty, the Lions looked like racing clear. Ulster's Iain Henderson made ground to help captain Sam Warburton to score and when Biggar converted, the Lions were nine clear at 22-13.

But hooker Liam Coltman scored, Banks converted and then made no mistake with his penalty to snatch the most thrilling of victories for the Highlanders.

Next up for the Lions are the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua on Saturday (kick-off 8.34am BST).

Lions: Payne; Nowell; Joseph, Henshaw; Seymour; Biggar, Webb; Marler, Best, Sinckler; Lawes, Henderson; Haskell, Warburton (captain), Stander.

Replacements: Owens, McGrath, Cole, Jones, Tipuric, Laidlaw, Farrell, Daly.

Highlanders: Buckman; Naholo, Fekitoa, Walden, Li; Sopoaga, Hammington; Lienert-Brown, Coltman, Tokolahi; Ainley, Hemopo; Hunt, Evans, Whitelock (captain).

Replacements: Pleasants-Tate, Seiuli, Halanukonuka, Dickson, Lentjes, Renton, Banks, Osborne.


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