Warren Gatland says Lions must improve discipline after scrums errors prove costly in Highlanders defeat

Joe Hall
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Highlanders v British & Irish Lions
The Lions succumbed to their second mid-week defeat following last week's loss to the Blues (Source: Getty)

Head coach Warren Gatland warned his British and Irish Lions team they must improve their discipline and adapt their scrummaging after narrowly losing to Highlanders in Dunedin yesterday.

A 74th-minute penalty allowed Highlanders replacement fly-half Marty Banks to inflict a second defeat in four games on the Lions.

Second-half tries from Sam Warburton and Tommy Seymour put the tourists into a commanding lead but Banks's penalty — one of 13 conceded by Gatland's men — proved costly.

"The penalty count was probably a little heavy," said the Lions' New Zealand-born head coach.

"It was heavy in the last quarter and we need to address that and we spoke about nailing big moments, so there's one or two moments we need to keep improving on.

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Highlanders v British & Irish Lions
Joseph goes over for the Lions' first try of the game (Source: Getty)

"That's going to be the difference between winning and losing the Test match. To be 22-13 up and feeling reasonably comfortable means it is disappointing to give it away.

"We show ourselves in the foot with some turnovers and penalties in the last 10 minutes."

The Lions conceded two penalties at the scrum in the last three minutes of the match and Gatland suggested his pack failed to adapt to the referee's interpretation of the rules.

"We've all got to learn from the interpretations of the referee at scrum time," he said.

"I looked at those two penalties against Dan Cole and I think the first one is a penalty to us. There is no doubt that they got some ascendancy in the second scrum penalty and they have got on top of us.

"We need to adapt to that and make sure we work really hard over the next couple of weeks to rectify an issue — if there is one — at scrum time."

The two sides traded penalties in the opening exchanges with Dan Biggar cancelling out Lima Sopoaga on 17 minutes.

It had very nearly been even better for the Lions with Scottish wing Tommy Seymour first falling just short of the line and Welsh No9 Rhys Webb then knocking on as he attempted to convert from the subsequent ruck.

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All Blacks winger Waisake Naholo burst past two tackle attempts to score the first try of the match after 26 minutes, a score that was swiftly answered by England centre Jonathan Joseph who found a gap between the Highlanders defence.

Highlanders v British & Irish Lions
Banks kicks the winning penalty for the Highlanders (Source: Getty)

Seymour put the Lions ahead shortly after the restart after he intercepted Sopoaga's cross-field kick-pass to get a clear-run at the try line.

On 53 minutes skipper Warburton put the Lions into a commanding lead but the 10 answered points that followed — firstly from Liam Coltman's converted try and then Banks's penalty — secured victory for the Highlanders.

There was still time for Elliot Daly to attempt a stunning 57-metre match-winning penalty, but his effort fell just short of the posts.

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