British and Irish Lions suffer second tour defeat to Highlanders in Dunedin

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The Lions wrestled the upper hand in the scrum in the 12-3 win over the Crusaders, but the Christchurch hosts maintained throughout they had claimed the edge.

"That gave them way too much territory and momentum and they scored off that eventually".

The Lions now have a 2-2 record in New Zealand after arriving in the country two weeks ago.

Another loss, another lesson for the British and Irish Lions on their tour of New Zealand coach Warren Gatland said after they squandered a nine-point lead to lose 23-22 to the Otago Highlanders on Tuesday.

Both teams showed up to play hard on the day and the result was the most engrossing game of the Lions tour so far.

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.

Player ratingsBritish and Irish Lions: Jared Payne 5, Jack Nowell 5, Jonathan Joseph 7, Robbie Henshaw 6, Tommy Seymour 6, Dan Biggar 6, Rhys Webb 5, Joe Marler 6, Rory Best 6, Kyle Sinckler 6, Courtney Lawes 6, Iain Henderson 6, James Haskell 5, Sam Warburton 6, CJ Stander 6.

The party will now turn their attention to Saturday's clash with the New Zealand Maori in Rotorua and with less than a fortnight to go until the first Test, Gatland admits his side simply must improve the basics.

The Lions actually scored more tries than the Highlanders as they finally seemed willing to attack their opposition all over the pitch.

Flying Fijians coach John McKee said the idea was a long shot considering the touring calendar for the Lions and the countries they visited.

The Lions conceded four penalties in the first half, but gave away a flurry after the interval with referee Angus Gardner punishing them on eight occasions.

"I think some of their kicking game was what caused us pressure, not so much the running game", Gatland said.

"If you switch off for a fraction of a second, they take advantage of you".

The Highlanders signaled their intention from the outset, keeping the ball for most of the first five minutes and moving it at high tempo but settling for an opening penalty to flyhalf Lima Sopoaga.

Jonathan Joseph starred at outside centre - the Englishman's duking, risky runs creating attacking spark missing from the Lions' performance thus far. Biggar looped around his center and passed to Joseph, who burst through a hole in the Highlanders' defense. Liam Coltman went over for their second try with Banks' conversion making it a two-point game.

With seven minutes to go, the Lions had once again their back against the wall and Daly had the chance to clinch it with two minutes left on the clock but his 55-metre effort fell just short.

The Highlanders decided against performing a haka before the match and were instead led out by a piper before captain Luke Whitelock handed Warburton a giant claymore sword. "They play faster rugby than we're used to and that's the challenge: getting used to that and being 100% switched on all the time".

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