JUNE 13, FORSYTH BARR STADIUM, DUNEDIN HIGHLANDERS 23 BRITISH & IRISH LIONS 22
Having been able to select Lima Sopoaga, Liam Coltman and Waisake Naholo – who were all released by the All Blacks – the Highlanders were able to put a strong team on the park.
Still, for all that they had the personnel, after 50 minutes there were slipping out of the contest. The Lions had gone 2210 ahead after Tommy Seymour had picked off a crosskick interception.
The visitors had the game just where they needed it with 25 minutes to go and should have forced home their advantage. But the Highlanders found another gear.
Their bench contributed, as did Marty Banks, and they started to dominate the Lions forwards. They began to win penalties and with that, enjoy more territory. After a driving maul try saw them go only two behind, they followed up with a huge scrum that won them a kickable penalty.
Banks nailed it and that was the game – the general defensive effort and specific work of the pack in the physical exchanges winning the day.
Man of the Match LUKE WHITELOCK
[Highlanders] The youngest Whitelock brother had a huge night as captain. He carried hard and made an enormous number of telling and memorable tackles. It was an abrasive and inspiring performance.
What They Said
“It’d be right up there but I don’t think it would top the Super Rugby final. That was such a long time coming and it was a childhood dream to win that.” – Highlanders First-Five Marty Banks
Highlanders 23 [W. Naholo, L. Coltman tries; L. Sopoaga con, 2 pens; M. Banks con, pen] British & Irish Lions 22 [J. Joseph, T. Seymour, S. Warburton tries; D. Biggar 2 cons, pen]