Highlanders vs British and Irish Lions highlights: International rugby scores, blog

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    The 2017 British and Irish Lions tour continues this evening as they travel south to Dunedin for an outing against the Highlanders. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage with kick off scheduled for 5:35pm (AEST) from Forsyth Barr Stadium.

    After a superb victory over the leading Super Rugby side, the Crusaders, last Saturday night, the Lions will be looking to continue their momentum.

    As the demands of the short turnaround show, a very different starting side has been named here by coach Warren Gatland, which provides a further opportunity for those selected to impress the coaching staff ahead of the Tests selection.

    One criticism of the Lions tour to date has been their inability to find the try line. The tourists have scored just two from three outings thus far on tour and we can be sure the Lions will want to see an improvement on this front. Conditions will be perfect under the roof this evening.

    Of particular interest will be the performance of the Lions’ backline, one area which does not look settled from the centres onwards. Robbie Henshaw and Jonathan Joseph will be looking for a big performance tonight to stake their claims while the Lions’ back three will be switched on to take their opportunities when they present themselves.

    While it would appear Owen Farrell, Jonathan Sexton and Connor Murray would be the frontrunners for the run on Test side in a few weeks, it is a grand opportunity for Dan Biggar and Rhys Webb to push into contention for the match-day 23 with a controlled and secure performance tonight.

    The Lions will fancy their chances up front this evening with an experienced pack named and most eyes will be trained on the form of tour captain Sam Warburton and his performance this evening with the Test matches around the corner.

    While the Highlanders are missing some of their bigger names due to Test commitments, most notably Smith and Smith (Aaron and Ben), they have still managed to name a few representative stars with Lima Sopoaga and Waisake Naholo leading the charge. Centre Malakai Fekitoa will have a point to prove after missing selection in the All Blacks squad.

    The Highlanders certainly possess some strike power among their backs and a poorly executed defensive pattern and kicking game could prove troublesome for the Lions tonight.

    Up front, it does look on paper that the home side are well up against it faced with such seasoned opposition, but time and time again they have defied the critics and stood up to be counted. This is a whole other level though, but they will have familiarity on their side against a fresh Lions line up.

    While the Highlanders’ backs look lethal, I cannot look past the strength of the Lions up front and expect they will control the game and for long periods and, as a result, the scoreboard.

    Lions by 12.

    Join us from 5.35pm (AEST) as I cover all the action live and feel free to utilise the comments section below with your observations on the match below.

    A Rotundity and happy ex hooker who just loves Rugby really, oh and my kids and Kendra of course who lets me watch as much Rugby as I want, mostly. Follow Digby Ross on Twitter @Diggercane.

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    The Crowd Says (293)

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    • 6:52am
      Zero Gain said | 6:52am | ! Report

      Congratulations young Highlanders. For the Lions I don’t think the score really matters. It’s another tough hit out in preparation of the Test matches. What touring Test sides get this level of preparation? Gatland has a plan and I think it is coming together well.

    • 11:03pm
      Rugby Tragic said | 11:03pm | ! Report

      Thanks digger for the blog. Regretfully was unable to watch the game due to travelling … so had to catch up reading your blog. Sounds like a thrilling game …

      Congratulations Highlander, Muzzo and all ‘Lander supporters… join the Blues… the company’s just fine … 🙂

      Commiserations BIL fans.. don’t be too disheartened, but please continue to spend up big… the NZ economy needs it…

    • 9:25pm
      Cantab said | 9:25pm | ! Report

      My two concerns as AB fan were:

      A) Lions would crush us at the set piece

      B) Lions had more international quality depth to cover injuries.

      The crusaders dispelled concern A and the Highlanders have dispelled concer B.

      • 5:38am
        P2R2 said | 5:38am | ! Report

        how can you say ‘crush’ at set piece….did I not see the Landers crush them in a scrum…? as for B) – they may have depth but is the quality good as the ABs…? then you go on an say A) was dispelled and so was B)….what are you???

    • 9:17pm
      Misha said | 9:17pm | ! Report

      Two destroyed Lions scrums in two games – not looking good- esp by a second string Highlanders pack…

    • Roar Guru

      WEST said | 8:05pm | ! Report

      Good win by the Highlanders, all this North vs South stuff will continue… At least for a few more days until the Maori ABs game. The Highlanders had a far better mindset and intent than the Crusaders. They knew how and where to stretch the defence, also holding their own at the set piece. Great win for Otago rugby. The Lions will shuffle the team again for the weekend and throw the kitchen sink at the Maori’s, they better be prepared for an angry game.

    • 7:53pm
      Rick Page said | 7:53pm | ! Report

      Tough for the Lions being beaten up in the scrum like that, they thought they’d beaten the AB forward pack at Christchurch. Even if it’s their midweek team, its v’s a Highlanders missing 8 starters. If they try and play ‘rugby chaos’ like tonight, against the Maori, their A team will likely come off second best too, being as what’ll be a fantastic Maori backline.
      So where do they go, since this was their next step up to a running game that was gonna be their strike threat but is actually playing to the kiwi style and just showed they can’t do it better.

      • Roar Guru

        WEST said | 8:27pm | ! Report

        The Maori ABs will give the All Blacks a good run for their money, they’ve some real talent in their this year. The Lions will need to prepare for this team as if they were playing the All Blacks. The Maori ABs need to prepare for the game of their lives…. Or just do the opposite of the Crusaders should be enough.

        Backs: Damian McKenzie, Nehe Milner-Skudder, Declan O’Donnell, James Lowe, Matt Proctor, Rob Thompson, Charlie Ngatai, Tim Bateman, Otere Black, Ihaia West, Bryn Hall, Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi.

        Forwards: Akira Ioane, Liam Messam, Kara Pryor, Elliot Dixon, Reed Prinsep, Tom Franklin, Leighton Price, Joe Wheeler, Chris Eves, Kane Hames, Mike Kainga, Ben May, Marcel Renata, Ash Dixon (capt), Hika Elliot.

        • 8:40pm
          ads2600 said | 8:40pm | ! Report

          That’s a very strong Maori side alright! Good luck boys, & good luck & congrats to the Neph, Tman! Hope you get more then a cameo appearance.

    • Roar Guru

      Diggercane said | 7:53pm | ! Report

      Thanks everyone for joining me here tonight, cant wait for the next match against the New Zealand Maoris on Saturday!

    • Roar Guru

      Diggercane said | 7:52pm | ! Report

      The Highlanders have defeated the British and Irish Lions by the slimmest of margins by 23 points to 22 in a thrilling encounter under the roof of Forsyth Barr Stadium in Dunedin, consigning the tourists to their second loss of their New Zealand tour.
      With conditions picture perfect, a fast encounter was expected and was certainly delivered as the pace was fierce from the opening whistle, the Highlanders dominating possession early and struck first with a Lima Sopoaga penalty after five minutes.
      It was end to end stuff and soon the Lions had their first opportunity, the TMO called to check two possible try scoring chances to wing Tommy Seymour and the Rhys Webb in the same passage of play, both unsuccessful but a penalty saw the Lions lock it back up 3 apiece.
      The pace settled slightly after 20 minutes as both side tried to play a more structured game but it was a breakout from a Highlanders lineout that saw the Highlanders surge forward into the 22 before Waisake Naholo, off the back of quick ball managed to break his way through the defence to dot down by the posts and score the first try of the match which was duly converted.
      However the Lions were not to be denied, soon after capitalising on Highlanders ill-discipline before Jonathan Joseph found himself in space and his speed got him to the line and the Lions had locked the scores back up at 10 and so it would remain until halftime.
      The second half began much the same as the first, the Highlanders with the early momentum before a wonderful read in defence by Seymour, who burst onto a Sopoaga cross kick to run away and strike a blow early for the Lions in the second half to lead by five.
      The Highlanders would fight back into the contest with a penalty before the Lions on the back of some great lead up work, scored through Sam Warburton, quick ball inside the 22, Warburton would pick and go, through the mismatch of Kayne Hammington at marker to score by the posts and the Lions looked to be pulling away from the home side, 22-13.
      A knock on by Jared Payne from the kick off gifted the Highlanders possession and just five minutes later, Liam Coltman scored off a rolling maul from a lineout, awarded from a penalty and the Highlanders were right back in the match, trailing by just two with twenty to go.
      It was cut and thrust from here as both sides attempted to play for territory, before a superb take from a high kick by Richard Buckman saw the Highlanders hot on attack before a knock on stalled their momentum and a Lions scrum on their 22 which proved to be the pivotal moment in this match as a huge shove from the Highlanders earned a penalty from referee Angus Gardner and the Highlanders had their opportunity and Marty banks did not let the faithful down, converting the penalty and the Highlanders had a one point lead which they held onto in the last few minutes, repelling the Lions challenge and securing a famous win for the franchise.

    • 7:52pm
      Ouch said | 7:52pm | ! Report

      Well done Highlanders. Top effort

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