British & Irish Lions 2013: We didn’t play smart rugby, admits Gatland
British & Irish Lions 2013: Warren Gatland admits his side weren't smart enough after a 16-15 loss to Australia in the second Test
Warren Gatland criticised the British and Irish Lions for not playing smart rugby after a 16-15 loss to Australia in the second Test in Melbourne.
Leigh Halfpenny and Christian Leali’ifano swapped penalties in the first half before the Lions number 15 added a 39th-minute effort to leave his side three clear at half-time.
The Wales full-back added a further two kicks in the second half to leave the Lions six points clear with five minutes remaining.
But Australia rallied and Adam Ashley-Cooper scored the game’s only try, with Leali’ifano converting, to seal a narrow victory.
“It’s just about game management,” said Gatland.
“That’s what Test match rugby is about – a couple of crucial line-outs, a couple of crucial turnovers and even when they made mistakes and the ref said ‘advantage over’ we haven’t made
the most if it.
“We were pretty comfortable at half-time but they never give up and it went their way. We weren’t smart enough and didn’t look after the ball well enough.”
Brian O’Driscoll attempted to rally the Lions troops after the point loss ahead of next weekend’s final-Test decider.
“We’re very disappointed, we weren’t on control of the game but we were six points clear, that’s a horrible margin as after a converted try you’re behind,” said O’Driscoll.
“I had one loose kick that gave them a counter-attack option, but we weren’t able to close it out.
“But it’s not over, we’ve got a massive week to get ourselves ready for Sydney next Saturday.
“The momentum is with them, but we won’t let that faze us. We’ve beaten them once.”