Lions rue missed chances in New Zealand defeat

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Great Britain Lions were once again left to rue their missed chances as they went down 23-8 against New Zealand in Christchurch.

The Kiwis drew first blood after six minutes as Jamayne Isaako scored a penalty after the Lions were caught holding on in the ruck.

Just three minutes later, the roles were reversed and the Kiwis were caught holding down, and Gareth Widdop took the two points to level the scores.

The fast start continued as New Zealand scored the games first try after 13 minutes as Shaun Johnson ran the ball and found Joseph Manu who scored. Isaako missed the conversion, but it was a four point lead for the hosts.

The Kiwis were on top and added another two points just before the half hour as Isaako took the two points again as the Lions were caught holding on once more by referee Gerard Sutton.

Brisbane Broncos winger Isaako was having a good day with the boot, and he added another penalty four minutes later as the Lions were pulled for a ball steal, meaning the Kiwis were now ahead by eight points.

It got even worse for Great Britain before half time as Johnson showed great feet and turned the Lions defence inside out to score. Isaako added the conversion to make it a three score advantage heading into the break.

The first try of the second half was crucial, and the Kiwis got it as Ken Maumalo went in in the corner. Isaako missed the conversion, but it was still a three try lead for the New Zealanders.

But the Lions gave themselves hope thanks to a brilliant offload from Josh Jones, leaving Josh Hodgson free to go in and score. Widdop converted to bring Great Britain back to within 12 points of the Kiwis.

They almost made it an interesting game with 15 minutes to go, but Widdop’s kick was palmed away just in the nick of time by Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, with John Bateman lurking behind him.

Just a few minutes later, the Lions were almost in again, but they were denied by  the video referee as Jake Connor knocked on in the air from Widdop’s kick, resulting in a turnover for the Kiwis.

Those missed chances would come back to haunt the Lions as Isaako added a drop goal to make it a three score lead once more.

The final word would go to the Kiwis as Isaako added another two points after the Lions were caught offside.

It was another disappointing game in what, by and large, has been a disappointing relaunch of the Great Britain Lions. Three games, three defeats. They will hope to end the tour on a high when they travel to Papua New Guinea next Saturday.

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