British and Irish Lions: Warren Gatland blames defeat on turnovers and territory

Last Updated: 29/06/13 2:30pm

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Warren Gatland: Was left to rue defeat in Melbourne

Warren Gatland: Was left to rue defeat in Melbourne

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Warren Gatland criticised the Lions' game management after the nail-biting 16-15 second Test defeat to Australia in Melbourne.

The tourists appeared to be edging towards a series victory having built a 15-9 lead heading into the latter stages - but Adam Ashley-Cooper's 75th-minute try allowed Christian Leali'ifano to kick the winning points with a conversion.

Lions full-back Leigh Halfpenny had a chance to snatch an unlikely victory with the last kick of the game - a penalty from the halfway line - but his effort fell well short, leaving the Wallabies to celebrate.

Gatland said afterwards: "It was tight for both teams. We gave away too many turnovers in that second half and didn't control territory well enough. We put ourselves under pressure when we had a chance to keep momentum going and get a bit of ball. The turnovers really hurt us.

"It shows you how close these two teams are. It's 1-1 now and we've got to get up for it.

Gatland rues territorial mistakes

"It's just about game management. It's what Test match rugby is about. There were a couple of crucial lineouts and turnovers. When the referee said 'advantage over,' we didn't look after the ball well enough.

"We felt pretty comfortable at half time but it just shows that they never give up and they took the opportunities that came their way.

"We're disappointed to concede the try at the end at the end. We've got to keep working hard. We missed a few collisions and we didn't control the territory very well in either half."

Prop Mako Vunipola, deputising for injured England team-mate Alex Corbisiero, endured a torrid first half in the scrum with referee Craig Joubert continually awarding Australia penalties, and Gatland admitted he was left frustrated by several decisions.

The New Zealander said: "We were disappointed with a few things but until we get some clarity from them, you've got to take the good with the bad. It's just the way the scrum is refereed in the modern game.

"I haven't spoken to them (the players) yet. It's a big game next week. There'll be a couple of days off to recuperate and then it'll be heads on for next week."

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