Lions captain Peter O’Mahony cited poor finishing and ill discipline as contributing factors to the Lions’ 30-15 loss to New Zealand in the opening test and Eden Park, Auckland.
Leinster and Ireland’s Sean O’Brien finished off one of the great Lions tries just before the break following a Liam Williams counterattack.
The Lions failings that have dogged this tour saw several promising breaks came to nothing and at the other end lapses in concentration were ruthlessly punished by the All Blacks as Codie Taylor scored a first-half try before Rieko Ioane added two second-half touchdowns.
Speaking to Sky Sports after the game, O’Mahony was critical of finishing and discipline.
“We had an excellent first half and created plenty of chances,”
“We’re happy with some of the opportunities we created but our discipline probably wasn’t where it should have been at.
“We’ve got a huge Test coming up next week and we’ve got to recover now and regroup.
“We’ve been put under pressure by a seriously good side at times but we’ve got to be more clinical. We’re making some good breaks and we’ve just got to finish them off.
“We left at least two tries out there so I don’t think 15 points is a good reflection.”
It was a sentiment that Wales Centre Jonathan Davies agreed with:
“Poor discipline and errors probably cost us and to be fair to the All Blacks they were very clinical as always.
“But we can take a lot out of our game. We created a lot, it’s just finishing off these opportunities. We can’t leave tries out there.
“The positives are we’re creating chances, we just need to finish them off.”
Lions boss Warren Gatland suggested his side were caught off guard by New Zealand’s tactics.
“They didn’t come out and play champagne rugby.
“They were very direct coming really hard off nine and credit to them. They dominated us in that area. We were looking to get the upper hand up front and in fairness to them they got it today.
“We’ve got no excuses about the result because they deserved to win.
“But there are things we can work on particularly hard this week and definitely improve on taking the chances and being more accurate at the breakdown.”
The Lions now face the Hurricanes on Tuesday before back to back test games with the All Blacks.
If the team are to avoid an embarrassing 3-0 whitewash like in 2005 a serious improvement is needed before next week. What is more scary is that the All Blacks while doing enough to win comfortably today, were a long way of their best.