Rowntree: Discipline key in series decider

Sun, 02 Jul 2017 07:53

REACTION: British and Irish Lions assistant coach Graham Rowntree warned the tourists must improve their discipline for this coming Saturday's third Test decider with the All Blacks.

The tourists claimed a famous 24-21 victory over New Zealand in Wellington at the weekend, to level the series - despite conceding a total of 13 penalties which saw them nearly throw the game away.

They were spared by All Blacks kicker Beauden Barrett having an off match and missing three shots at goal.

"We can't afford to throw away a series win because of ill discipline. We couldn't live with ourselves if we did that," Rowntree said as the Lions headed for four days recovery at New Zealand's adventure capital of Queenstown.

Rowntree, who played in the England side that famously beat the All Blacks 15-13 in Wellington 14 years ago, knows the Lions can't afford a repeat display at Eden Park this weekend.

"We can't be giving penalties away the way we are at the moment. It's not good enough and it will be a big focus for us this week.

"As I keep saying, we can play. But we can continue to improve and for us that's the exciting thing."

Against 14-man New Zealand, who lost Sonny Bill Williams to a red card in the 25th minute, a strong finish saw the Lions snatch the lead with a 78th minute Owen Farrell penalty.

It followed second-half tries from number eight Taulupe Faletau and scrumhalf Conor Murray.

Rowntree is expecting a big response from the All Blacks who suffered their first home defeat in eight years, but said the Lions can also go up another level.

"We can get better and there's a series on the line now. How many of these guys have won a series in New Zealand? There's more to come from us and that's what's exciting.

"We're expecting a reaction from the All Blacks at Eden Park. They don't lose very often there, do they? We're still in it going into the third game. It's the decider."  

Agence France-Presse

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