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Ben Youngs and Sam Warburton can do no more from the sidelines.
Ben Youngs and Sam Warburton can do no more from the sidelines.
Image: David Davies/PA Wire

The champagne is on ice and so is Warburton's hamstring after 2nd Test loss

The Lions captain has a hamstring strain and is a big doubt for the final Test.
Jun 29th 2013, 2:09 PM 3,009 3

WILL GREENWOOD INVITED Wallabies try-scoring hero Adam Ashley Cooper to state the obvious and he duly obliged. “Who is the momentum with now?” ashed Greeners.

“Oh, definitely with us mate,” replied the centre.

Australia made all the running and enjoyed 67% possession and 69% territory in the second half. The Lions were tempting fate by sitting back and trusting their impressive defence but, with Israel Folau drafted into the centre to punch holes, gaps were always going to appear. Cooper crashed through Jonathan Davies and Christian Leali’ifano added the extras to make it 16-15.

Leigh Halfpenny stepped up to win the match this week but his added-time kick did a Stephen Jones and deflated on its way to the posts, dropping five metres short in the end. Halfpenny has a 58m kick in the record books and this attempt was from 53m but he was not the only player to tighten up due to the immense pressure brought to bear in a game that was well short of a classic.

Speaking post-match to Sky Sports, Lions coach Warren Gatland stressed the importance of giving his weary troops a break away from rugby for 48 hours before coming up with a gameplan to shake off the infernal Wallaby. He said:

There was too many turnovers in the second half and we didn’t control territory well enough. That was the difficulty we put ourselves under.”

Gatland, for the second weekend running, bemoaned game management, or lack thereof. He was upset at the lineouts lost at crucial times – Hibbard missed AW Jones in the Australian 22 with two minutes to play – and kicking the ball away with an advantage coming [Brian O'Driscoll was guilty of that once]. He was “frustrated” with scrum calls but refused to kick up too much of a fuss after spending much of the past seven days praising referee Craig Joubert.

Conor Murray and Jonathan Sexton console Leigh Halfpenny at the final whistle. (David Davies/PA Wire)

Gatland added, “We’ve still got a chance. Big game next week. We’ll take a couple of days off and then get our heads back on.”

In the post-match media briefing, Gatland confirmed that captain Sam Warburton, who had his best game of the whole tour, had a hamstring injury that he was icing from the moment he left the pitch. The flanker is the only major concern to emerge from the one-point Test defeat.

Warburton praised the Wallabies for ‘getting hold of us inside our 22′ but took a positive out of his side’s ability to compete successfully at the breakdown. The Welshman’s personal assessment on his tight hamstring was ‘fingers crossed’.

He declared, “We’re still alive. I know fans at home will be disappointed but it’s game on for next week.”

The whitewash has been a wash-out but the fingers will be firmly crossed all week for the Lions to take the series 2-1.

As it happened: Lions v Australia, Second Test – 2013 Tour

How the Lions rated in their 2nd Test against Australia

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Patrick McCarry

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