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Dublin: 13 °C Wednesday 8 July, 2020

'13 penalties is way too much' - Itoje aiming for improvement after landmark victory

The 22-year-old English star says his side must show greater discipline ahead of the series decider.

Maro Itoje celebrates after the second test of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
Maro Itoje celebrates after the second test of the 2017 British and Irish Lions tour at Westpac Stadium, Wellington.
Image: David Davies

Updated at 00.43

BRITISH AND IRISH Lions star Maro Itoje insists there is still plenty of room for improvement, after his side earned a 24-21 victory over New Zealand at the Westpac Stadium today.

The 22-year-old English player says his side must show better discipline ahead of the series decider in Auckland next weekend.

“13 penalties is way too much for us,” Itoje said, after playing his part in this morning’s historic win.

It’s something we spoke about and didn’t fix. So we will have to have a hard look at ourselves and try to reduce it.”

The Londoner also dismissed suggestions that the team were riled up owing the abuse reserved for coach Warren Gatland in the New Zealand media during the week, but added that the win was a welcome boost for everyone in the Lions camp.

“We play for our coaches and our team and the most important thing is what the people in camp feel and think as we are ultimately accountable to them.

We always play for our teammates and coaches and I am happy for Warren the coaches and the team that we could give them all the win.”

The young forward has become popular with the fans during this tour, leading chants of ‘Oh Maro Itoje’ in the stands, but despite this acclaim, he is not getting too carried away just yet.

I did (hear the fans chants). Obviously it’s nice but I was fully concentrated on the game at the time so I can only really enjoy it now.

“I’m very honoured to be a part of this team. We’ve achieved something pretty good today, but it’s only half-time. It’s 1-1 and we’ve got a big week.”

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Paul Fennessy

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