The British & Irish Lions unbeaten start to the tour was ended by the ACT Brumbies in Canberra as the Lions failed to score a try for the first time Down Under.
A try for the hosts by Tevita Kuridrani early in the game proved to be the difference as the Lions faced their toughest test of the tour so far, and didn’t produce the goods.
It was nearly the perfect start for the Lions and for Shane Williams when, after just two minutes, the Welsh winger was bundled into touch, yards from the try-line.
It was the Brumbies that took the lead in the fifth minute though, when Kuridrani powered past Christian Wade on his way to the try line. Ian Prior missed the conversion.
Halfway through the first half, and the Lions had the chance to reduce the deficit but Stuart Hogg could only drill his penalty kick against the post.
The Lions escaped punishment though, as Jesse Mogg missed his penalty ten minutes later, as it drifted wide.
Minutes before the break and the Brumbies did extend their lead. Ian Prior missed his second kick at the posts before Mogg managed to make it 8-0, with just two minutes of the first half remaining.
The hosts couldn’t hold on until the break though. Peter Kimlin went off his feet at a ruck and Hogg obliged with the penalty to get the Lions on the board.
It was the Brumbies that kept up the pressure in the second half as just five minutes after the interval, Mogg scored another penalty to make it 11-3.
Just eight minutes later, and the lead was 11 points, Mogg again on duty, slotting between the posts.
From here, it looked like the Lions were on a fight back mission.
Hogg reduced the deficit to eight with a penalty, before he hit the post again with a kick just two minutes later.
That was to be Hogg’s last action as Owen Farrell replaced him and Farrell was straight on kicking duty as he reduced the deficit to five with 18 minutes still to play.
With ten minutes to go, Farrell was in action again as his boot made it 14-12 but the Lions couldn’t overturn the score line, and will go into the first Test match against Australia on Saturday following their only defeat of the tour.
It is expected to be a different starting XV on Saturday in Brisbane, but this defeat could be a dent in the confidence of the tourists, who are looking to beat the Wallabies for the first time in a series since 1989.
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