Soft penalties undermine Lions' progress

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    14 Jun 2017     Getty Images

Gatland said at the press conference after the game the Lions had been in a position to control the game and win it, but the penalties and turnovers conceded had seen the Highlanders 'sneak' the win.

"We're disappointed and there are some key moments that we need to learn from and to improve and make sure we're better next time we take the field," he said.

It was also important for the Lions to play for 80 minutes which is something New Zealand sides did.

"From a game point of view it's another big step up for us and it's a learning opportunity and we would have got a lot from tonight," he said.

"We went into half-time a little disappointed with our control. We felt we played a little too much between the tens [10-metre lines] in the first half. Going in at 10-10 it was a reasonable return.

"Then we've come out after half-time and we were pretty happy with that period. To be 22-13 up and feeling reasonably comfortable, it's disappointing for us to give that away at the end. We defended well on our own goal-line and clear it away and unfortunately give away a soft penalty at the next lineout which has allowed them to put pressure back on us. They are fine margins," he said.

Nothing changed for the side as they now look to play the Maori All Blacks.

"We've always spoken about it, the challenge about coming to New Zealand. This is the best rugby nation in the world. Every week we're going to be up against it.

"The thing about coming here is that comes hard in every single match, that's the ideal preparation. That's how we're going to learn from these experiences," he said.