- Lions suffer first defeat of tour
- Tevita Kuridrani try enough to hold off Gatland's men
Photo: Getty Images
The British and Irish Lions suffered their first defeat of this year's tour of Australia as the Brumbies claimed a 14-12 victory at Canberra Stadium.
With the first clash against the Wallabies looming on Saturday the Lions fielded a fresher-looking side, but several members of the starting XV may have to done more harm than good to their chances of a Test call-up later in the series.
A disjointed performance did improve when Warren Gatland called for the replacements from the bench, but it was too late to overhaul the deficit.
The hosts took the lead with fewer than five minutes gone as centre Tevita Kuridrani received the ball on the left before shrugging off the attentions of Christian Wade and Rob Kearney to touch down. Ian Prior missed the conversion.
The Lions eventually did take a stranglehold on possession but a combination of lineout mistakes, handling errors and strong tackling from their opponents kept the touring side penned in.
A chance to reduce the deficit went begging when Stuart Hogg sent a penalty back off the upright and, as the half-hour mark approached, the touring side came no closer to putting any points on the board.
Photo: Getty Images
In fact it was the Brumbies who extended their lead as an infringement at the breakdown led to Jesse Mogg slotting three points through the posts, but the hosts were then similarly penalised and Hogg was on target to make it 8-3 at the half-time break.
Rory Best's throwing woes at the lineout continued at the start of the second half as the Lions squandered good field position before conceding a penalty in front of the posts, which Mogg duly converted.
Dangerous play in the maul by Ryan Grant allowed Mogg it extend the lead further, but Hogg cancelled that effort out straight away when the Brumbies were pinged for not releasing the ball.
Warren Gatland then brought on a completely new front row and the improved scrummaging forced the Brumbies to concede a penalty, only for Hogg to once again send his kick against the post.
Owen Farrell replaced Hogg and quickly slotted a simple penalty over before, with 10 minutes remaining, he nailed another from wide on the right to bring the gap down to just two points.
The Lions were firmly in the ascendancy but the Brumbies dug deep to clear the danger before seeing things out to the final whistle.
Brumbies:Jesse Mogg, Henry Speight, Tevita Kuridrani, Andrew Smith, Clyde Rathbone, Matt Toomua, Ian Prior; Ruan Smith, Siliva Siliva, Scott Sio, Leon Power, Sam Carter, Scott Fardy, Colby Faingaa, Peter Kimlin (capt).
Replacements:Josh Mann-Rea, Jean-Pierre Smith, Chris Cocca, Etienne Oosthuizen, Jordan Smiler, Mark Swanepoel, Robbie Coleman, Zack Holmes
Lions: Rob Kearney; Christian Wade, Brad Barritt, Billy Twelvetrees, Shane Williams; Stuart Hogg, Ben Youngs; Ryan Grant, Rory Best (capt), Matt Stevens, Ian Evans, Richie Gray, Sean O'Brien, Justin Tipuric, Toby Faletau.
Replacements: Richard Hibbard (for Best, 57), Alex Corbisiero (for Grant, 57), Dan Cole (for Stevens, 57), Geoff Parling (for Evans, 60), Dan Lydiate (for O'Brien, 57), Conor Murray (for Youngs, 60), Owen Farrell (for Hogg, 60), Simon Zebo (for Williams, 69).
Referee: Jerome Garces (France)
Attendance: 21, 655