The British and Irish Lions suffered the second defeat of their 2017 tour of New Zealand after being edged out 23-22 in dramatic circumstances by the Highlanders in Dunedin on Tuesday (13 June).
A late 57m penalty from Elliot Daly fell agonisingly short of the posts and Jonathan Joseph spilled the final chance of the evening after the tourists opted to kick to touch following a deliberate knock-on.
The Highlanders drew first blood at Forsyth Barr Stadium through Waisake Naholo - one of a number of All Black internationals in the hosts' starting XV - and Joseph quickly hit back to leave an entertaining contest finely poised at 10-10.
The Lions put themselves ahead shortly after the interval, with Tommy Seymour reacting quicker than Malakai Fekitoa to claim a poor cross-kick from from Lima Sopoaga.
The latter's subsequent penalty made it a two-point game, only for returning captain Sam Warburton to then power through with Kayne Hammington hanging from his waist.
Hooker Liam Coltman crossed the whitewash after a rolling maul to set up a tense final 20 minutes. Owen Farrell botched a pivotal kick and Marty Banks nailed what would prove to be the winning penalty after the Lions were demolished at the scrum.
"We gave away a line-out for their try after having cleared our lines," head coach Warren Gatland said. "We know we need to better in those moments to make sure we don't compound our errors. We were inaccurate at times, they kicked the ball quite smartly to put us under pressure. The players are learning that it is about playing for 80 minutes and being in the moment.
"We always said that coming to New Zealand was going to be tough against the Super Rugby sides. They are the best rugby nation in the world."
Hogg out of tour
The Lions revealed before kick-off that Stuart Hogg, winner of two consecutive Six Nations player of the tournament awards, had been ruled out for the remainder of the tour after suffering a facial bone fracture during an accidental collision with teammate Conor Murray during Saturday's win over the Crusaders. No replacement for the Scotland international has been named and Jared Payne started at full-back in Dunedin.
Next up for Gatland's side is a real litmus test against the Maori All Blacks in Rotorua on Saturday.
British and Irish Lions fixtures [8:35am BST kick-off time unless otherwise stated]
Saturday 17 June – New Zealand Maori – International Stadium, Rotorua
Tuesday 20 June – Chiefs– Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Saturday 24 June – New Zealand– First Test, Eden Park, Auckland
Tuesday 27 June – Hurricanes – Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Saturday 1 July – New Zealand – Second Test, Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Saturday 8 July – New Zealand – Third Test, Eden Park, Auckland