Banks gives Highlanders thrilling win over Lions


WELLINGTON, June 13 Replacement flyhalf Marty Banks slotted a 74th minute penalty to give the Otago Highlanders a dramatic 23-22 victory over the British and Irish Lions in a Dunedin thriller on Tuesday.

The 24 year-old underwent tests following the match and the Lions confirmed on Wednesday (AEST) that he will play no further part in the tour.

The Highlanders responded with a penalty to reduce the deficit to 15-13 before the Lions crossed for their third try of the game, with captain Sam Warburton blasting over from a ruck, with Biggar slotting over the conversion to make it 22-13 to the Lions.

It was the Highlanders who started the better side, and deservedly took the lead after 26 minutes when All Black winger Waisake Naholo powered his way over to score the first try of the game. "They have picked a very good squad".

However, the Highlanders hit back with a try through hooker Liam Coltman from a driving lineout, which was followed by Banks' victor with five minutes remaining after a brilliant scrum won them the penalty. Rhys Webb was also good for the Lions and provided quality ball, while Robbie Henshaw also stuck up his hand with an all-round performance. In the Lions' loss to the Blues, they conceded way too many penalties and this occurred again in Dunedin as the Lions conceded 12 penalties to the Highlanders' seven.

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The Lions would be slightly concerned by the number of missed tackles as they could not handle the Highlanders consistently changing the point of attack.

"It is hugely disappointing for Stuart to have to return home early and for us to lose one of our touring party", said Gatland. "Unfortunately, we let them back into it", said Warren Gatland. "We had a couple of moments and a couple of chances in the game, but we didn't take them".

Having put in a defensive masterclass to beat the Crusaders on Saturday, the Lions were desperate to show their attacking edge in attack with only two tries scored in three games.

"Everyone was outstanding. We wanted to play at speed and we converted that into pressure", Highlanders captain Luke Whitelock said.