Lions struggle to 13-7 win in New Zealand tour opener

Jonathan Sexton and Greig Laidlaw knocked over penalties for the Lions either side of the Anderson-Heather try in what proved to be a stiff opening test for the tourists.

Warren Gatland has never blamed the schedule, but did allude to its brutality after seeing his side squeeze through the tour opener 13-7 in Whangarei.

"In blunt terms the Lions looked incompetent", Gifford wrote.

Those players were always going to be the ones to take on the Barbarians and it would have made sense for the remaining members of the party to then join the Lions in New Zealand after finishing up with their clubs.

They'll need to quickly rectify those errors to defeat the Blues on Wednesday.

"In a way it is an opportunity for people to want to be critical", Gatland said.

Here, Press Association Sport examines five key lessons from the Lions' opening clash of the New Zealand tour.

"A few years ago Brian Smith coined the phrase Warrenball and I don't know if that was because he was jealous because of how much success we had.I don't know".

The Harlequins prop boasted some of the softest hands on display as the Lions struggled to get into the rhythm of flowing phase play. But we are happy to win.

"He caused us a few problems, especially with his kicking game".

"We have made 15 changes to the starting XV and we are excited to see what this team is able to do against the Blues".

Playing the of their 10 matches only four days after arriving, the tourists never really got on a roll against a committed Barbarians team who gave them a reminder of the depth of quality in the New Zealand game.

The Lions captain said: "In future performances and wins, we'll dedicate to those who have been involved and I guess we can play a small part in trying to cheer a majority of the nation up by trying to be successful over here". We're now back to sharing rooms, we're back to inviting the other team into the changing room for a beer immediately after the match, we're back to engaging with the community, whether that's hospitals, retirement homes, or schools.

"We get thrown into hard situations but that's how you find out about yourself as a team", Warburton said.

"We experienced that four years ago (by winning the series in Australia) where people chose to be critical and a lot of people got caught with their trousers down afterwards, didn't they?"

"We want to go back to certain traditions because they work".

The Lions took the direct route smashing into tacklers, but once they realised the Barbarians were solid defensively, they began to seek space and keep the ball alive.

The Lions are next in action on Wednesday (7 June) against the Blues (kick-off 08:35 BST).

"The more you play together, the more he would know what I was going to do, just building the relationship".

The jet-lag may have been a contributory factor to a lacklustre performance against a side they were expected to beat by more than 30 points, but captain Sam Warburton said that he was happy just to get the win.

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