Rugby: Loss to Brumbies reality check ahead of test Gatland

Warren Gatland. Photo / Janna Dixon
Warren Gatland. Photo / Janna Dixon

Lions coach Warren Gatland says his side's shock 14-12 loss against the Brumbies is an important reality check heading into Saturday's opening test against the Wallabies.

The Brumbies burst out of the blocks in soggy Canberra conditions on Tuesday night to take an 8-0 lead against a slow-starting Lions outfit.

It took 40 minutes for the touring side to stutter back into the contest, with wayward lineouts, lacklustre contests at the breakdown and a slippery ball hampering their comeback.

The Lions also played into the hands of the Brumbies' strong kicking and defensive gameplan, the blueprints of which were developed by their World Cup-winning coach Jake White. It was a stark contrast to the expansive style Australia's next two strongest provincial sides - the Reds and Waratahs - unsuccessfully played against the Lions.

While Gatland acknowledged the loss was disappointing, he said the real test would be how his playing squad responded in the first match against the Wallabies in Brisbane on Saturday.

"Sometimes it's not the worst thing to take a bit of a knock and get a reality check and we had that this evening," Gatland said.

It's their first loss to an Australian provincial team since Queensland in 1971, having only just beaten the Brumbies 12 years ago with a converted try after the fulltime siren.

- AAP

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