The Lions are to seek clarification on the protocols over goal-kicking in the belief that the series against the All Blacks could come down to small margins.

There have been two notable incidents on the tour already, with Elliot Daly distracted by the fuss over the precise mark for his last-gasp, unsuccessful pot against the Highlanders in Dunedin on Tuesday night, and the Lions management convinced that an Owen Farrell penalty against the Crusaders went over when it was ruled wide of the mark.

In such instances, the referee can refer any uncertainties to the television match official. In Farrell's instance, there was no referral even though the Lions have video evidence to show that the kick was successful. That it did not matter in the final outcome, the Lions winning 12-3, is not the issue. The Lions want to be certain of the process for protest within the game.

In Daly's case, referee Angus Gardner was actually correct to instruct the Lions wing to move the kick back some two to three metres, a situation that only came about because the Highlanders flanker Gareth Evans gesticulated at Gardner to move the kick back.


In that situation, the Lions feel that the team should have been given the option of turning down the pot at goal, which was then at 57-58 metres and at the absolute limit of Daly's range. As it was, the kick fell two or three metres short.

The Lions feel such matters need to be handled more precisely. Warren Gatland and kicking coach Neil Jenkins were involved in a contentious situation in the 2011 Rugby World Cup in New Zealand when Wales played South Africa in Wellington.

"I've had this scenario in 2011 when it was a similar-type kick on halfway with James Hook," said Jenkins. "As far as we were concerned the kick went over. Wayne [Barnes] was reffing that day, and as we were coming in, [Springbok centre] Francois Steyn came off and said, 'Neil, the kick was over'. This was half-time in a massive World Cup game, a crucial game. At the end of the day we lost by a point so that kick mattered. If they [officials] feel like there's an issue, is it a try or not, you go to the TMO. For kickers, if it's there or thereabouts, I don't see why it would [not] be an issue to go to the TMO."

The two incidents on this tour have been discussed by the Lions management, who said that the players had, in fact, taken up the matter at the time.

'We did really, [say stuff on the field], but it was pretty much a case of, 'That's what it is, we're going back [to where the offence occurred].'

"In terms of where the mark was, he was probably right, but where he's actually given it - that's where we were taking the shot. I don't know whether you [the ref] can change your mind and say, 'I got it wrong'. If you do say that, then I'd say we should have the option, so that if we want to play for touch, we can. But that wasn't discussed, Elliot had a pop and it came up short.

"As for Owen's kick, it was over. We were sitting behind it and it was over. If you're standing underneath the posts, you can't tell me if that's gone over or if it's just crept in or not. It's quite difficult to see if you're standing quite literally 'looking straight up', so the ref has to take control there and if he's unsure then maybe you do go to the TMO."

Jenkins has a range of options at his disposal as regard first-choice kicker in the Test series. Owen Farrell and Leigh Halfpenny have not yet been in the same side at the same time on this tour. Four years ago, Jenkins was involved in the decision to give Halfpenny the nod over Johnny Sexton.

"That was not an easy conversation," said Jenkins who believes that Halfpenny is coming back to his best form with the boot after a long spell on the sidelines in 2015-16 with injury.

"Leigh was in fantastic form leading up to the World Cup before he got injured. He has done a lot of work to get back and coming back in the autumn [2016] - especially against Australia - he probably wasn't anywhere near where he was prior to the injury. But he's done a huge amount of work in that period of time since then and he's not far away from being where he was four years ago. There's no doubt that he can get back to being one of the best in the world."