Great Britain Rugby League Lions

By John Davidson,

Great Britain has slumped to their third tour loss in a row, New Zealand triumphing 21-8 in Christchurch.

The Kiwis notched back-to-back wins over the Lions in an impressive display in the south island.

Tries to Joseph Manu, Shaun Johnson and Ken Maumalo was enough to inflict more pain on the under-pressure Lions.

This is the first tour Great Britain has undertaken since 2007 and it has been a clear failure.

Coach Wayne Bennett’s bizarre selection policy saw five-eighth Blake Austin moved to the wing and Jack Hughes into the centres, after injures to Zak Hardaker, Ryan Hall and Oliver Gildart.

New Zealand, much improved last weekend at Eden Park, took full advantage.
Michael Maguire’s men were slick and effective, returning halfback Johnson combining well with Benji Marshall.

New Zealand took the lead after just five minutes, when Jamayne Isaako nailed a penalty.

Three minutes late Great Britain levelled it up at 2-2 with a Gareth Widdop goal.

The Kiwis took the lead back in the 12th minute.

After Blake Austin was dragged into touch, the hosts shifted the ball to the right and Joseph Manu crashed over.

Isaako couldn’t add the extras so the score stayed at 6-2.

In the 25th minute New Zealand added two more points from the boot of the winger.

The Lions were giving away too many penalties and five minutes later Isaako nailed another to make it 10-2.

Then Shaun Johnson stepped up to score a brilliant solo try.

He sliced through some weak defence, dummying past Elliot Whitehead, to touch down.

Isaako made no mistake and the Kiwis were dominant at 16-2 at half-time.

Great Britain were in danger of a thrashing as the second half started.

It took the Kiwis just five minutes to score again.

A quick shift to the left found Ken Maualolo and the big winger got the ball down perfectly.

Isaako couldn’t add the extras but the Lions were good as sunk at 20-2.

In the 49th minute Great Britain finally hit back through Josh Hodgson.

A late and smart offload from Josh Jones gave him the space to cross.

Widdop converted the try to make it 20-8 and the visitors had some hope.

With 15 minutes left John Bateman almost got a hand to Widdop’s grubber to score, but it was ruled out by the video ref.

The Kiwis were tiring and holding on, and the Lions were lifting.

But it was too little too late. With five minutes left Isaako slotted a field goal to put the nail in Great Britain’s coffin.