Highlanders vs Lions: Five things we learned

Beth Newman Profile
by Beth Newman

The Highlanders pulled off an incredible win over the British and Irish Lions on Tuesday night. 

What are we talking about after the 23-22 thriller?

1. Lions slump to 50-50 record

The Lions looked like they were finding their groove with a win over the Crusaders, but that was all but undone with their loss to the HIghlanders. The visitors scored some spectacular tries but in the end they found themselves on the end of their second loss in four matches.

2. Sinckler streaking away

Kyle Sinckler was impressive for the Lions. Photo: Getty ImagesLions tighthead prop Kyle Sinckler had to be sat down by Harlequins teammates James Horwill and Adam Jones last season to cool his temper. Whatever they said has clearly paid dividends for the front rower, who looked as dynamic as any New Zealand forward. He has played just eight Tests for England, but you’d think there’ll be plenty more in his future.

3. Take it to the Banks

Need a penalty kicked - give the ball to Marty Banks. The Highlanders utility has been ultra reliable in Super Rugby and when the whistle blew in the final seven minutes, there was little doubt that he would be able to slot it.

4. Lions feeling the hits

The Lions haven’t been able to dominate against the New Zealand teams and the injuries are starting to mount as well. Stuart Hogg is on his way home after an unfortunate facial injury against the Crusaders. Lock Courtney Lawes was taken off early against the Highlanders after a heavy head knock as well. They’ll be looking forward to a chance to lick their wounds, though that will be ended by what is likely to be another brutal clash with the Maori All Blacks.

5. Kiwi conveyor belt shines through again

Australian rugby fans have seen it for much of the season, but the Highlanders again showed their depth against the Lions. Missing their most high-profile All Blacks, they managed to best a team that brought together the best of four nations. Scary, scary stuff.