Warren Gatland: We didn't nail the "big moments" against the Highlanders

The British and Lions head coach laments a second defeat of the Tour of New Zealand on Tuesday morning

British and Irish Lions, Warren Gatland

Image: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland says his side failed to deliver in the "big moments" as they slipped to their second defeat of their Tour of New Zealand on Tuesday.

The Lions were beaten 23-22 by the Highlanders after coughing up a late penalty. Despite having held a nine-point lead at one stage in the second half, Gatland said his side were unable to build further on their good play.

"We didn't a nail a few big moments that were important to us," he told Sky Sports. "I was reasonably comfortable at 22-13 to control the game, but we let them back into it.

"That's disappointing. The penalty count was reasonably heavy against, that's a concern. To be in front and to slip is disappointing. We had a couple of moments and a couple of chances in the game, but we didn't take them."

Gatland previously bemoaned the number of penalties his side gave away during their loss to the Blues last week and said his side had fallen victim to a high error count once again. 

"We [gave away] a couple of scrum penalties that were disappointing. We defended well, cleared our line and from the next line-out, we gave away a soft penalty. That allowed them to put us under pressure and score from that. 

"That's disappointing, we know we have to be better in those moments. 

"We know in future we can't compound pressure on ourselves when we get ourselves out of a difficult situation. It's about nailing those big moments and being more clinical about that."

Asked why his side had given away so much of the ball, Gatland said: "Ground conditions and stuff. We were a little bit inaccurate at times. We tried to play a lot of rugby, but they kicked the ball and put us under a lot of pressure."

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland before the tour match at Forsyth Barr Stadium, Dunedin. Image: David Davies/PA Wire/PA Images