Lions suffer loss to Highlanders in game four of New Zealand tour

• Highlanders 23-22 British & Irish Lions

At least the British & Irish Lions now know what their first-choice side looks like. A second midweek defeat advanced few individual claims for the first Test on Saturday week and the Lions once again contrived to lose a game they should have won from 22-13 up with 20 minutes left. If you leave the back door ajar in these parts, the chances are someone will make you pay.

A depleted Highlanders team, as the Blues did last week, also underlined the uncomfortable truth this Lions squad are splitting into halves: those who are rising to the challenge of playing in the toughest of rugby destinations and those whose skills and pace are being found out. That does not mean the Test XV cannot still make life awkward for the All Blacks but, as Warren Gatland acknowledged, this was a step backwards at a psychologically important point of the tour.

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