Marty Banks keeps his cool as Highlanders inflict second defeat upon the British and Irish Lions

By Thomas Branston

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Highlanders fly-half Marty Banks kept his cool to convert a late penalty which secured a 23-22 victory for the Super Rugby side despite missed chances from Owen Farrell and Elliot Daly.

Scores from Waisake Naholo and Liam Coltman accompanied by penalties from Lima Sopoaga and his replacement Marty Banks were enough to secure victory.

The sides were level at half-time thanks to converted scores from Naholo and Jonathan Joseph with a penalty a piece.

Tommy Seymour and Sam Warburton both crossed the line before Coltman added the Highlanders second score of the game and Banks converted a late penalty to take the win.

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The Highlanders got the game off to an epic start with the first attack of the game, Naholo going close to a score in the corner after good work from Malakai Fekitoa.

The Lions kept them at bay but conceded a penalty, which Sopoaga converted to give the hosts an early lead.

Dan Biggar then took his opportunity to level the score ten minutes later with an easy penalty as the Lions began to get a foothold in the game.

Naholo then beat three Lions defenders to crash over the giving the Highlanders a deserving lead with Sopoaga converting.

However the Lions had other ideas with the ball going wide from a scrum on the touchline, CJ Stander did well to get the ball across to Biggar who dummied his man to get his pass off to Joseph who beat everyone to the line.

Biggar slotted his conversion through to level the scores and it stayed that way at the half-time interval with both sides locking horns on a slick surface under the roof of the Forsyth Barr Stadium.

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Seymour got the second-half off to pulsating start with a try after the wing picked off a Sopoaga kick-pass to run in untouched.

The hosts replied with Sopoaga converting another easy penalty to bring the score to within two points but Warburton crashed over under the posts to stretch the Lions lead once more and Biggar converted.

The Highlanders yet again replied instantly with a scintillating set-piece move which saw a drilled move ending in a powering driving maul which Coltman touched down off the back to score and Banks converted.

Banks then kept his cool to give the Super Rugby outfit a one point lead with a difficult kick to keep his good record going.

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Owen Farrell replaced Biggar and instantly had a chance to regain the lead for the lions but his effort was far from close with is flying well wide of the posts.

Daly then had a huge 60 metre effort drop agonisingly short of the crossbar to deny the Lions a third tour win as the Super Rugby sides level the tour score to 2-2 over all.

The British and Irish Lions next face the Maori All Blacks on Saturday17 June in Rotorua.