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BBC rugby union correspondent Ian Robertson
"It was all very disappointing stuff by the Lions forwards"
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Lions coach Graham Henry
"We've got no excuses"
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Forward Lawrence Dallaglio
"The basics let us down"
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banner Tuesday, 19 June, 2001, 12:21 GMT 13:21 UK
Lions humbled by Australia A
Down and out: The Lions were outclassed in Gosford
Down and out: The Lions were outclassed in Gosford
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Australia A 28-25 Lions

The Lions expected to receive their toughest test of the tour so far in Gosford and Australia A did not disappoint.

In a match described as the unofficial fourth Test the Lions slipped to their first defeat against a side who, on the balance of play, deserved to walk off victorious.

Mike Catt also left the field with a recurrence of his calf problem, which could rule him out of the remainder of the tour.

The tourists put on a spirited challenge late in the second half to prove that they remain a force to be reckoned with.

  Match facts
Australia A: Staniforth
Lions: Taylor, Perry, Robinson
Australia A: Edmonds
Lions: Dawson (2)
Australia A: Edmonds (7)
Lions: Jenkins (2)
But the match had been won in the opening period, thanks to some superb line-out play from Tom Bowman, who left them devoid of possession.

The Lions' defence was subjected to a stringent test in the first half and the fact that they went into the break only 15-6 down was testimony itself to an impressive roving backline.

All of the first half points came from the boot with Manuel Edmonds finding the centre of the posts five times.

Jenkins struggles

The Lions, on the other hand, barely got out of their own half in the early stages and Neil Jenkins missed an opportunity to claim the first points when his penalty hit the upright.

Two minutes later the Welshman made no mistake, however, but the Australian pressure continued.

Austin Healey struggled for possession
Austin Healey struggled for possession
Having turned down an earlier opportunity to kick for goal, Edmonds changed his plan to quickly level the scores.

Minutes later, he made it 6-3, only for Jenkins to reply after a surging run from Scott Quinnell had forced Australia to kill the ball.

But the hosts were dominating from the restarts, denying scrum half Austin Healey and the Lions any sort of possession.

A poor pass from Will Greenwood put the tourists under unnecessary pressure and after Dallaglio was penalised, Edmonds put his side ahead for the first time.

He added a further six points before half time as the Lions struggled to get into the game.

Lions stir

After the break, Australia A continued their surge when, ten minutes into the second period, Bond cut inside Ben Cohen to release Scott Staniforth and he crossed the Lions line for the first try.

Edmonds converted as Henry sent on Matt Dawson and immediately the change paid dividends.

Jason Robinson's late try was not enough
Jason Robinson's late try was not enough
Dawson replaced Healey at scrum-half, with the Leicester maestro moving to fly half in place of the below-par Jenkins.

Seconds later, Dawson showed his class with a quick tap penalty to present Mark Taylor with a try.

Edmonds added two further penalties, the second after Dallaglio was sin-binned for playing the ball on the ground.

But the Lions were given hope by another try that again featured the impressive Swansea centre.

Taylor collected Healey's long pass before committing the Australian defence and sending Matt Perry over to make it 28-18.

Jason Robinson then added another five points to give the Lions late hope but despite Dawson's conversion the Lions simply ran out of time.

Australia A: Graham, Bartholomeusz, Bond, Grey, Staniforth, Edmonds, Whitaker, Blades, Cannon, Moore, Bowman, Harrison, Lyons, Waugh, Williams.
Replacements: Payne, Huxley, Holbeck, Murphy, Noriega, Ryan, West.

Lions: Perry, Cohen, Greenwood, Catt, Robinson, Jenkins, Healey, Leonard, McBryde, Young, Murray, O'Kelly, Dallaglio, Williams, Quinnell.
Replacements: Morris, Bulloch, Davidson, Charvis, Dawson, O'Gara, Taylor.

Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand)

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