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Last Updated: Saturday, 11 June, 2005, 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK
Woodward stays calm after defeat
Sir Clive Woodward
British & Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward insists he will not panic after his side lost for the first time on their 2005 tour of New Zealand.

The tourists struggled to impose themselves on the New Zealand Maori, who dominated the tackle area and prevented the Lions from playing.

"The better team won," said Woodward after the 19-13 loss.

"But we have to learn the right lessons and not overreact. It is a blip but it is not a major setback."

Woodward acknowledged that there is plenty of work to do if the Lions are to win the Test series which starts on 25 June.

"The contact area was a real war zone and we just seemed to lose out," he added.

"Defensively, I thought we were pretty heroic in the end but fly-half Stephen Jones was under so much pressure and couldn't get us out of our half.

It was just relentless pressure and we ground them down field
NZ Maori captain Jono Gibbes

"It is always going to be difficult when you can't get out of your own half. There is a lot for us to work on.

"If we are brutally honest, we didn't deserve to win the game, but we had a chance to win, which shows huge character.

"In the cold light of day we need to see how we played technically and tactically, this is going to be the make or break of this tour.

"Coming to this country was never going to be easy, the history books show that.

"We will be judged on what happens in the Tests and this was a bit of a reality check for us.

"It will be a big side out on Wednesday, and we've got to accept the disappointment, learn the right lessons and move on very strongly.

"I believe we have the personnel to do something that not many people have done in the past."

Lions skipper Brian O'Driscoll, who gave his side hope with a well-worked second-half try, admitted that the NZ Maori fully deserved the win.

"We're very disappointed. Sitting in the dressing room and looking back we feel that we weren't worthy of winning the game," he said.

"They had all the possession and it's difficult to score from your own half.

"We didn't play any of the rugby in their third. The majority of their rugby was played in our half. You can't play rugby in those areas and expect to win.

"We've got to stay really tight - there's going to be all sorts of comments in the press - and the Wednesday side have to stand up and show what we're really worth.

"It's not the end of the world in that it's better losing now than in two weeks."

Fly-half Stephen Jones, sporting stitches in a cut below his eye, said the Lions struggled to cope with the physicality of the game.

Stephen Jones
Leon MacDonald and Stephen Jones come together in Hamilton

"We will look at the video, do our analysis and pick up on our weaknesses. We didn't get through the phases and know we can play better than that," he said.

"We were particularly disappointed with our ball retention, the contact area was ferocious. Had we got through our phases, we might have created a few more opportunities - but we didn't."

Irishman Paul O'Connell agreed with Jones, saying: "Their aggression and their work at the breakdown was sharper than ours. That is a big lesson for us, a big wake-up call.

"There are lessons to be learned at the breakdown, line-out and scrum. There were a lot of good things in the line-out, but a lot of bad things as well.

"I don't think that will happen again on this tour."

Interview: British and Irish Lions coach Clive Woodward

Interview: Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll

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