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Last Updated: Wednesday, 15 June, 2005, 08:56 GMT 09:56 UK
Wellington 6-23 Lions
Gethin Jenkins scores a try for the Lions before half-time
Wellington: (6) 6
Pens: Gopperth 2
Lions: (13) 23
Tries: Jenkins, Thomas
Cons: Wilkinson 2
Pens: Wilkinson 3
The Lions put their New Zealand tour back on track after defeat to the Maori with a patchy victory over Wellington.

The tourists dominated the first half but had to settle for a 13-6 interval lead via two Jonny Wilkinson penalties and a converted Gethin Jenkins try.

Wilkinson kicked a third penalty on the resumption before moving to centre, Stephen Jones taking over at fly-half.

And Gareth Thomas sealed victory near the end when he touched down his own kick ahead, Wilkinson converting.

After last Saturday's setback, it was a far more encouraging display from the Lions 10 days before the first Test against the All Blacks.

Dwayne Peel and Jenkins all but cemented their Test spots with strong showings, while hooker Shane Byrne improved the line-out and lock Danny Grewcock showed up well.

The Lions coaches also took the chance to see Wilkinson, who missed a couple of tackles in the first half, at inside centre outside Jones for the last half-hour.

The ball was like a bar of soap out there and both sides made a lot of unforced errors
Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll
A lack of precision prevented the tourists turning their advantage into points, despite a more proficient display at the breakdown, where flanker Neil Back improved matters.

They would have been heartened by turning over Wellington ball inside the first 20 seconds, only for Wilkinson, on his first tour outing, to push his drop-goal attempt wide.

Gavin Henson followed suit with a longer-range effort in the sixth minute, after Martin Corry was fortunate to escape censure for a swinging arm at Wellington's Kristian Ormsby.

Ormsby responded by taking out Corry off the ball moments later, allowing Wilkinson to kick the Lions into the lead.

Lions centre Gavin Henson takes on the Wellington defence
Henson was a powerful presence
They started to play with confidence, the busy Thomas bursting onto a Henson pass in midfield as the tourists strung some promising phases together.

But despite dominating, they had to wait until the 24th minute to add to their tally when Julian White forced up Joe McDonnell at a scrum, Wilkinson landing the penalty.

When Neil Back conceded a penalty on the floor, Wellington fly-half Jimmy Gopperth halved the hosts' deficit.

But the Lions continued to control the ball, only for their execution to let them down on several occasions.

Corry blew a golden opportunity when, with four men outside him, he stepped inside and charged for the line, only to be stopped short by Wellington hooker Mahonri Schwalger.

Ben Kay, following up, will want to forget his botched attempt at picking up and diving over.

The Lions kicked a penalty to touch only for Josh Lewsey to knock on Peel's pass, but finally got their reward four minutes before the break.

Peel took a quick line-out take from Grewcock and dummied to pass before bursting through the scattered line-out.

He fed the supporting Corry, who sent Jenkins charging over from 15m, Wilkinson adding the conversion for a 13-3 lead.

Gopperth added a second penalty for Wellington moments before the interval, and the Lions lost their momentum in the second half.

Early half-breaks from Thomas and Jason Robinson saw Wilkinson punish a Wellington infringement with a third penalty.

The All Blacks would have put 50 or 60 points on us
Wellington coach John Plumtree
But the hosts responded well and number eight Thomas Waldrom burst to within inches of the line before being penalised for holding on.

Centre Ma'a Nonu also showed his All Black credentials by leaving a flailing Thomas for dead down the left wing.

The Lions sent on Jones, Shane Horgan, Chris Cusiter and Matt Stevens in a messy period of play around the hour.

They finally added a second try four minutes from time when Thomas stepped inside a defender, kicked ahead and won the chase to the line.

Wellington: Shannon Paku; Lome Fa'atau, Ma'a Nonu, Tane Tu'ipulotu, Roy Kinikinilau; Jimmy Gopperth, Piri Weepu; Joe McDonnell (captain), Mahonri Schwalger, Tim Fairbrother; Luke Andrews, Ross Filipo, Kristian Ormsby, Ben Herring, Thomas Waldrom.
Replacements: Kane Thompson (for Herring, 40), Luke Mahoney (for Schwalger, 58), Cory Jane (for Kinikinilau, 68), Justin Purdie (for Filipo, 71), Riki Flutey (for Weepu, 74).
Not used: John Schwalger, Tamati Ellison,

British & Irish Lions: J Lewsey; J Robinson, B O'Driscoll (capt), G Henson, G Thomas; J Wilkinson, D Peel; G Jenkins, S Byrne, J White; D Grewcock, B Kay; S Easterby, N Back, M Corry.
Replacements: S Jones (for Henson, 62), S Horgan (for Lewsey, 68), M Stevens (for White, 73), C Cusiter (for Peel, 73).
Not used: G Bulloch, P O'Connell, R Hill.

Referee: Paul Honiss (New Zealand).

Interview: Lions coach Ian McGeechan

Interview: Lions captain Brian O'Driscoll

Interview: Lions prop Gethin Jenkins

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Lions player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ
All Blacks player profiles
25 May 05 |  Lions in NZ


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