British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland praised his side’s dominance in and believes the performance stands the Lions in good stead ahead of their opening Test against New Zealand.
Leigh Halfpenny was the standout performer, converting six penalties and an impressive 20-points to help secure a third victory from five games so far this tour, as the visiting forwards outplayed their counterparts in Rotorua.
The Lions were in command against the hosts and Gatland’s men found themselves 12 points ahead just eight minutes after the interval, in a lead the Maori were unable to recover from.
Delighted with his team’s performance, Gatland told : “If you look at territory and position we dominated things.
“We had to tidy up a few things at half-time but, apart from a couple of stupid penalties in the first half, I thought we played some good rugby.
“We managed the game really well and we squeezed the life out of them basically.”
The 53-year-old said his players were smart with their approach both defensively and in attack.
“We’ve been guilty in other games of just playing too much around the 10-metre line, putting ourselves under a bit of pressure, but we got some good go-forward ball, created some good opportunities and defended well,” he added.
“They never really put us under any real pressure, even the try they scored. We’re really pleased with our performance.
“Up front the scrum was good and the line-out in the game was excellent.”
“What’s so strong about New Zealand rugby is that these guys play at that level week in, week out, and we’re benefiting from that experience against the teams and the quality of the sides we’re playing.
“Hopefully that sets us up nicely for the Test next week. By the looks of it, it’s going to be a cracking series.”
When quizzed about his thoughts on the team to face the All Blacks in next weekend’s first Test, Gatland admitted he would make his decisions after Tuesday’s match against the Chiefs in Hamilton and is unsure of how many names he already had in his starting XI for next Saturday’s clash.
“I don’t know yet, we’ve got to get through Tuesday yet. That’s another big challenge for us. And then [we can] start thinking about next Saturday.”