Lions 2013: Coach Warren Gatland wants 'smarter' play

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Lions Tour: Warren Gatland blames 'critical turnovers'

Coach Warren Gatland says the Lions need to be 'smarter' if they are to beat Australia in the third Test and win a first series for 16 years.

The tourists were in sight of a 2-0 series victory before Adam Ashley-Cooper scored a late converted try as the Wallabies won 16-15 in Melbourne.

"It's just about game management," said New Zealander Gatland. "That's what Test match rugby is about.

"We weren't smart enough and didn't look after the ball well enough."

The Lions were 15-9 ahead with five minutes left after five Leigh Halfpenny penalties to three from Australia's Christian Leali'ifano.

But Ashley-Cooper's late try was the culmination of extensive Australian pressure and Leali'ifano's conversion put the Wallabies in front. Halfpenny had a last-gasp chance to snatch the win but his penalty kick from the halfway line fell short.

"They dominated the turnover in the second half and we didn't control our territory well," added Gatland. "That put us under pressure. We were pretty comfortable at half-time but they never give up and it went their way. But it goes to show how close and tight the two teams are."

Gatland said of Halfpenny's late miss: "I have seen him kick them from there before. He just didn't strike that one well enough. It was a chance to be a hero at that moment, but unfortunately he hasn't hit it quite as well as he is capable of.

"He is such a professional, he realised the significance of that kick, and he is disappointed to miss it."

Lions captain Sam Warburton, who limped off near the end of the absorbing encounter, said his side were down but insists they will regroup for next Saturday's decider in Sydney.

"We're going through what Australia went through last week," said Warburton, referring to Australian Kurtley Beale's slip while taking the last kick of the first Test, which the Lions won 23-21.

"It's going to be won by a whisker next week and I hope it's us. Australia got hold of us when they got territory in our 22 and we found it difficult to get out. It's much easier said than done. Territory is everything in games like this. Australia came away with points and that's everything."

Australia coach Robbie Deans believes the series going down to a deciding Test is "great for the game as a whole".

And he praised the composure of Leali'ifano, who held his nerve to land four kicks out of four, including the match-winning conversion.

"To deal with that sort of pressure as calmly as he did, he has clearly got a big future," Deans said.

Wallabies captain James Horwill, who faces another disciplinary hearing after initially being cleared of stamping or trampling on Lions lock Alun Wyn Jones, admitted he feared the worst when Halfpenny lined up his last-gasp kick.

"I was hoping he would miss but he has hardly missed a kick all tour," said Horwill, who will learn on Monday if he can play in the decider. "Your pulse rate certainly goes up.

"It was just disappointing we let it get to that stage where we allowed them to have a shot, but they did well to work their way into penalty range.

"There is a bit of relief and a lot of jubilation. The boys worked hard for that. We didn't execute as well as we could have and it wasn't the prettiest game of rugby.

"But we found a way to win, and that is the most important part."

Irish centre Brian O'Driscoll remains confident he can add a Lions series triumph to the host of domestic and international honours he has already won in a glittering career.

"We're very disappointed, we were six points clear - that's a horrible margin as after a converted try you're behind," said the 34-year-old.

"I had one loose kick that gave them a counter-attack option, but we weren't able to close it out. But it's not over, we've got a massive week to get ourselves ready for Sydney next Saturday. The momentum is with them, but we won't let that faze us. We've beaten them once."

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