Warren Gatland says the Lions received a 'reality check', delivered by the ACT Brumbies with their first Test against Australia coming Saturday.
British & Irish Lions: ACT Brumbies spring a surprise as Australia waits
ACT Brumbies Try: Kuridrani; Pens: Mogg 3
Lions Pens: Farrell 2, Hogg 2
Man of the match Matt Toomua (ACT Brumbies)
CANBERRA // Warren Gatland said the British & Irish Lions had been given "a reality check" after they lost their unbeaten Australia tour record on Tuesday.
The Lions went down 14-12 to ACT Brumbies at Canberra Stadium, and there could be few complaints from a team outgunned upfront for an hour before head coach Gatland summoned reinforcements from the bench.
The injury-hit Lions, who dominated the first five games on their 2013 tour, were behind on the scoreboard from the fifth minute against the Super Rugby-leading Brumbies after centre Tevita Kuridrani burst through three tackles to score. It was the only try of the match, with Jess Mogg landing three penalties for the Brumbies and Stuart Hogg and Owen Farrell each kicking two penalties for the Lions.
It was the Lions' first defeat against an Australian provincial team since Queensland beat them 42 years ago.
"We didn't have the urgency and intensity that we needed in the first half. We are disappointed," said Gatland, whose squad had won five games in succession.
"All credit to the Brumbies. They played well, they frustrated us and it was a tough day at the office.
"It's a part of being on tour, regrouping. You have a bit of a knock, you take your disappointment and it is how you respond to it. A lot of us have been through it in the past - you just get back on the horse.
The setback came just four days before the first Test against Australia in Brisbane, although Gatland's likely Test team is unlikely to contain any of the starting XV from yesterday's defeat.
"There are a lot of people disappointed," said Gatland. "It wasn't a great game of rugby. The Brumbies didn't play any rugby. We gave them a fairly soft try early on in the game, and then it was a battle of the breakdown for the next 75 minutes."
Rory Best, the Ireland hooker made captain for the game, gave a brutally honest assessment of where it had gone wrong.
"We came here very confident we could win," he said. "We knew it wasn't going to an easy task. We talked about not just matching the physicality but beating their physicality, and we didn't even match it. The breakdown, they really smashed us there, and that is very disappointing."
The Brumbies' coach Jake White added: "It is a massive result ... I have no doubt the boys in the Wallaby camp will say it [beating the Lions] is doable now.
"The first Test is going to be massive. There is massive psychological warfare - it's do or die on Saturday."
Barbarians 59-8 Lions
Western Force 17-69 Lions
Queensland Reds 12-22 Lions
Combined 0-64 Lions
NSW Waratahs 17-47 Lions
ACT Brumbies 14-12 Lions
Saturday v Australia
June 25 v Melbourne Rebels
June 29 v Australia
July 6 v Australia
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