2005 Lions Tour: Tuesday, June 21Southland 16 Lions 26, InvercargillScorers: Southland: Try: Hale T-Pole; Con: Richard Apanui; Pens: Apanui 3Lions: Tries: Gavin Henson 2; Cons: Ronan O'Gara; Pens: O'Gara 4
Ireland fly-half Ronan O'Gara also booted 16 points but it was a flat, error-strewn display from coach Ian McGeechan's men - who, to a man, were obviously still coming to terms with the disappointment of missing out on the matchday 22 for Saturday's first Test.
Sir Clive Woodward has said that none of the players involved at Invercargill's Rugby Park will be included in his squad for the opener against the All Blacks, but will Henson' man-of-the-match performance force the 2003 World Cup winner's hand?
Henson was in sparkling form, and clearly wanted to send out a message. His delayed pass to Geordan Murphy led to O'Gara's opening penalty after 6 minutes.
Irish wing Denis Hickie then had a hand in Henson's first try as the tourists went 10-0 up after 13 minutes. Hickie link with Cueto brought the Lions within inches of the NPC side's line and recycled ball saw Henson out-step the home defence to score from close range.
Silly errors saw the Lions fail to build on their early lead and Southland gradually played their way back into it. Fly-half Richard Apanui banged over one of three first half penalties for a 10-3 deficit at the break.
Impressive flanker Hale T-Pole crossed for a surprise Southland try only six minutes into the second half, and it was game on. T-Pole's effort, after a close-in catch-and-drive lineout, helped Apanui tie up the game with the conversion.
The immediate introductions of Andrew Sheridan, Tom Shanklin, Chris Cusiter and Gordon Bulloch paid dividends for the tourists however.
Sale Shark Cueto was unfortunate not to secure the Lions' second try on 52 minutes when T-Pole managed to rob the England winger with a one-handed interception.
Two minutes later, the Lions breathed again as Henson barged through the tackle of Faolua Muliani to score under the posts. O'Gara, who laid off the scoring pass following a Martyn Williams drive, added the extras.
The Lions then settled back. Yet they needed the beef of O'Gara's boot to see off the Clarke Dermody-led home side in the end.
The Munster man (61 minutes, 71, 80) edged the penalty kick battle with Apanui (63, 74) in the final quarter.
SOUTHLAND: James Wilson; Mana Harrison, Bryan Milne, Faolua Muliaina, Watisoni Lotawa; Richard Apanui, Jimmy Cowan; Clarke Dermody (Capt), Jason Rutledge, Aaron Dempsey, Hoani Macdonald, Daniel Quate, Hua Tamariki, Hale T-Pole, Paul Miller.
Replacements used: Jeff Wright for Miller (38 mins), Jayden Murch for Dempsey (50), Rees Logan for Tamariki (75), Adam Clarke for Cowan (79); Not used: David Hall, Matt Petre, Pehi Te Whare.
BRITISH & IRISH LIONS:
Replacements used: Andrew Sheridan (Sale/England) for Stevens (half-time), Tom Shanklin (Cardiff Blues/Wales) for Smith (48 mins), Gordon Bulloch (Glasgow/Scotland) for Titterrell, Chris Cusiter (The Borders/Scotland) for Cooper (both 49), Simon Easterby (Llanelli Scarlets/Ireland) for Owen (64), Gordon D'Arcy (Leinster/Ireland) for Murphy (75); Not used: Charlie Hodgson (Sale/England).
HT: Southland 3 Lions 10; Attendance: 17,000Referee: Kelvin Deaker (New Zealand)