The following two scrums saw Australian Gardner penalise tighthead prop Cole, with French assistant referee Mathieu Raynal calling for Gardner to look out for the England front-row's "long bind", and with the two penalties the Highlanders were able to score a converted try through hooker Liam Coltman and a successful penalty kick at goal via the boot of replacement Marty Banks that condemned the Lions to a second defeat on their tour of New Zealand.
"The unfortunate thing is we probably shot ourselves in the foot with some turnovers and some penalties towards the end of the game and we have allowed them the opportunity to sneak it from us", said Gatland.
However, the Highlanders were not to be beaten so easily and they got a score after a really impressive rolling maul which the Lions defence will be disappointed with how they dealt with. And I thought in the first half there were one or two scrums where we put them under pressure. At this level that's not acceptable.
I disagree with the interpretation on the first penalty in their 22 but, yes, they've got on top of us.
Just as the Blues had struck late with a 74th minute winning try in Auckland last Wednesday, the Highlanders did not stray from their gameplan to outlast the Lions, although a missed penalty from substitute fly-half Owen Farrell, who had replaced the cramping Dan Biggar only seconds before in the 68th minute, was another example of failing to kill off their rivals.
"There are some key moments to learn from, the big lesson is that New Zealand sides play for 80 minutes".
"It has", said Gatland when asked if the scrum had cost them. And that's what it's about. You can switch off for a fraction of a second and if you do switch off they take advantage of that.
"We didn't nail a few big moments that were pretty important to us".
Banks gives Highlanders thrilling win over Lions
While the Highlanders' backs look lethal, I can not look past the strength of the Lions up front and expect they will control the game and for long periods and, as a result, the scoreboard.
The Lions will fancy their chances up front this evening with an experienced pack named and most eyes will be trained on the form of tour captain Sam Warburton and his performance this evening with the Test matches around the corner.
"There hasn't been a lot of training time for that group with the guys, whereas the Crusaders have had a bit of time together".
Siua Halanukonuka celebrates the win.
"These are the challenges both as a team and individually that we knew we were going to face and it's an exciting opportunity for myself and us as a backline to try to go out and hopefully get the better of them".
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