16th November 2019, 10:49 | great_britain

Lions beaten in Papua New Guinea

Lions beaten in Papua New Guinea

Great Britain’s tour of the southern hemisphere came to a disappointing end when they were condemned to a 28-10 defeat by Papua New Guinea in Port Moresby on Saturday.

The Lions raced into an early 10-0 lead but conceded a try on the stroke of half-time to give the Kumuls a sniff, before conceding 22 second-half points without reply.

Great Britain struggled to cope with the humidity of Port Moresby and the physical challenge of the hosts as they succumbed to only a second defeat by Papua New Guinea.

The Lions got off to the worst possible start, losing captain James Graham with a head knock in the very first tackle, which meant an early introduction for Luke Thompson and one less option on the bench.

But it was a promising opening quarter from the tourists, with Blake Austin involved in most of the early play and it was the Warrington stand-off who opened the scoring after 14 minutes, taking Jake Connor’s pass to dive over at the corner.

It looked to be plain sailing for Bennett’s men when hooker Josh Hodgson squeezed over for a second try after 21 minutes and Gareth Widdop added the conversion to extend their lead to 10-0.

The scores subdued the passionate capacity crowd at the national stadium but the Kumuls provided a hint of their threat when winger Edene Gebbie went close and they struck in stoppage time when substitute Edwin Ipape scored a breakaway try that gave PNG some hope.

Kyle Laybutt’s conversion cut Britain’s lead to just four points and the home side hit the front early in the second half when scrum-half Watson Boas won the race to touch down a grubber kick from Gebbie. Captain Rhyse Martin added the goal.

It got worse for the Lions five minutes later when centre Justin Olam touched down Laybutt’s kick on the last tackle and Martin’s goal made it 18-10.

And there was no way back for Britain when Boas re-gathered his own kick to send full-back Alex Johnston over for his side’s fourth try after 56 minutes.

A humbling afternoon was then complete when second-rower Nixon Putt pounced on a rare error from full-back Jonny Lomax to grab his side’s fifth try after 65 minutes and Martin kicked his third goal.