Woodward praises defeated Lions

British & Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward saluted the efforts of his players after New Zealand clinched the series with a 48-18 second Test victory in Wellington. [more]

Lions Australia Tour 2013

British & Irish Lions coach Sir Clive Woodward saluted the efforts of his players after New Zealand clinched the series with a 48-18 second Test victory in Wellington.

A week after their Christchurch reverse in the first Test, the Lions played with passion and purpose, but hopes of taking the series into an Auckland decider next Saturday were extinguished.

It was the most number of points ever conceded in a Test match by any Lions team, stretching back 114 years, and their second-heaviest defeat following a 38-6 All Blacks thumping in 1983.

New Zealand, led in virtuoso fashion by fly-half magician Dan Carter, wrapped up the series, but Woodward preferred to highlight a vast improvement by his team.

"There was nothing more we could have done – no-one gave up," said Woodward.

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"They scored at critical times, but we were playing against a very good team here. From the Lions’ point of view, we got so much right, but the score got away from us.

"I don’t think it was a hiding, that is too harsh. I thought the Lions did very well, but the better team won.

"Personally, I believe it has been a successful trip. I’ve lost a lot of games (in his coaching career), yet just because you lose, you haven’t got to be down on yourself. I think from the Lions’ point of view, behind the scenes, the players have been fantastic.

"In four years’ time (South Africa), I look forward to seeing how my successor will handle this. You have to juggle a lot of things, but I have absolutely no regrets the way I have gone about this trip."

Carter scored two tries, booted five penalties and four conversions, giving him 33 points and setting a new All Blacks individual landmark against the Lions.

"This is a very good New Zealand team, with a lot of pace all over the field," added Woodward. "The way they offload is something special.

"Carter is a special player. The try he scored summed him up, and New Zealand are very lucky to have him – he had a great game."

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