WELLINGTON, June 3 (Reuters) - Winger Anthony Watson’s 52nd minute try gave the British and Irish Lions the slim advantage they needed as they struggled to a scrappy 13-7 victory over the Provincial Barbarians in the opening match of their tour in Whangarei on Saturday.
Lions flyhalf Johnny Sexton slotted a first half penalty, scrumhalf Greig Laidlaw then stepped up when he went down injured to add a second, and replacement flyhalf Owen Farrell converted Watson’s try.
Barbarians captain Sam Anderson-Heather, who suffered injuries to his knee, ribs and hand, scored the only try for the side selected from New Zealand’s semi-professional provincial competition before he was replaced at halftime.
Flyhalf Bryn Gatland, the son of Lions coach Warren, converted Anderson-Heather’s try and showed he would be more than capable of playing at a higher level should the Auckland Blues need him on Wednesday against the tourists.
Reporting by Greg Stutchbury; Editing by Nick Mulvenney