Jetlagged British and Irish Lions will improve after narrow opening win - Gatland

Stuart Hogg attacks for the Lions
It was a difficult start to the tour for the Lions who had been expected to put away hosts with some ease

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland says jetlag was a factor in his side's lethargic display against the Provincial Barbarians.

After only arriving in New Zealand on Wednesday, the Lions laboured to a 13-7 victory in Whangarei.

"We are still recovering from the travel," Gatland said. "A number of players still haven't got into regular sleep patterns.

"It was a tough hit-out for us. Some positives and lots to work on too."

The Lions trailed 7-3 at half-time, and relied on an Anthony Watson try to seal the victory.

"The most important thing was the result and getting the tour off to a good start," the Kiwi added.

"If we were a bit more clinical and finished our opportunities then the game is relatively comfortable.

"We will improve from tonight's performance, definitely."

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First game a tough test for the Lions - Gatland

Gatland will select an entirely new starting XV for Wednesday's fixture against the Blues, who will field the likes of All Blacks centre Sonny Bill Williams.

By then he will hope his players will have eased into regular sleeping patterns.

"The ideal scenario would be to have a week in New Zealand before the first game," he continued.

"We knew it was going to be difficult in terms of adjusting and preparation.

"Some players have recovered, but a number of the players and staff are seeing the doctor to try and get a sleeping pill to try and get some sleep.

"[Defence coach] Andy Farrell went to the doctor last night to get a sleeping pill, went to bed at 11 or 12 o'clock and was up at 4 o'clock this morning in the team-room, he wasn't able to sleep.

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Iain Henderson made his British and Irish Lions debut against the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians

"Hopefully in the next few games everyone will be able to get into a cycle which will help us in terms of feeling fresh and acclimatised."

One of the few impressive Lions players was Wales back rower Taulupe Faletau, who looks set to start the Test series in number eight in the absence of the injured Billy Vunipola.

"I thought Faletau was absolutely outstanding, and with Vunipola out he becomes the most important player on the tour for me," said former Lions flanker Martyn Williams, who toured in 2001, 2005 and 2009.

Williams added on BBC 5 live: "The Lions will dust themselves down and look at the positives - it's a win.

"But the next two games are absolutely crucial in how this tour will pan out."

What was the Kiwi view?

Gregor Paul in the New Zealand Herald:"The Lions got their heavily predicted opening-game victory but it was one that saw them reach unimaginable levels of mediocrity."

Phil Gifford for Rugby Heaven: "In blunt terms, the Lions looked incompetent. To be down 7-3 at half-time, and not take the lead until the 56th minute, was a disgrace to the jersey."

Mark Reason for Rugby Heaven: "The Lions bench may have finally got them over the line, but not a soul in the crowd was fooled."

'First game is often forgettable'

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