All that remains on this tour is to see if Woodward sees sense and at least gives Henson an opportunity to show off his undoubted talent. Unfortunately for the Lions, Henson's performance and another solid showing from Martyn Williams and replacement Tom Shanklin, who injected a little life into the game with his purposeful running, there was precious little to enthuse over. From start to finish it was tame to say the least with Southland giving as good as they got.
The Lions were on the back foot from the first minute when they conceded two penalties at the breakdown. From the second, awarded for Matt Stevens not rolling away; Richard Apanui dragged his kick wide. O'Gara had his first opportunity four minutes later after Southland were penalised for a similar offence on their own XXII. The Irish outside-half duly obliged with the kick and from that juncture, the Lions were always in front.
Henson's first real touch of the ball saw him beat two players with relative ease before setting up the Lions first real attack. His second was to feature in a sweeping move going left and his third was to step inside and touch down for the Lions' first try which O'Gara converted.
Apanui's first successful strike, after seventeen minutes, cut the deficit to seven, but having exposed the Stags once, the Lions were clearly hungry for more. Unfortunately, the quality that Henson had shown in crossing for his try was sadly lacking elsewhere and decent chances went begging. O'Gara pushed a 26th minute penalty wide; Henson again ignored as a kicker, and after that, the Lions returned to their sloppy ways as the game lost its shape and momentum.
Watisoni Lotawa did have one break that caused some concern in the Lions' back division, but it took until injury time in the first half before either side threatened once again. On that occasion, Southland were awarded a penalty, but Apanui dragged his effort wide.
Southland may have finished near the foot of the National Provincial Championship this season, but their desire to avoid another ignominious defeat was clearly evident as the second half began the hosts on the front foot. And within five minutes of the restart Southland were level. A line-out in the left corner ended up in the grateful hands of openside flanker Hale T-Pole who charged over for Apanui to convert.
So, once again, it was down to Henson to rescue the situation. Having kicked a penalty to touch, the Lions drove to the line through Martyn Williams and when O'Gara delivered to Henson, the Welshman barged his way over. O'Gara converted and added a penalty on sixty-five minutes and as far as the result was concerned that was that.
Apanui added his second penalty, ten minutes from time, after Henson was penalised for a shoulder charge, but O'Gara's third restored his side's ten point advantage with eight minutes remaining. Apanui followed suit once more as the game moved towards full time, but it was O'Gara had the final say with his fourth and final kick of the game.
C Dermody (capt)
P Miller (J Wright 39mins)
British & Irish Lions
O Smith (T Shanklin 50mins)
G Cooper (C Cusiter 51mins)
M Stevens (A Sheridan 40mins)
A Titterell (G Bulloch 51mins)
M Owen (capt. S Easterby 70mins)
British & Irish Lions 26 Southland 16
Penalties: Apanui (3)
Tries: Henson (2)
Conversions: O'Gara (2)
Penalties: O'Gara (4)
Referee: K Deaker (New Zealand)