Sports

Lions can leave a legacy - Gatland

Lions can leave a legacy - Gatland”

"By then I had a lot of experience in different things that had shaped me as the person I am today", said the 58-year-old who joined the police when he was 30.

The Lions' tour of New Zealand, for the first time since 2005, has proved to be an wonderful series, primarily because Warren Gatland's team are better than everybody thought they would be.

Hansen, who has been All Blacks head coach since 2012, also criticised the usage of non-specialist assistant referees in rugby, and claimed referees are becoming too influential in matches at the top level.

The Wales flanker, who captained the Lions to a series victory over Australia in 2013, is well aware of the importance of Saturday's encounter. The Lions almost squandered their numerical advantage‚ but rallied with two late tries to secure a famous victory. The Lions have proven they can go out and score tries against the All Blacks and they've proven as well that they can stop the All Blacks for scoring tries, which doesn't regularly happen. Aaron Smith, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. In fact‚ the Lions squandered three gilt-edged try-scoring chances in the first Test and paid the price. The Lions conceded 13 against the Lions, Barrett had 10 shots at goal and converted seven of them.

The challenge now for New Zealand is to recover quickly from a defeat, and Beauden Barrett said: "It is a position (losing a game) that none of us sort of hope to be in as an All Black".

But there was one All Blacks name that Gatland was willing to talk about, and that involved the return of the prolific wing, Julian Savea, whose worldwide record of 46 tries in 53 Tests goes before him.

"Obviously, we are still hurt from last weekend, and that can be used as fuel".

Having played against the Lions in 1997 for my province, the Free State Cheetahs, I can attest to the fact that the emotion and passion is higher than ever.

While the changes were out of necessity and something British media have said could be a weakness for the Lions to exploit, Hansen has not been afraid in the past of trusting his gut and giving youngsters the message they should simply impose themselves on the game on Saturday. Beauden Barrett's lovely scoop to recover a ball with Conor Murray breathing down his neck in the first half was pure class.

His reputation preceded him on this tour and it's fair to say that once the team for the first test was selected, O'Brien was identified as one of the Lions' key assets.

Tickets for the upcoming Test against New Zealand at BT Murrayfield sold out in record time, only the second time in history the SRU have sold out an Autumn worldwide.

"They have an opportunity to win a legacy".

Young wing Rieko Ioane has been ill this week and Waisake Naholo has been rested, despite being cleared for concussion, so Julian Savea is reinstated to the left wing while Israel Dagg moves to the right flank, from full-back. "You're as good as your next game, not your previous, so I'll focus on the next one".

However, he added that he thinks the All Blacks are likely to edge Saturday's showdown. It now comes down to this Saturday - the victor takes all - and that'll create its own unique pressures and it's going to be interesting to see how both sides cope with it.

He's worth a small investment at 7/2 to cross anytime.



Like this

Latest




Recommended