Lions coach Gatland rails at New Zealand 'blocking'

Postado Junho 20, 2017

Former New Zealand captain Colin Meads believes the British and Irish Lions' odds of winning the first Test have shortened dramatically after their emphatic 32-10 win over the Maori All Blacks on Saturday. "Warren's made it no secret this was his plan all along".

Prop Tomas Francis, hooker Kristian Dacey, second row Cory Hill and scrum half Gareth Davies were all added to the squad as cover for the Lions' next match against Waikato Chiefs on Tuesday.

As of Saturday, the Lions are playing three tour games plus three Tests over the next three weeks.

All Blacks coach Steve Hansen had said on Thursday that he suspected Gatland was about to expand his squad in order to give him the opportunity to run two separate teams for the crunch end of the tour.

Gatland was accused of devaluing the shirt in deeming England's tourists in Argentina and Ireland's in Japan to require too much travel time to join the touring party.

Earlier Jones told the BBC: "The Lions is a prestigious team - when you become a Lion, you're remembered for life".

JONATHAN DAVIES and Ben Te'o made great breaks against the Maoris but the Lions' support play must improve and be clinical against the All Blacks in the first Test.

The rain helped the Lions, with Conor Murray and Johnny Sexton pulling the strings at half-back, but Maori indiscipline paved the way for a vintage night from 2013 Lions goal-kicking hero Leigh Halfpenny, who kicked seven from seven, six of them penalties.

Halfpenny converted and took his record from the tee on the evening to seven out of seven as the Lions showed plenty of encouraging signs that they can challenge the world champion.

Gatland was under increasing pressure from Lions critics after his team stumbled to two wins and two losses in its first four matches, most recently a 23-22 loss to the under-strength Highlanders in Dunedin.

"It was pretty good".

"Not anything that is a worry for us but [maybe] he is a little bit more anxious than he normally is, saying these comments about us, things he knows about or doesn't know about, that is normally a sign of a man that is a little bit anxious".

But he said such shepherding was often hard to spot and warned "we'll keep raising it".

I thought we played well together but it's up to the coaches now.

The second half began as the first half ended as Halfpenny kept up his marvellous display from the tee to stretch his side's lead to five points.

Gatland said he would wait until after the Lions' final warm-up against the Chiefs on Tuesday before deciding his team for next week's opening Test in Auckland.

Peter O'Mahony, who captained the side against the Maori All Blacks, did his chances no harm with an excellent performance in the back row alongside Toby Faletau and Sean O'Brien, meaning tour captain Sam Warburton can no longer be regarded as an automatic starter in Auckland. Substitutes: H Elliot, A Ross, A Moli, L Messam, M Karpik, J Taumateine, L Laulala, C Tiatia.