wnol.info May 25 2017


Dismissive: Steve Hansen says he knows how Lions will play

May 25 2017, 08:48 | Irvin Gilbert

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Hogg, who was voted 2017 Six Nations Player of the Tournament, will be joined by fellow Glasgow Warriors teammate Tommy Seymour as the only two Scottish representatives selected by Head Coach Warren Gatland.

"If there is a back-row player I have never played with before, after I have played 80 minutes with him and I have absolutely finished my body and you're playing next to each other and you are battered and bruised, when you go through that together, you have a lot more respect for each other then once you can see the work you put in for each other". Gatland said that Murray had seen a neurologist over a neck injury following a setback in training a couple of weeks ago. I guess we need to be prepared for what we normally get and prepare for something different as well. "It's not about picking teams who beat us in Chicago". The captains I have really respected are the ones that play really well and empty the tank. Like "Hunt for the Wilderpeople".

"People would look at that as a bad thing, but I would never take the field against New Zealand and think, "Crikey, I haven't beaten these before", the Cardiff Blues flanker, a veteran of 76 Tests, added.

And Hansen turned the heat on the Lions, saying they face a new type of pressure, one that All Blacks are used to dealing with.

"Facing New Zealand is going to be tough".

Fitzpatrick believe his old All Black understudy Gatland has been "quite clever" with the makeup of his squad which will be led by an inspirational player (Sam Warburton) whom New Zealanders will warm to.

"They'll be expected to win this series, one of the best Lions team for a long, long time". A guy like Finn Russell's been playing extremely well and can't even make the team because they've got [Jonathan] Sexton, [Owen] Farrell and [Dan] Biggar there.

England's players are largely young - Eddie Jones' eye for youth has been important in Gatland's squad, but the team showed its limitations in the Six Nations.

"I would be very foolish to sit here and say I think I was amongst those three or four individuals expecting or nailed on to be part of the tour". That gives an idea of what their expectation is. "We will create our own style and it has to be a balance between power and pace", said Howley.

"It wasn't the leadership and competitiveness - obviously Dylan Hartley has done a great job in terms of that for England - but if we picked Dylan and left out Jamie or Rory or Ken, we'd be asking the same questions". Irish players thus play a key role in this squad, being the only Northern Hemisphere team to defeat them recently; their experience is a valuable attribute.

In a peculiar twist of fate, it was Gatland who opted against renewing Payne's contract during his time coaching at Waikato, before the now Irishman pursued greener pastures in the north.

Gatland was also in charge for the Lions tour to Australia in 2013, where he guided the visitor to a 2-1 series victory.

"He knows his form has got to be good enough to be selected". "That's what makes us pretty excited about the quality of the squad going to New Zealand".

Head coach Warren Gatland and his assistants named a 41-man squad assigned with the unenviable task of beating the back-to-back World Cup winners in their own backyard - a feat that hasn't been achieved since South Africa got one over the All Blacks in Hamilton nearly eight years ago.



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