Lunedi, 27 Mag, 2019

Ulster trio included in British Lions starting team to face Highlanders

Ulster trio included in British Lions starting team to face Highlanders Ulster trio included in British Lions starting team to face Highlanders
Pammachio Corsino | 25 Giugno, 2017, 15:28

Sam Warburton has shaken off his ankle problem to captain the Lions in Tuesday's Highlanders clash in Dunedin, while Jared Payne is fit to start at full-back as boss Gatland assesses his options at 15 given Hogg's injury doubt. These Lions are no pussycats. I definitely admit that and I knew that coming into the tour.

"We as players have to have thick skins and we are all experienced players as well so we are used to dealing with that". Through adversity, has this squad come together?

Highlanders coach Scott McLeod, who is filling in for head coach Tony Brown while he is on duty with the Japan Test side, said the Lions win over the Crusaders had told them plenty ahead of the Highlanders game.

"You have to impose yourself on these teams; I'm not saying it's the go-to, but it's certainly part of what we're trying to do".

"We are creating opportunities we just need to finish off those chances", Gatland, the former All Blacks hooker, added.

Warren Gatland has had a chance to look at all 41 members of his British and Irish Lions squad with three matches of the tour of New Zealand completed.

Joseph is desperate to strike back to his best today and continues: "There are people who are playing very well and that's what these games are for; to put your best foot forward". And that's been challenging. It's been challenging to all of us.

"But we are ready to get battle-hardened for a test match, we are still ramping it up in training because we have to be up to breakneck speed for the first test".

"I don't think we got shoved off a ball, in terms of counter rucking, all night".


But after downing the previously unbeaten Crusaders at AMI Stadium in Christchurch thanks to four Owen Farrell penalties, Gatland says his team are back with a bang.

The Crusaders' front five will form the majority of New Zealand's tight forwards for the three-Test series that starts on June 24.

From the despondency of the Blues defeat to the elation of the Crusaders victory, a rollercoaster of emotion has been enjoyed and endured by the Lions and their fans this past week. They have scored two tries in three games.

Stuart Hogg remains the Lions' main injury concern pending an examination by a specialist into the facial injury he suffered as a result of a collision with Conor Murray 20 minutes into last Saturday's meeting with the Crusaders.

The first 30 minutes of the second half were scoreless until Farrell landed a fourth penalty with 10 minutes to play. "We haven't seen a lot of turnovers so far".

Murray's tactical kicking not only pegged back the Crusaders but, allied with alert chasers who cut down the space for the catcher and also blocked off room on the outside, gave them few outs.

'I don't think it's a pressure situation, it's a group that needs to keep on building and the message to the boys this morning about Tuesday is we're building our plan, the things that we do behind the scenes as well as what we do on the pitch. "We really got off the line, no matter where we were on the field", Farrell said of his side's defensive effort.

"It's always nice to win and the manor that we did is great".

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