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ONE win and one defeat in your first two matches are not the kind of start any team would like to go through and for the British and Irish Lions now in New Zealand, Saturday’s game in Christchurch against the Crusaders could be the defining moment.
For the Lions, this is a chance to get their tour on track after barely squeaking a win over the New Zealand Provincial Barbarians, before losing to the Blues.
Playing Super Rugby sides is going to be great preparation for the Test matches for us.
“We’ve spoken about that and the potential of that happening but luckily we’ve picked some good leaders in this tour squad”, Rowntree said.
“The Blues game showed us they took some strides pretty quickly”.
Laumape, 24, is a bullocking centre and former NRL player.
North said he was carrying a “bump” when he arrived in New Zealand, but admits it was not easy watching from the sidelines.
The world class No.8 hasn’t played since breaking his thumb against the Cheetahs in Bloemfontein on April 29, having spent the first half of the Crusaders’ Super Rugby campaign recovering from wrist surgery.
This tour is still in its early stages, but, with just eight games left, victory over the Crusaders – allied to Gatland remembering how to properly wind up the opposition – could turn the whole trip around.
“It’s great to get all the support from the fans, but it’s not just me, the whole squad is here to do a job and sometimes you have to switch on to that”.
Not to say that the Lions were entirely blameless but in those days when the touch-judges, as the assistant referees were called then, were not required to intervene and inform the referee of any indiscretion he may have missed, and certainly when there was no TMO to refer to, players could get away with murder.
“Going into the Test series, it will be good for us to get some dominance there”. I don’t think that was ever in consideration. “I think it’s unique and something that’s worth preserving”.
“(But) you’ll have to ask Warren what he wants to do next”. At some point you have got to start winning or people are going to be saying, “This isn’t working”.
Milner-Skudder and McKenzie, however, have been named in a strong Maori All Blacks squad to face the Lions in Rotorua on June 17.
The Test series is two weeks away, but the brutally hard task that awaits the tourists became clearer than ever when Hansen unveiled his hand.
Although he has injury concerns of his own over a number of senior men, Hansen could still name a formidable squad for the warm-up game against Samoa on this day week and for the series itself.