Warren Gatland has accused Super Rugby teams of illegal scrummaging following the Lions’ victory over the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday night.
Irish pair Sean O’Brien and Peter O’Mahony grabbed their chance with gusto in the try-less win over the Crusaders, with openside flanker O’Brien mounting a strong case to wear No.7 in the first Test in Auckland on June 24.
“I’m just desperate to get some minutes under my belt”.
“I think it’s a bit harsh for him to say he’s third choice from his point of view”, said Farrell of Biggar’s candid assessment of his own Lions status.
“I definitely need more games”, said Warburton, who had beaten a knee injury to make the Lions tour in the first place.
Biggar is enjoying the competition with Farrell and Sexton, and the trio exchange notes on all things fly-half as they discuss game plans and the coming days on tour.
“I thought our game management was outstanding against a very good side”, Farrell said on Monday following a final training run under the roof at the Forsyth Barr Stadium. “The coaches are going to start putting their Test team together pretty soon”.
But Warburton has been passed fit to face the Highlanders in Dunedin.
“Just because we won against the Crusaders doesn’t take the pressure off”.
Warburton is far from indispensable, but he is also the apple of Gatland’s eye and the head coach will be desperate for him to be available.
But Gatland rejected those suggestions, emphasizing the Lions’ ability to shut down a team that had averaged five tries per game in Super Rugby this season. “But there are three Tests to get selected for, so it’s not the be all and end all with the first one”. “That is me being brutally honest”.
“I’m up for the challenge and I’ll do everything I can to put in a good performance”.
“We’ve got to be in control of how we want to play the game and be ready for them to hit us at breakneck speed”.
“I thought our decision-making of which system to use at the right time was very good on Saturday”.
Then in the last week or so we have discovered that the Conservatives and the DUP will be forming together to get rid of this hung Parliament so to speak. “I’m desperate to get another win and kick on again so the confidence can grow”. He worked incredibly hard to get back in the picture.
Owen Farrell kicked four penalties to beat the Crusaders. You’ve got to be able to do everything, but you’ve got to bring a specialist element and I guess my one specialist element is the contact area. “I have to deliver in that area on Tuesday”.
Highlanders R Buckman; W Naholo, M Fekitoa, T Walden, T Li; L Sopoaga, K Hammington; D Lienert-Brown, L Coltman, S Tokolahi, A Ainley, J Hemopo, G Evans, D Hunt, L Whitelock (capt).
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.
Centre Jonathan Davies must complete return-to-play protocols after a head knock, but is already free of any concussion symptoms, while Ross Moriarty is still carrying the after-effects of a back spasm.