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ibusinesslines.com May 24, 2018


Few surprises in Gatland's Lions: Hansen

20 April 2017, 06:12 | Erica Roy

Head coach Gatland's group for New Zealand this summer will be revealed in London at midday and while players like England quartet Ben Te'o, Elliot Daly, Joe Marler and Maro Itoje should become first-time Lions, high-profile casualties seem guaranteed. Maybe "Whale Rider". "Boy". "He was hoping to be fit this week but he had a setback a couple of weeks ago", said Gatland.

"I grew up in New Zealand".

"It kind of gives you an understanding of New Zealand humour, New Zealand culture a little bit".

"If you can understand New Zealand, the intensity of the place and the opposition it makes us better prepared and it's those small things that will make us better on the field".

Hansen brushed off that suggestion, recalling a tough test in Ireland in 2013 when the All Blacks rallied from a 19-0 deficit and landed a sideline conversion to an injury-time try to clinch a 24-22 victory.

The Lions squad has been announced. "But again you look at it and say there's been no travesties in selection".

But up against the reigning world champions, who were on a record-equalling run of wins until Ireland beat them in in Chicago last autumn, Best admits it will be a different challenge altogether.

"One of the disappointments of 2013 is that there were two or three players who were just happy to be on tour and who didn't compete. It's a lot more expectation than they've been used to, because people will expect them to win".

However, Best replaced Hartley on the tour after the England hooker was banned for abusing referee Wayne Barnes in the Premiership final. In addition to connecting with real-time news and updates on their chosen team, users can closely monitor and stay updated on their favourite players' performance and get experts' reviews and analysis.

Sam Warburton, who will captain the Lions for the second time, was also fully aware of the scale of the task ahead.


Dylan Hartley lifts the Calcutta Cup after England defeated Scotland.

"He is very quick, very explosive, very dynamic, a great ball-carrier, so aggressive in defence - he has been the stand-out player for Wales since the World Cup, really".

Dylan Hartley is set to lead England to Argentina in June after being overlooked for the British and Irish Lions' tour to New Zealand.

"What was impressive, and when England beat them in 2012, the breakdowns were ferocious", said Warburton.

Hansen questioned Gatland's assertion that the Lions had an edge in goal-kicking, saying their percentages may be superior but the All Blacks' kickers were proven performers on the big stage.

"We believe that Sam's experience and leadership qualities make him an obvious choice as captain".

With barely a chance to get to know their room mates, the squad will then take on the Blues, followed by the Crusaders, the Highlanders and the Chiefs - all teams packed with quality who are now tearing up the southern hemisphere's Super Rugby competition.

"One of the things I admire about Sam is that it's not about Sam Warburton, it's about the team first", Gatland said. "If Justin Tipuric or Sean O'Brien are playing better than him we make that selection from a coach's point of view".

The squad is made up of 16 England players, 12 from Wales, 11 from Ireland and two from Scotland.



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