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Lions hope to please their fans against Crusaders

11 Juin 2017

The Lions probably don't have much confidence, because they still haven't got it together. Whereas previously they saw the Lions as being poor opposition, they now view the Test series as having a modicum of competitiveness.

The Saracens pivot played his part in the Lions' outstanding defensive performance which denied a try to the Crusaders who had been averaging five tries per game this season on their way to a club-record run of 14 consecutive wins.

But not so. Instead, we saw a Lions side, perhaps galvanised by the criticism received after their defeat to the Blues, produce a gutsy display firmly in keeping with the jersey's glorious past.

Farrell did add his fourth penalty with 10 minutes remaining in the game and then finished off a clinical performance when he punted the ball after the full-time hooter.

The match in Christchurch will test a third element of Gatland's rugby philosophy and one that has already become contentious; the style of play he has asked the Lions to adopt in a bid to carry them to only their second test series victory in New Zealand in 13 attempts.

It's a statistic which will be slightly concerning for Gatland and one that no doubt the New Zealand press will be ramming home, as they seek to turn the pressure cooker on the touring party.

Hansen's assistant Ian Foster would be a strong favourite to succeed the 58-year-old, with fellow New Zealanders Joe Schmidt (Ireland), Vern Cotter (Montpellier) and Gatland candidates, Tew said.

Robertson's Super Rugby-leaders had no answer to the Lions' physicality and pin-point kicking game, going down 12-3 in their first loss of 2017.

Sharing power, Southgate gives Kane captaincy against Scots
Gordon Strachan's side are six points behind Group F leaders England with four fixtures remaining. Asked how Kane had reacted to the news, Southgate replied: "He was pretty chuffed (pleased)".

"We said all along that the quality of the opposition - as long as you don't get that many injuries and we've been lucky touch wood - is great preparation for us as we prepare to play the best team in the world which is the All Blacks in a few weeks' time".

"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".

"You have to make sure you take your opportunities, work to what the coaches want, and not try and go outside the box".

"We talk about the set-pieces as physical statements as forwards coaches, winning those little battles in the war of a game". No expectations. No game time.

"But they found a way to win good, luck to them". They will get better.

"I don't think Warren's put that challenge onto any one individual, he's put it to us as a squad", said North, of Gatland's X-factor search.

Utility back Jordie and his Hurricanes teammate Ngani Leaumape are the only uncapped players and are among the main surprises in the 33-man squad announced by head coach Steve Hansen on Thursday.

Both reports praised the Lions' half-back partnership of Conor Murray, Owen Farrell and of course, Jonathan Sexton when he entered the fray.

Lions hope to please their fans against Crusaders