Warren Gatland has pointed the finger at his own players by questioning the pride of the Lions, as the head coach slammed his squad's lack of physicality and aggression after they were bullied by the All Blacks at Eden Park.
THERE was no dream debut for Lions captain Peter O'Mahony after his side were soundly beaten by back to back world champions New Zealand where poor execution and ill discipline cost his side the chance of starting the series with a win. And after he's kicked he's been pushed a few times, and pushed to the ground.
Gatland will ask the referees to clamp down on the All Blacks' "dangerous" harassment of Conor Murray's kicking game before the second Test after he was left frustrated with what he felt were deliberate tactics from the All Blacks diving "blindly" at Murray's standing leg whenever he launched a box kick in Saturday's 30-15 defeat to New Zealand.
"I always find it amusing when everyone tells us they're going to beat us up in the tight five because we're not just a team that plays flashy rugby, we can play down and dirty rugby if we have to, and I mean that in the most respectful way".
Tuesday's match against the Hurricanes offers an opportunity for many players to put their hands up for selection in Saturday's matchday 23.
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"They were pretty brutal in that breakdown area, and we need to match fire with fire if we are going to do well on Saturday night". "We know there are a lot of players motivated to go out and get a result for the whole group". It's just making sure he's being looked after and protected and not harassed after he's box kicked. "I know he gets managed by England in terms of the amount of training that he does".
"But there are things we can work on particularly hard this week and definitely improve on taking the chances and being more accurate at the breakdown". I did speak to the players and say, "Don't expect them to be expansive". He is a different level to anyone I have ever seen in that position.
"If we start to look beyond and think too much about Saturday, you take your eye off Tuesday, and if you take your eye off the defending champions and one of the strongest franchises, you'll come unstuck and you'll not need to worry about Saturday".
"And so to go out there and stop our line speed, to stop what was perceived to be a bit of a strength, which was our driven lineout, and to be prepared at some stage to have a crack at our scrum". "Someone like Maro Itoje made an impact coming off the bench and was very physical". "We created chances, but we didn't finish them".
"For us now, we get the chance to pull on the jersey and the chance to put a bit of momentum back".
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