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Principale » Lions have 'poked the bear', says Gatland

Lions have 'poked the bear', says Gatland

03 Juillet 2017

The All Blacks had to do without Sonny Bill Williams for nearly an hour after the Blues centre was sent off for a head-high shoulder-charge tackle on Anthony Watson.

After the game Steve Hansen, the New Zealand head coach, said it could have been yellow or it could have been red, but it was more red than yellow. But I genuinely would only be happy if we get that test series win next week. "It took the Lions a while to find their feet and they got rewarded for attacking and their two tries came from them actually playing pretty wide and exploiting that space".

"I've made the point we need to enjoy our victory and then get ready for next week".

"I've got in contact with Anthony and I've apologised to him, but very disappointed that I was sent from the field and let my brothers down".

Itoje had an outstanding match, leading the Lions with nine carries and 14 tackles, sharing a heavy workload with backrowers Sean O'Brien, Taulupe Faletau and Warburton. New Zealand has already lost midfielder Ryan Crotty to a hamstring strain suffered in the first test at Auckland, which it won 30-15.

"We know historically when New Zealand teams lose they respond and there's no better example than what happened in Chicago a year ago and then in Dublin in the following game".

Lions have 'poked the bear', says Gatland
Lions have 'poked the bear', says Gatland

The former England prop added that while he had not initially identified any serial offenders, if necessary head coach Gatland would not be averse to using the "big stick" to hammer the message home or to drop players.

"Whoever has been doing that, they have no idea how much that's galvanised us as a group", said New Zealander Gatland.

Gatland and the Lions will have the chance to become the first Lions coach to defeat the All Blacks in a series since 1971, should his side secure a result in the third and final Test at Eden Park on Saturday. At 18-9 down we had to show some character and we did that. "Regardless of whatever happens we're going to come back with some credibility for the Lions and keeping the reputation of that". "How do you live the rest of your life with that?"

We take a look at the key moments that kept the series alive for the tourists.

"You can talk all the tactics in the world but sometimes it's just down to a bit of desire to get off your line and win some shots, some collisions".

"We will pick a team that we think will do the best job for next Saturday".

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Lions have 'poked the bear', says Gatland