You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Warren Gatland declares that his Lions are more like the All Blacks than New Zealand's own team

Mirror logo Mirror 7/07/2017 Alex Spink
© Provided by Trinity Mirror Shared Services Limited

Warren Gatland says his Lions have become more like the All Blacks than the real thing, writes Alex Spink in Auckland.

The Kiwi boss has challenged his team to “leave a legacy” by becoming only the second Lions tour ever to win a series in New Zealand.

He insists their best is being saved for last and revealed that they are in such good shape that their physical output actually increased in the final quarter of last week’s Test.

“The All Blacks traditionally go into games not worried about the opposition, picking their own team, playing their own game and worrying about themselves,” said Gatland.

“Well that’s what we have been doing. We haven’t really spoken about the All Blacks. It’s been about us. We’ve just concentrated on our own game and doing what’s been successful for us.

“It feels a bit strange and almost like a role reversal. We didn’t even speak today about the team they selected.”

The All Blacks have changed both wings, given a first start to 20-year-old fullback Jordie Barrett and replaced Sonny Bill Williams with Ngani Laumape.

“They’ve changed their game plan and style,” said Gatland. “I see that as a massive sign of respect of them to us, them looking to negate our strengths and threats.

“People expected us to come here and kick the leather of it, drive every single lineout, to try and scrummage people to death. We haven’t done that. We’ve played a good brand and people have been surprised.”

“There’s a group of players there who are incredibly competitive and realise this is a massive opportunity to win a series in NZ.

“This is one of the biggest games of their lives. There have been 11 Lions tours of New Zealand and only has ever been won. So they have the chance to do something special.

“You get those moments in your life and you don’t want those moments to pass you by.”

More from The Mirror

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon