Gatland unhappy with 'average' Lions
June 12, 2013
watching brief - Warren Gatland during the game in Newcastle © PA Photos
Lions coach Warren Gatland said the right things and kept his emotions in check after the easy win over a Combined Country XV, but some of his players made clear that the performance was not good enough.
After a solid first half, the Lions grew sloppy as the match wore on. "We probably went away from the game plan a little bit and we were a little bit sloppy in certain areas," admitted flanker Sean O'Brien.
Hooker Richard Hibbard also indicated Gatland was not happy. "Obviously, Warren is going to be a little disappointed with the second-half performance. So he should be. There's so much more to come from us."
At the post-match press conference Gatland came across as tetchy and his responses were brief. Asked by one of the braver journalists if this reflected his mood, he replied: "Not at all. There was some excellent stuff and there was some average stuff."
Asked if all his players had come through the game unhurt, he just said: "Yeah, fine." And had an easy win against weak opposition been of any real use? "It was a lot of use."
Despite watching his side taken apart, the comments of Cameron Blades, the Country XV coach, will hardly help Gatland's mood. "The Wallabies will have learnt a lot out of tonight," he said. "We had four props who hadn't played first-grade rugby, yet the set-piece held. If you get into their faces, you can force mistakes, cut down their time and there's turnover ball to be had."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Tom Hamilton talks to World Cup-winning captain John Smit about life after rugby, his fears over the South African exodus and the World Cup
The reopening of the openside debate, a dominant wolf-pack and a sublime performance in defeat - Monday Maul looks at the weekend's talking points
The latest Week in Pictures takes in the Rugby Championship alongside the best photographs from around the domestic game
Amy Perrett, the Australian referee who whistled the Women's Rugby World Cup final after handling only six Tests, talks to Jamie Lyall