Dallaglio: 'Lions will win and win well'
Tom Hamilton in Hong Kong
June 1, 2013
Lawrence Dallaglio talks to ESPN about Saturday's game between the Lions and the Barbarians%]
World Cup-winning No.8 Lawrence Dallaglio expects the British & Irish Lions to beat the Barbarians on Saturday but admits the conditions will have a huge bearing on the match.
The Lions kick off their 2013 tour in Hong Kong on Saturday in sweltering conditions. The temperature is expected to be around 30 degrees Celsius at kick-off with the humidity in the region of 80%. Much of the build-up to the match has focused on the weather with the match featuring four water breaks in the 15th and 30th minute of each half.
Dallaglio is no stranger to the Lions, having toured with the famous side in 1997, 2001 and 2005, and he expects the the men in red "to win and to win well" on Saturday night in a match some believe will amount to little more than a warm-up match for Warren Gatland's men. But Dallaglio is adamant the game is a worthwhile exercise.
"I would expect the Lions to come out very strongly, it's the opening game of their tour which is always very important," Dallaglio told ESPN. "It's a game they will want to win and win well. I guess it's been billed as a warm-up match, but it is not, it's the opening match of the tour. From their own point of view, they will want to individually put in performances.
"There are not that many opportunities before the first Test for the guys to put their hands up and get a Test spot. So they'll want to do that and collectively, they'll want to show what the 2013 Lions are all about and Australia will be watching aswell. So I expect a very strong performance in difficult conditions. It's not easy for both sides; the Barbarians will find it difficult as well."
The match will see fans positioned by the side of the pitch blowing cold air onto the field and Dallaglio believes the Lions will cope with the heat, something the ex-No.8 is no stranger to.
Lawrence Dallaglio on Lions duty in 2001 © PA Photos
"I did play in similar conditions in New Orleans which was not pleasant at all, in fact the referee passed out halfway through the game," Dallaglio added. "I'm sure the same will not happen on Saturday. It's tough, there is no doubt about it, but the guys are very fit, I'm sure the benches will be used by both sides.
"But it's a great preparation; it's a great run out. The selection is a sensible one. Warren Gatland has omitted a lot of the guys who had games last weekend, notably the Irish and English players, and the nucleus of the side is Welsh. And he's picked some combinations that are hopefully are used to playing together and will give the Lions some cohesion and structure in what could be quite a loose, fast game."
One key area which may determine the outcome of the match is the back-row with the Lions opting against starting captain Sam Warburton who is out with an injury. In his place, Justin Tipuric takes up the openside jersey with Dan Lydiate and Toby Faletau accompanying him in an all-Welsh back-row. The match will be the first time Faletau pulls on a Lions jersey and he will be coming up against Italian No.8 Sergio Parisse, someone Dallaglio rates highly.
"He's one of the best No.8s in the world, if not the best. And if he's captaining the side they will not be lacking in motivation and energy. He's got a hugely high work-rate. He's been playing big games himself the last few weeks; he's a wonderful player and sets a good example."
Lawrence Dallaglio was speaking on behalf of Land Rover and today was launching the all-new Range Rover Sport in Hong Kong
Warren Gatland attempts to cool down © Getty Images
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Tom Hamilton is the Assistant Editor of ESPNscrum.