Warren Gatland launches defence of his coaching technique amid criticism of 'Warrenball'

13 Juin, 2017, 13:26 | Author: Marie-Claire Cellier

Even All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen has gotten in on the act, saying recently of his Lions counterpart: "You look at the guy that's coaching and think, 'Righto, how does he play the game?' Every team he [Gatland] has coached has played the same way, so I can't see why he would change now".

The British and Irish Lions have cast considerable doubts over their competitiveness on New Zealand soil with a dour 13-7 victory against a mostly semi-professional provincial Barbarians outfit in Whangarei.

Before the Lions landed in New Zealand, Eddie Jones said they would struggle to win if they played a one-dimensional style of rugby.

But asked about that implied criticism, head coach Gatland vowed the Lions will build a varied attacking strategy.

"All week we talked about the challenge ahead, a David and Goliath sort of match-up and I'm really proud of our squad going out there and giving it our all", Anderson-Heather said.

"We know the class of Johnny, he is a world-class player", said Laidlaw, pictured below.

"Saturday's performance has made life tougher for the Lions is in convincing those Kiwis - and their future opponents, all of whom will be tougher and slicker and more skilful than the Barbarians - that they are still a team to be feared".

"It's always a little bit tougher and when the heat is on and everyone is looking to you to make the calls".

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The Lions, each on a basic tour fee of £70,000 (US$90,000), regrouped yesterday to attend an official Maori welcome before launching into preparations for Wednesday's match against the Auckland Blues.

'If you can score three or four tries a game, you'll give yourself a good chance, ' said the captain.

"There were a lot of positive things from the coaches, they were delighted with the win and just want to keep pressing on now, keep getting better day in, day out, and making sure next time we take the field we are a bit better so we can go on and win more games. We experienced that four years ago [in Australia] when people chose to be critical and a lot of people got caught with their trousers down afterwards".

And we don't want to be proscribed, and we don't want to play by numbers. These players are being encouraged to demonstrate their level of skill.

Ken Owens will captain the Lions against the Blues in the second clash of their 10-match tour, with the Wales hooker having battled back from an ankle problem that had threatened his place on the tour. "Was it when we were successful as Wasps or when I was coaching Waikato in the Air New Zealand Cup?"

Cameras of the world's media clicked and rolled, and the crowds cheered as Ngāpuhi and other iwi groups roared out a welcome - supported by some who came from Australia, just to take part. "We have a few work ons from last weekend and we know we need to be more clinical", admitted Gatland.

"What do you mean by one way" When did that start?


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