Combined Country XV 0-64 British & Irish Lions
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."
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