British & Irish Lions
Lions put Wales 'to the sword' in training
ESPN Staff
May 21, 2013
Stuart Hogg carries Bil - the British & Irish Lions' mascot, British & Irish Lions media day, Syon House, London, May 13, 2013
Stuart Hogg poses with Bil - the British & Irish Lions mascot © Getty Images

British & Irish Lions boss Warren Gatland has revealed his side played against Wales in training last week and put them "to the sword".

Those members of the 37-strong squad not involved in Amlin Challenge Cup, RaboDirect PRO12 or Aviva Premiership finals gathered at the Vale of Glamorgan for a training camp. And Gatland was delighted to see the Lions demolish Wales, who are touring Japan next month, during a practice run.

"I was really impressed with last week, not just over how well everyone gelled but from a technical aspect as well," Gatland said. "Having been involved with the Lions four years ago, there has been a significant improvement in the players technically.

"We're fit, we're big, we're strong and have some real pace. We did some training against the Welsh team on Friday, the forwards did some line-outs and mauling against them. Our backs ran against them and looked really, really sharp and put the Welsh team to the sword.

"They put them under a lot of pressure and came away from that feeling really, really positive."

Gatland, who has taken a break from his role as Wales' head coach while he oversees the Lions, revealed that players from England, Ireland and Scotland were given an eye opener when they convened for training last week.

"Last week we trained with a level of intensity that some of the players from other countries hadn't experienced before," he said. "Some of the Welsh boys hadn't experienced that for a few months as well. It reminded people of what the expectations are."

And one of those backs who shone against Wales and has been given an eye opener in training is Stuart Hogg, the youngest member of the squad and the man charged with looking after Bil - the British & Irish Lions mascot.

But the mascot is irritating Hogg's hay fever, which may lead to him negotiating the role with Gatland. "The hay fever's a nightmare. It always comes up at the start of summer - my eyes start to puff up," he said. "Holding that lion in my hands is bit of a nightmare because of it's long main - it gets a little bit itchy. Maybe I'll speak with the gaffer and see what he says about that."

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