British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton to feature against Highlanders

by Leon Thompson June 11, 2017, 7:53
British and Irish Lions captain Sam Warburton to feature against Highlanders

I'm just excited for the opportunity to play for the Lions again. At some point you have got to start winning or people are going to be saying, "This isn't working".

That philosophy is most often expressed by coach Warren Gatland, and two of its main tenets are that it doesn't matter how many provincial matches the Lions lose as long as they win the test matches and that Super Rugby teams are of similar strength to the All Blacks.

"I've had to bide my time. It was a good crowd and it was great to see people enjoying themselves".

"I guess if you want to test yourself physically, then those Pacific Island games - especially Samoa - are the ones you want to measure yourself in".

When they returned, they found the vehicle had been broken into and the visiting couple's passports and tickets to the Crusaders and other Lions games had been stolen.

This victory was an eloquent rebuttal of accusations that the Lions would descend into a spiral of defeats in tracing a line from last week's disappointing loss to the Blues through to the Test series.

Read confirmed he won't face the Samoans at Eden Park next Friday, which falls eight days out from the first of three Lions Tests.

He added: "I haven't been nervous". "It's great, it'll be great for us, proper intensity".

"But there's still lots of things to work on".

Crotty's selection was also in doubt after he injured ribs in last weekend's Super Rugby match between the Crusaders and Highlanders. "There isn't as much space as in regional rugby".

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He saved a set point at 4-5 and then another in a memorable 10th game, missing a sitter forehand before finally breaking back. Svitolina will next face third-seeded Simona Halep, the French Open runner-up in 2014.

Captain Alun Wyn Jones called it a "confidence-boosting win", as Gatland singled out the Lions lineout and the tactical kicking of Conor Murray for special praise.

The Crusaders threatened to heap more worries on Warren Gatland's side as they almost went over the whitewash with minutes remaining in the first half.

"You look at the amount of All Blacks they have and it's a tough test", said Davies.

The defensive stability against a side who have scored almost 500 points in 13 Super Rugby games will have pleased the coaching staff but Gatland was also forced to assess injuries to two probable Test starters.

"Touring with the Lions is very tough and a test of character".

"I thought we were really connected". It's all very positive.

The disinterested countenance of Mako Vunipola, as he scratched his ear looking totally over it, before kick off against the Crusaders suggests the ritual may already be reaching overkill. They are going to run from anywhere, so we all need to be on the same page in defence.

"We know obviously the challenge is huge and the games are tight". We can't give away soft penalties because they love playing with ball in hand.

Owen Farrell - His kicking keeps you in games, of course, but this was a real shepherding performance.

The Blues had fragments of possession and scored three tries, including the match-winner in the 74th minute which underscored the counter-attacking and off-loading threat posed by New Zealand teams.


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