Sport

Read recovered and raring to go against Lions

Read recovered and raring to go against Lions

Gatland wants "rugby to do the talking" when the tourists meet the All Blacks in Auckland. You watch people and make assessments of them.

"We know we've got to be courageous coming here".

"We've taken on an incredibly tough schedule, like nothing the Lions have ever faced", Gatland said.

The surprise selection was Rieko Ioane ahead of the more experienced Julian Savea on the left wing.

If the Lions can not be expected to forego the running game, the All Blacks also can not be under-estimated at set pieces.

"Peter has done a good job and he is chuffed about it".

Gatland believes that passion, coupled with an attacking intent that the Lions have only showed in glimpses so far, will be needed to topple the back-to-back world champions. "I was at a meeting in their hotel on Thursday morning and the team came in and had breakfast with everyone - which I think is pretty cool - but they are a bit on edge".

"The Lions come every 12 years and we're excited about that", Hansen told reporters ahead of the first test, which kicks off at 7.35 pm (0735 GMT) in Auckland on Saturday.

Hansen dismissed Gatland's claim that he was anxious, describing himself as "pretty cool, calm and excited", and told reporters he had not initiated any barbs at his opposite number. He is exactly the character you need - a guy who would get on with things if he wasn't involved in the Test squad.




"The biggest challenge for me is to not go quiet when you're a little bit exhausted, (because) as a leader you've got to be front and centre".

"I think we're all aware of it", says a relaxed Murray, who feels that this is the biggest game of his career.

Leigh Halfpenny suffered a nasty-looking blow to the head during the Lions' 32-10 win over the Maori in Rotorua on Saturday, with Tawera Kerr-Barlow receiving a yellow card for the challenge.

Asked what he would like to talk to Peyper about specifically, Hansen said: "Well, if I talk to you (the media) about it, then I am applying pressure to him in the media, and that's sort of like bullying him, and I don't want to do that".

While All Blacks counterpart Steve Hansen is predicting a one-dimensional approach, fellow-Kiwi Gatland spoke of a desire to keep building on the attacking strides made on tour.

Read, who said he hasn't anxious about his thumb all week, knows what the Lions will bring; big, physical men intending to smash the All Blacks in the contact areas and set piece. We've got ourselves to prepare and get ready. Warburton's relegation had been widely anticipated and Gatland said he was determined to select players based on their tour performances, not reputations. "Let's let the rugby do the talking because there's been enough trash talk already".

Ardie Savea will move to the bench to make way for the returning Kieran Read, who will captain the side.

After the Lions claimed the first Test at Carisbrook, the All Blacks fought back to take the second in Christchurch that set-up a thrilling finish to what was a four-Test series.


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