Clinical Lions grind Maori All Blacks down in 32-10 win

Vincent De Villiers
Junho 18, 2017

Warren Gatland says the British and Irish Lions remain totally united following the much-talked-about addition of six new squad members.

"Normally, he's pretty calm and stuff - he's been doing a lot of press conferences in the last couple of weeks, (and) I can only take that as a sign of respect in that, potentially, he's a little bit anxious", Gatland told reporters. They arranged a pretty quick game against Samoa and, if you saw the first 20-30 minutes, they needed that.

Aaron Smith started the second half using turnover ball to spark a 60m move for Israel Dagg to score, before Julian Savea, Codie Taylor, Beauden Barrett, Fifita, T.J. Perenara and Ardie Savea also scored in the second half as the All Blacks ran riot.

"But it's unlike Steve and maybe he is anxious by potentially how good this team can be". Everyone could get excited.

"I listen to our medical team who are far more qualified than I am".

"The off-field stuff, similar to the stuff that people have been saying, puts a bit of a dampener on the tour".

When things are bad you get written off - I have been written off hundreds of times in my career and I will probably continue to be until the end at different stages. "By the looks of it, it's going to be a cracking series".

With a second penalty try initially awarded, the scrum was pulled back allowing Maro Itoje to finally go over to open up a 29-10 lead, effectively putting the contest to bed. He appeared relieved to have the chance to offload some frustrations.

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Hansen warned the Lions they will have the kitchen sink thrown at them and he will monitor how Owen Farrell progresses with his recovery after suffering a thigh strain.

"It's tough out here but these are the types of challenges we enjoy, the types of challenges that are more fulfilling once we accomplish (them)", Itoje said. "But it was important we didn't take the risk and put him out there".

Gatland may first turn to players in the Wales and Scotland squads now touring in Australasia before looking to Eddie Jones' England squad who are competing in a different time zone in Argentina.

Prop Tomas Francis, hooker Kristian Dacey, second row Cory Hill and scrum half Gareth Davies were all added to the squad as cover for the Lions' next match against Waikato Chiefs on Tuesday.

That set off a social media storm that Gatland was devaluing the Lions jersey.

But they are understood to have told their initial 41-man squad in May that they planned to bring in mid-tour reinforcements to safeguard the Test line-up against injury. England coach Eddie Jones wasn't impressed, and Lions great Ian McGeechan said, "It's hard to justify geography".

Despite the win, it was another unimposing performance from the Test selection, who are running out of time before next week's first Test against the All Blacks.

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