Gatland impressed by attitude of players ahead of second Test
Warren Gatland praised the attitude of his players both against the Hurricanes and in training this week as they prepare for the second Test against New Zealand on Saturday.
The Lions were held to a 31-31 draw at the Westpac Stadium on Tuesday in a thrilling encounter against the Super Rugby champions.
Although they never trailed in the game, the Lions saw a 14-point advantage swallowed up in the closing stages but despite the draw, Gatland was impressed by his team, led by Rory Best, as well as those players not involved who have been hard at work ahead of the second Test in Wellington.
He said: “The attitude of the guys in preparing for tonight has been outstanding. Rory Best has done a brilliant job in terms of leading. They are disappointed that they let an opportunity slip to win the game.
“The other group of players, who have had a couple of training sessions, have been incredibly focused and realising what a big challenge it is to play the All Blacks here on Saturday night.
“They have been excellent this week. The guys that have trained, the guys not involved in tonight’s match, they had a tough training session this morning, they had a good player’s meeting so I’ve been really happy with the response of those players who were involved on Saturday.”
The Lions made a flying start with tries from Tommy Seymour and George North helping them into a 23-7 lead at half-time.
The Hurricanes fought back in the second half, but Seymour’s second pushed the advantage out to 14 points.
However two late tries from the home side ensured the spoils were shared, but Gatland felt a few players had really shone, including second row pair Courtney Lawes and Iain Henderson.
He added: “(Henderson) carried extremely well and that was a big positive. I thought Courtney Lawes carried well also in the first half.
“It’s a position that we knew right from the start that we had a lot of strength in. That was the case in a number of positions.
✔️ Biggar kick
✔️ Halfpenny leap
✔️ Henderson pass
✔️ North finish
— British&Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) June 27, 2017
“Those two guys had really strong games tonight to give us some real food for thought.
“We’ll meet tomorrow as coaches and look at selecting the side before we announce it to the players on Thursday.”