Johnny Sexton backed to prove class after poor start to Lions tour


Johnny Sexton backed to prove class after poor start to Lions tour

Gatland said: "I have said all along we didn't pick him (Te'o) just to bash up over the gain line". "It is arranged for us and we have to take our lot". But we've got to push through and over the next few days it's going to get a lot easier.

He maintained he'd support the Lions, rather than the Kiwi sides, from now on - and didn't rule out pulling on a Blues jumper against the Lions on Wednesday.

But the visitors were put to the test throughout and had to come from behind to secure the win after a scrappy performance. The Lions will have to be infinitely better than they were yesterday if they want to win.

Gatland has already said all 41 members of the squad will get a chance to play in the opening three games but on Saturday several players failed to make the most of their opportunity, notably Ireland flyhalf Johnny Sexton.

"They came with some innovation, doing things a little bit differently and that definitely put us under some pressure", Gatland Sr said.

The jet-lag may have been a contributory factor to a lacklustre display against a side they were expected to beat by more than 30 points, but captain Sam Warburton was happy to get the win.

In the Herald, Gregor Paul wrote: "The Lions got their heavily predicted opening game victory but it was one that saw them reach unimaginable levels of mediocrity". We're now back to sharing rooms, we're back to inviting the other team into the changing room for a beer immediately after the match, we're back to engaging with the community, whether that's hospitals, retirement homes, or schools. "We're unique but we enjoy it".

The Auckland-born ace made the most metres (87) for the Lions.

A frustrating first half for the Lions ended with Jonathan Joseph being prevented from grounding the ball, sending the Barbarians in at the break with a surprise advantage. "This is part of expanding our game to use the moral aspect of our players to show respect and friendship".

Former Lions first five-eighth and British rugby pundit Stuart Barnes fears for the future of Lions tours as a repeat of the 2005 horrors "looms" and everything "could come clean off the rails" by Saturday. I don't like the word "brand" but look what a creed it is, what a concept it is. However, we're looking forward to regrouping, hearing what the coaches have to say, hearing what we can build on and how we can get better for the next game.

"We know we're not going to win the Test series by taking every three-point opportunity".

"It mustn't be lost".

The Crusaders, who've won all 14 of their matches in 2017, then lie in wait on Saturday and Barnes believes the tradition of Lions tours hinges on the success of this one.

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