British and Irish Lions 2013: Graham Rowntree calls on Lions to raise bar against Western Force

The Lions blitzed the Barbarians in their opening game

Graham Rowntree has underlined the British and Irish Lions' ambition to raise the performance bar in their clash against Western Force tomorrow.

Four days after blitzing the Barbarians in hot and humid Hong Kong, an entirely-changed team will launch the Lions' nine-game Australian tour schedule.

"I thought we set the bar fairly high on Saturday in difficult conditions," Lions assistant coach Rowntree said today.

"A lot of our proven guys that have played a lot of games found those conditions harder than anything, harder than altitude or anything like that.

"In difficult conditions and our first hit-out together, the guys set a high standard, and tomorrow's crew have got to move that bar up again.

"We've said to the guys the first three games everyone gets a start, so after the (Queensland) Reds game (on Saturday) I think we have got to start making some decisions on combinations and having a look at people.

"And certainly by the Waratahs and ACT (Brumbies) games, we need to know who we are going to start with in the (first) Test, but at this point in time there is everything there to play for for everyone."

The Force are not at full strength - they back up the Lions game with a Super Rugby fixture against the Waratahs next Sunday - although their match-day group line-up still contains six Test players.

"We are very respectful of the opposition, but we will worry about getting our detail right and getting our calls and structures up and running. We've got to get combinations going," Rowntree added.

"I think we've got a great group of players - it is an exceptional group."

Ireland wing Tommy Bowe, meanwhile, has hailed the winning attitude and mentality of Lions head coach Warren Gatland.

Ulster star Bowe was a key performer in South Africa four years ago, shining as a wing and centre. Few players could have done more with regard to trying to stave off a painful 2-1 series defeat.

Bowe is now back for more after recovering from a serious injury earlier this season, and he is impressed with what he has seen as he prepares to face the Force.

"My main priority is to get picked in the Test squad, but I want to win. That has been the message from the outset," he said.

"Warren is here to do a job, he is here to pick a team that's going to go and win the series.

"He wants to be 2-0 up (in the series), and I think that is exciting for us as players because he's breeding that confidence into us and I think it is really shining down throughout the squad."

Assessing his team selection for tomorrow's game, Force head coach Michael Foley said: "From the outset, we recognised the need to approach this week as an entire squad.

"To that end, every available member of our squad, a number from our wider training group and club players from Perth and elsewhere will get opportunities against the Lions and Waratahs.

"We've included some of our most experienced players to provide leadership against a Lions squad we have a great deal of respect for.

"The effort in training over the past week has shown how much Wednesday's match means to this squad, and they will be determined against many of the best international players from the northern hemisphere."

The six Test players chosen are Matt Hodgson, Salesi Ma'afu, Richard Brown, Brett Sheehan, Sam Norton-Knight and Alby Mathewson, who will provide scrum-half bench cover.

PA

Suggested Topics
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower