British and Irish Lions 2013: Warren Gatland admits concern at lack of tough opponents
The Lions overran Western Force
Wednesday 05 June 2013
Lions head coach Warren Gatland admitted that the strength of opponents in the build-up to the first Test against Australia is a cause for concern after crushing Western Force 69-17.
The Lions were also comfortable winners in the tour opener against the Barbarians in Hong Kong and Gatland is considering beefing up training sessions to replicate the intensity that the Lions will face when they tackle the Wallabies in Brisbane on June 22.
Gatland told Sky Sports 1: "You always want to play against stronger sides. That is a concern for us at the moment. You need the intensity.
"If we are not getting it from games like tonight then we'll have to look at doing it ourselves - playing with a bit more intensity in training."
Worries over the strength of opposition apart, Gatland was satisfied with the Lions' first challenge on Australian soil.
"It was a good workout, especially for those just starting the tour," he said.
"The test for us tonight was about being ruthless and playing for the full 80 minutes. It would have been easy to fall off the intensity and cruise home. But Geoff Parling, Tom Youngs and Ben Youngs gave us momentum coming off the bench.
"Overall we're pretty happy. We are getting used to the interpretation of southern hemisphere referees. That's not a criticism of the refs, we are just adjusting.
"We talked about keeping our patience and then, at half-time, we talked about been ruthless and finishing them off.
"There were one or two errors around fringes and we will work on them, tidy that up.
"The challenge for us coaches is who the hell are we going to pick for that first Test? At the moment there is so much competition for places and that's good for us."
Brian O'Driscoll skippered the Lions on the night in what was his first appearance of a fourth successive Lions tour and weighed in with two tries.
He said: "It's always nice to get on the end of good moves.
"We are relatively pleased with the performance but there is plenty to work on, especially defensively.
"We have to continue building on this. We set a good standard in Hong Kong on Saturday. Tonight there were great aspects to the game, but plenty to work on."
Full-back Leigh Halfpenny could savour a 100% record after kicking all nine of his conversions and adding two penalties for a 24-point haul.
"I'm pretty pleased with how I struck it today," he said.
"When I get back on the training pitch tomorrow the work continues. I will go through my routines and Jenks (Neil Jenkins) will give me a couple of pointers.
"For us tonight it was about taking it to the next level and I think we did that."
Culinary experts in The Netherlands thought it was 'fresh' and 'tasty'
Liverpool fans applaud Cristiano Ronaldo after master-class for Real Madrid, despite his Manchester United ties
Liverpool vs Real Madrid player ratings: Was Cristiano Ronaldo the star man? And how did Mario Balotelli fare?
Liverpool vs Real Madrid match report: Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema run Reds ragged at Anfield
Diego Costa injury: Chelsea striker forced into hospital ahead of Manchester United clash - reports
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was shirt swapping the real reason?
- 1 Marijuana use by teenagers does not result in a lower IQ or worse exam results, study finds
- 2 Watch what happened when food critics were unknowingly served McDonald's
- 3 Jimmy Carr's controversial Oscar Pistorius joke goes too far at the Q Awards
- 4 Australian café owner sparks debate after saying 'No' to having unruly children on premises
- 5 NHS staff banned from drinking tea or coffee on the job because it looks like they're not working hard enough
Of course, teenage girls need role models – but not like beauty vlogger Zoella
Cameron is warned 'no possibility' of UK reducing immigration and that bid to bring in quota on migrant workers would be illegal
Support for EU membership 'at highest level since 1991' with most Brits wanting to stay 'in'
Thousands with degenerative conditions classified as 'fit to work in future' – despite no possibility of improvement
Residents should throw a street party and mix with immigrant neighbours, councils told
Russell Brand threatened with arrest after filming outside Fox News headquarters