The British and Irish Lions will look different this week, Warren Gatland promises
Share this article:
JOHANNESBURG - The Sharks and Bulls shouldn't expect the same British & Irish Lions team that dismantled the Sigma Lions on Saturday night, that much coach Warren Gatland revealed.
The tourists handsomely beat their counterparts 56-14 at Emirates Airline Park with a team packed with Testmatch hopefuls, and Gatland revealed after the match that his selections will have a different look to it when they play the Sharks.
“I think the players that haven't started will start on Wednesday,” said Gatland.
“We've got a day off (on Sunday) - the non-23 had a tough hit out (on Saturday) with some fitness and skill work, so we are trying to get everyone on the same kind of cycle. We will probably name the squad to the team (on Sunday).
“Monday there is training and then there is a captain's run, so a very short turn around. I've been incredibly impressed with the players, their attitude and the way they have been preparing for these games and doing their one walk-through and working on their laptops and stuff.
“It's good that everyone will have a start in the first three games, and we probably will still be a bit rusty making so many changes but we will see how we go on Wednesday.”
The matchday 23 put the Joburgers to the sword on Saturday, playing a much more attacking brand of rugby, and showing off an impressive array of skills and talent. They were mostly clinical in their execution, especially with their fast service at the breakdown, their kicking and when attacking the gainline off of the line-outs.
Their defence was superb, especially during a prolonged period on their own line in the first half where they halted the Joburgers from scoring a try. They attacked at every sniff of an opportunity, and took advantage of the red-and-white hooped outfits' frailties in defence and decision making.
It was a superb start to the tour, with Maro Itoje, Hamish Watson, Ali Price, Finn Russell and four-try hero Josh Adams all putting in impressive displays. Despite this fact, Gatland also revealed that he has yet to form a Test day 23, and that the competition in his squad will give him much food for thought.
Said Gatland: “There definitely is no thinking of the Test side at the moment.
“We want everyone to have a runout in the first three games,” he continued, “and then we might start looking at mixing and matching a little bit, and a few combinations. I kind of don't want us to start looking ahead to that because already we know the competition within the squad and how tough it is.”