Gatland – ‘We kept the faith’

British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has hailed his players' focus and resilience in the wake of media criticism following the Blues loss.

The Lions started the tour of New Zealand with a stuttering victory over the Provincial Barbarians before a loss to the Blues.

In the aftermath of that defeat, the Lions had to endure a lot of criticism from the media, especially back home in the UK.

But they recovered to beat the Crusaders on Saturday 12-3, the toughest opponents of their tour so far, which shows the wheels are clicking into gear for Gatland's men.

The victory was all the more impressive, given they didn't concede a try against a side who have scored 5.3 tries on average per game in Super Rugby.

"It's been tough this week, there's been a lot of criticism," Gatland told the BBC.

"People have written the tour off already after two games.

"That's been challenging for all of us. We've had to stay strong in the group and keep the faith.

"I hope we didn't disappoint any people tonight with the result.

"This is great preparation for us preparing to play the best team in the world, which is the All Blacks.

"It's a like a club side coming together in pre-season, getting a couple of games under its belt and you know the more time together the better you'll get.

"This team was outstanding in training on Friday, looked sharp and I knew there would be a performance because they have had time to gel.

"The result was pretty important for us. Tonight was another step up, but there is still a lot to work on."

One of those areas is their finishing, after the Lions spurned a handful of opportunities to score tries against the Super Rugby side.

"We are creating [chances], and we need to get better at [finishing]. The more time we have together, hopefully we will finish those chances."

Comments