Former Queensland State of Origin forward Ben Te’o has completed a remarkable transition to rugby union by being named in the British and Irish Lions squad to tour New Zealand. The guy that has the last say is the guy that is usually coaching them. I’m just wondering whether it’s the type of environment where someone who is a leader in the way he does it for England would fit into that mould in a Lions situation.
“Hopefully he’s going to be right in a couple of weeks and get one or two games under his belt”.
The Ireland and Lions legend talkSPORT: “If I was selecting a Lions team tomorrow, for me Jamie George would be the obvious choice at hooker”.
“It’s an incredibly tough tour”.
Apart from losing all three Tests in 2005, the tourists lost 19-13 to a Maori that included their All Blacks players.
“And that was enough for me”, Gatland told reporters after the announcement of his 41-man squad for the New Zealand tour on Wednesday.
“We felt there’s continued improvement in him as a player and that Rory and Ken had great Six Nations”.
“It’s going to be a very good side and they’ll come with a lot of expectation, which I think is going to be interesting to see how they cope with that. We put together what we thought was the strongest possible squad”.
Although generally complimentary about a Lions squad that he deems the best to come to New Zealand for a “long, long time”, the All Blacks’ coach could not resist throwing a few more barbs in Gatland’s direction.
“He’s got some weaknesses but when I look at it from a Welsh perspective, he’s the one player who causes us so many problems when we play England because of his footwork and pace”.
“So Ireland doing that in Chicago was pretty special”.
“To see some of those world-class players be human, make some mistakes, show some frailties. that gives you that self-belief and confidence”.
“Those are the sort of players, with no disrespect, who might struggle to make the first test team but they will be giving everything they can on and off the field”.
“I was listening on my phone, and checking Twitter whilst out for lunch down in Bill’s, at the (Gloucester) Quays, and as the names were going on, it was getting longer and longer, and I really didn’t expect to get named”.
He said every touring team faced tough times in New Zealand, and the Lions were no different.
“It’s going to be a very physical Test series and a hard task but I am sure all the (Lions) players who get the chance will do a good job”. A pessimistic injury update was issued by Munster this week: Murray had still not completed any contact work since his shoulder injury, leaving him as a doubt for this weekend’s game.
“Impact off the bench in New Zealand is important, especially given what the weather can be like there in winter. In previous tours the midweek games tended to be a little easier, but when you look at the quality of the opposition we’re facing in midweek it’s going to be hugely challenging”, he said.