June International Tours

Gatland emphasises breakdown physicality

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The British and Irish Lions expect the Golden Lions to provide them with good opposition on Wednesday when the two sides meet at Coca-Cola Park, despite the poor Super 14 form of the Johannesburg-based side and their internal dramas of the past week.


“It’s a Super 14 side, there will be a good crowd to spur them on, and they’re playing a touring side, British Lions forward coach Warren Gatland said on Monday.


“We know it’s going to be tough and physical.”


He said it was important to match the power and physicality of their South African counterparts, and said the way in which the Bulls tore into the breakdowns in their Super 14 final win over the Chiefs impressed him.


“They probably would’ve beaten most teams in the world on that performance,” Gatland said, and that included international sides.


“That is the challenge for us; we must improve dramatically in that area (the breakdown), “said the man who also coached Wales against the Boks last year.


Gatland said that the tourists had been working hard on the defensive mauls this past week.

 

“Both sides were strong with the ball (on Saturday), but not without it,” he said in reference to the changed ELVs pertaining to the maul.

“We’ve worked on that.” “We’ve worked hard on defensive drives at the lineouts, and we must perhaps go in harder as well.”


He emphasised that his team had to be more accurate in their execution, but said that there were a number of things they have not covered yet in training.


“Those we did cover we’re relatively happy with.”


Sapa

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