All Blacks Coach Steve Hansen Laughs Off Warren Gatland’s Comparison
The Lions tasted defeat yesterday in just their second game on tour.
Gatland’s men suffered a 22-16 loss at the hands of Sonny Bill Wiliams’ Blues side, the worse ranked New Zealand club in this season’s Super Rugby competition. Up next for the Lions is a match with the unbeaten Crusaders, with the likes of the defending champions the Hurricanes also still to come.
It’s the first time the Lions have face New Zealand’s Super Rugby clubs and it’s a far cry from some of the midweek games of old. Every game is almost a Test game, with Gatland claiming after the defeat yesterday that it’s excellent preparation and that there wont be much of a step up when they take on the All Blacks,
“I don’t think there is going to be a lot of difference between some of the Super Rugby sides and the All Blacks,” said Gatland.
“These guys have been together for seven months and the All Blacks are coming together cold.
“There is a massive amount of strength in depth and I don’t think an awful lot of difference between the teams.”
All Blacks boss Steve Hansen named his squad for the series today and was asked about Gatland’s comments. Hansen laughed off the notion.
“I just think he was trying a bit of humour after struggling a wee bit with his press conference before,” said Hansen.
“I don’t think there’s any comparison between Super Rugby and Test rugby. I don’t know what his thinking is.”
He did however state that he still believes this is the best Lions side to come to New Zealand. Hansen says the ‘kitchen sink’ will be thrown at them in the Test matches.
“I’ve always said this and I still believe it, this is the best Lions side to come here,” said Hansen.
“To be arriving on the Wednesday and playing on the Saturday is just too tough. We wouldn’t do it.
“You can look at the first performance and let it go, and last night there were still guys out there trying to find out who their mate is. They’re in the infancy of this tour, they’ll only get better, and they’ll be a good side when the Tests come round.
“It’s well documented they only want to win the Test matches and Gatland has made that very, very clear. The first Test is all he has his eyes on and I don’t think he’s too bothered about what happens between now and then.
“We won’t be foolish enough to rock up and think we can just expect a soft game. We’ll get the kitchen sink thrown at us.”