New Zealand Media Absolutely Savage The Lions After Disappointing Tour Opener
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No holding back here.
The Lions opened up their tour of New Zealand with a win over the Provincial Barbarians, but it was far from impressive.
While the players haven’t had much time to prepare and jet lag is no doubt still fresh in their bodies and minds, a lot of players will come away from Whangarei today disappointed with their performance in the famous red shirt.
The New Zealand media have been reflecting on the narrow win, and it’s safe to say, they were blunt in their assessments.
The Lions got their heavily predicted opening game victory but it was one that saw them reach unimaginable levels of mediocrity. It was one that saw them embarrassed by a side that had no business putting them under as much pressure as they did and getting so close to a shock victory.
If coach Warren Gatland had a worst case scenario in mind for the Lions performance, his team surpassed it. It was, frankly, a ghastly night for them where, with the exception of Toby Faletau and Ben Teo’o, they spectacularly failed to impress.
And given what lies ahead for the Lions, they’d have to be worried. New Zealand should be worried for them. Maybe even say a little prayer because they need some kind of miracle to survive the next five weeks if what they offered in Whangarei is what they are all about.
There they were, up against a group of hastily thrown together provincial battlers, and…nothing.
In blunt terms the Lions looked incompetent.
To be down 7-3 at halftime, and not take the lead until the 56th minute, was a disgrace to the jersey.
How could a team stacked with nothing but internationals for so long look so leaden footed, so lacking in confidence they took kicks at goal instead of looking for tries from a lineout, so lacking in co-ordination and attacking ideas?
The fireworks which lit up the crisp Whangarei air high above Toll Stadium before this extraordinary match kicked off had little on the collisions against the famous visitors by the players from the second tier of the game here or the shining star quality of one Bryn Gatland.
This, unfortunately for the British and Irish Lions, was a damp squib of a performance in the opening match of their highly anticipated tour.
Anyone seen the Lions?
All Friday night the Northland rain battered the tin roofs of Whangarei and so when morning dawned dreich, it came so no surprise that Warren Gatland’s travelling red army stayed in their tents and campervans. But we did at least expect the Lions players to turn up for the match in the evening.
The Lions did not even have the excuse of a dreadful playing surface. After the torrents which had fallen, we envisaged Toll Stadium to look more like Toll Puddle Stadium, but the top of the ground was perfect. There was no plea to be made for so abject a Lions performance.