All Black manager fires warning at Lions.
Ahead of the upcoming Lions tour of New Zealand, All Blacks Head Coach Steve Hanson has seemingly begun the mind games. Hansen’s men have been installed as favourites to win the series this summer but he has been quick to put pressure on the Lions squad and Warren Gatland.
“The Lions would be foolish to think that there’s not an expectation there for them to do well. There will be a massive expectation on them.
“If you’re a Lions fan, you’d look at it and say, ‘We’ve got four countries going into one against the opposition, we should be able to beat these blokes’.”
Gatland is no stranger to mind games and will be desperate to get one over Hansen. Gatland has picked arguably the strongest Lions squad of all time and has plenty of back up at home should injuries become a factor, with Garry Ringrose recently name checked as potential back up.
Furthermore, Hansen singled out Leinster and Irish Lion Johnny Sexton for his tackling against the All-Blacks last November. After being famously been beaten in Chicago, the All-Blacks played at a huge intensity in Dublin, with some arguing that some should have seen the bin.
Yet Hansen argued that the Irish, and Sexton in particular, gave as good as they got,
“It was a physical game but we went at Ireland no harder than they went at us. They were pretty quick to point out what we did but no-one was pointing out the stuff they did.
“In a game of rugby there are going to be some things that go the way they shouldn’t go because it is a dynamic, physical, moving game.
“Malakai’s high tackle was a high tackle. Is it our fault the ref saw it as a yellow card? But yet he didn’t yellow card Sexton for taking other people’s heads off.
“A lot was made of it all but I think it was just a really good game of Test rugby, with two teams hell-bent on playing well and going for the win.”
With the mind games beginning already with over three weeks until the tour begins, expect some fireworks when the Lions touch down in New Zealand.
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