Warburton to captain Lions; no place for Hartley, Launchbury

Rufina Vignone
Aprile 29, 2017

"We had a good discussion about the midfield and I said to the rest of the coaches that we can't leave Jonathan Joseph out", Gatland said.

British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland has named his squad for the tour to New Zealand this summer.

"I think Saracens have been masters over the last period of time of playing the game in front of them, no matter where they are playing". "Dylan also missed out [through suspension] in 2013, so you've got to feel for him", said Gatland.

Owen Farrell is present as one of three fly-halves alongside Johnny Sexton and Dan Biggar and Gatland believes the kicking tee is a department in which the Lions should be able to master over the All Blacks.

"I think it is about the belief as a squad, belief in your team-mate at the side of you and belief in yourself when you go out there". Jonny Gray had a great chance, Hamish Watson had a good chance, Finn Russell had a great chance.

After a hard few weeks of injury and indifferent form for the Ospreys, however, Biggar felt his Lions selection was in the balance.

The key games included Scotland's trip to Twickenham this year, when the Scots' expectations were shattered by a crushing 61-21 defeat, while Glasgow also suffered a heavy loss in their European Champions Cup quarter-final against Saracens, although they had twice thrashed Leicester to get there.

"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 (which includes all five New Zealand Super Rugby franchises) it's going to be hugely challenging", said Gatland.

"There's no doubt that Scotland have done very well".

It's disappointing to see such low Scottish representation generally given how well they performed at the Six Nations. And probably the greatest strength that Scotland have had is probably their collective performance. They (Ireland) should have won the game with goal kicking, but we did with a guy kicking from the sideline.

"Obviously I'm hugely proud and over the moon but pretty surprised as well". They could have been well up a bit earlier.

"It used to be the home team didn't get the players to a few days before the game. If Justin Tipuric or Sean O'Brien are playing better than him we make that selection from a coach's point of view".

"If you can understand New Zealand, the intensity of the place and the opposition it makes us better prepared and it's those small things that will make us better on the field".

Rory Best, Ken Owens, and Jamie George were all selected ahead of Hartley whose exclusion went down as one of the biggest shocks.

"I think this is the best British and Irish Lions that we've seen come here for a long, long time", Hansen told reporters at Christchurch's Rugby Park on Thursday.

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