Lions in Australia

Gatland hails Lions 'guts'

2013-06-08 17:39
Warren Gatland (Gallo Images)

Brisbane - Head coach Warren Gatland praised a gutsy effort by the British and Irish Lions on Saturday after they held off a fierce assault by the Queensland Reds to register their third straight win.

Gatland said the tough 22-12 victory, in a Test-style atmosphere at the venue where the Lions will play Australia on June 22, was just what his players needed after two big scorelines against the Barbarians and Western Force.

"It was exactly what we wanted," Gatland said. "We knew we were going to be a little bit heavy, or flat physically in the legs. It was a reminder to the players of what it means to an opposition team playing against the Lions."

In front of 50,000 fans at Brisbane's Suncorp Stadium, the Reds flew out of the blocks and established an early lead after a brilliant solo try from Luke Morahan.

Scrum-half Nick Frisby also went over in the second half as the Reds scored two tries to the Lions' one. But a steady six-from-six kicking performance from fly-half Owen Farrell helped the visitors over the line.

"They came at us at 100 miles an hour in that first 20 minutes and the boys soaked up the pressure," Gatland said.

"From that point of view it was exactly what we wanted, realisation for the players about what it means to Australian players.

"And for us to soak up the pressure, and guts it out and come up with a win, I'm very proud of that performance."

The win came at a cost with Irish wing Tommy Bowe ruled out of the tour with a suspected broken hand -- the third casualty in two days, after props Gethin Jenkins (calf) and Cian Healy (ankle).

But centre Manu Tuilagi was cleared of serious injury after leaving the field after 19 minutes. And the performance of Farrell, whose handling errors and brittle temper caused concerns against the Barbarians, also cheered Gatland.

"I thought he was great today," Gatland said of the young Englishman. "His composure, goal kicking, he ran well. Strong defensively.

"If he's not quite on form in one game, you rarely see that backed up the next time."

The Lions will be seeking their first Test series win since 1997 when they play their three games against Australia on June 22, June 29 and July 6.

NEXT ON SPORT24X

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

Vote

The Wallaby v British & Irish Lions series is tied at 1-1 heading into the final Test in Sydney on Saturday. Who do you foresee taking series honours?

 
 
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured Blog

The stock of Bulls and Sharks 2014 Super Rugby jerseys are slowly becoming available after the festive season break, writes blogger Baylion.

Latest blogs
 

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

TV schedule Plan your couch time with our searchable sport TV guide

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.