Published: Sun, April 23, 2017
World | By Tasha Manning

Warburton leads Lions on toughest mission

Warburton leads Lions on toughest mission

Former Scotland and Lions hooker Gordon Bulloch felt his countrymen's sparse representation in Warren Gatland's squad was somewhat predictable given the lack of influence among selectors.

The Wales back-row was named skipper when Lions coach Warren Gatland announced a 41-man squad Wednesday for the three-Test series in June and July.

There have been suggestions that the decisions by Gregor Townsend and Jason O'Halloran to reject the dubious honour of being assistant attack coach to Welshman Rob Howley may have cost some Scots in the final selection meetings, but McLauchlan reckons both were correct to knock back the Lions. He said: "They should be nervous because there are fresh players coming through".

"I said to the staff and I'll say to the players to go and watch a couple of New Zealand films".

The selection is another milestone on an already incredible CV for Te'o, who only switched to union in 2014, having represented the Junior Kiwis in rugby league, as well as Samoa at senior level and Queensland in State of Origin. 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. He'll undoubtedly be very, very disappointed, but what's struck me is how resilient he is. And probably the greatest strength that Scotland have had is probably their collective performance.

"Vern Cotter could've been part of his coaching squad - he hasn't asked him", said Telfer.

"Obviously people are wondering why I wasn't Welsh captain but now I'm Lions captain", said Warburton, who is currently out with a knee injury. They could have been well up a bit earlier.

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"It won't really affect how Scotland play in the future and we can look to the future with with a fair amount of optimism".

"We have to get on with our job, make sure our game is as good as it can be as soon as it can be, and make sure that we've got as much covered as we possibly can".

The weekend's ninth round contains no matches between New Zealand teams and only one derby match in any conference, between South Africa's Bulls and Cheetahs. "We have to perform away from home, that's going to be paramount".

Former Wales head coach Gatland is joined by England's Steve Borthwick and Graham Rowntree, Ireland's former England worldwide Andy Farrell and Wales coaches Rob Howley and Neil Jenkins in his coaching team.

"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.

"And the Irish have shown for a number of years that they have gone deep into Europe and won European cups, so they have the pedigree that way".

"If you look at the quality of the teams we are playing midweek, it is going to be hugely challenging".

Jonny and Richie Gray were missing from Scotland's sparse two-man contingent, while Donnacha Ryan was also absent, George Kruis, Maro Itoje, Courtney Lawes, Iain Henderson and Alun Wyn Jones the preferred options.

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