Warren Gatland has warned the British and Irish Lions to expect a backlash from New Zealand after they won the second Test of the series.
Gatland thinks that the All Blacks will be hurting after losing 24-21 over the weekend and he has advised his players not to give their opposition any added motivation ahead of next weekend’s series decider.
However, New Zealand-born Gatland couldn’t resist a dig of his own towards Steve Hansen’s side and insisted that his team are yet to be overwhelmed by the reigning world champions.
“Ironically, this is the best team in the world and, for two Test matches, they really haven’t stressed us,” said Gatland.
“They have squeezed us and made us give away penalties but we haven’t seen the expansive rugby that the All Blacks are known for. We’ve coped with that and, if we can continue to improve in other areas, then we are going to see, hopefully, a great Test match.”
When asked if he expects a fiery response from New Zealand in the third Test Gatland said, “Yes, we have poked the bear but hopefully the wounded Lion from last week is still recovering as well.”
Gatland has said that he thinks his team can raise their game further and achieve a first series win in New Zealand since 1971. In particular he thinks that they can concede less penalties.
He said that “key players” were guilty of giving away “stupid and soft penalties” and that they have to make sure that stops.
The team have now headed to the South Island to relax for a few days before Saturday’s match but Gatland has promised that the team won’t repeat their infamous bar-room antics of six years ago.
“These players are true professionals. They’ll have a couple of quiet beers.”