Belfast Telegraph

Friday 19 December 2014

Croft: We'll keep our cool

Tom Croft says the Lions will not react to rough tactics
Tom Croft says the Lions will not react to rough tactics

Tom Croft has no doubt the British and Irish Lions will retain their watertight discipline heading into a Test series confrontation with Australia.

Lions head coach Warren Gatland praised his players for staying calm in the heat of battle against New South Wales Waratahs on Saturday. The Lions did their talking on the scoreboard, winning 47-17 to make it five wins from five heading into Tuesday's Canberra appointment with the Brumbies.

"We are not going to be bullied as a side," Leicester and England flanker Croft said.

"We are not going to start taking backward steps because bigger boys are pushing and throwing punches.

"There is no point throwing punches and being banned from the next couple of weeks because you are missing out on that big prize of the Tests at the end of the tour.

"You try and take it to them (opposition) in terms of the scrum and line-out, in terms of the physical contact side, take it to them legally.

"There were a lot of off-the-ball things and off-the-ball blocking (yesterday) which guys tend to get at their clubs in the Premiership and they could react to and lash out. But it has been made clear from the start there is no point lashing out at a small, insignificant thing and getting banned from the Tests."

Croft, a tryscorer against the Waratahs, appears well on course to be named in Gatland's first Test team on Thursday. And it would complete a stunning comeback from breaking his neck only 14 months ago, an injury that initially placed question marks against his future career prospects.

"Every game this whole tour has been an absolute bonus for me," he added. "As I've said right from the start in terms of selection, every time I get to put that jersey on it's a massive high for me.

"It would be an absolutely massive achievement (to make the Test team). You want to have the first chance at having a go at the Aussies and to be a Test-cap Lion. The guys playing here are technically classed as tourists. You want to be a Test-cap Lion, and that is the goal for every Lion who has come on this tour."

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