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Gatland reflects on mixed showing

Warren Gatland reflected on a mixed performance by the British and Irish Lions in their latest Australia tour match, and said: "It was a lot of use."

Although the Lions predictably crushed a Combined Country XV of mostly part-time players 64-0 at Hunter Stadium, scoring 10 tries, the second-half display contained a number of uncharacteristic errors.

"It was a lot of use," said Lions head coach Gatland, who was short and to the point with his post-match press conference answers. "That team only had one training session together. There was some excellent stuff, and there was some average stuff as well. There were a few turnovers."

He added: "There is great harmony within the squad. We are undefeated, so if we can win the next two games we will arrive in Brisbane undefeated. We will be in a good positive frame of mind."

The Lions led 38-0 at half-time, but the second period was low-key in comparison, even though the tourists ended up with tries from George North (two), Richard Hibbard, Alex Cuthbert, Stuart Hogg, Jonathan Davies, Leigh Halfpenny, Conor Murray, Brian O'Driscoll and Sean O'Brien.

Gatland, meanwhile, said that wing Tommy Bowe remains hopeful of being fit for the second Test in Melbourne on June 29, and currently remains with the squad.

Bowe underwent surgery on his hand last Sunday, and his Ireland team-mate Simon Zebo has arrived in Australia as injury cover.

Country XV coach Cameron Blades said: "At times in the first half it was rabbits in highlights and we struggled to react, especially when there was turnover ball. They cut us apart a few times.

"But there was really positive talk in the changing room at half-time, and I thought that showed in the second half. I think the Wallabies will learn a lot out of tonight. We had four props in our squad who have not played any higher than premier club rugby.

"They are an outstanding side, the Lions. We showed a little bit in the second half that if you can get in their face they can make errors. But they are a slick outfit - it is going to be a cracking series."


From Belfast Telegraph