British & Irish Lions
Lions want to gather steam
Tue, 04 Jun 2013 09:35
There has been a lot of local chat
The British and Irish Lions are hoping to use their tour match against the Force on Wednesday to continue building momentum ahead of their first Test against the Wallabies.
Warren Gatland's side got their tour off to an encouraging start with a comfortable 59-8 demolition of the Barbarians in Hong Kong, and they are looking for another big win in Perth in a bid to continue building confidence and team unity.
The last time the team was in Perth they smashed a Western Australian XV 116-10, and although they are unlikely to have things as easy this time around against a Force side including six internationals, the tourists will still be aiming for a convincing performance.
With a few brand new combinations in place, the Lions will be focused on their own game as they look to develop a solid understanding between the players ahead of the first Test next weekend in Brisbane.
Assistant coach Graham Rowntree knows that the Force will not allow his team to have things all their own way, but he is feeling confident that they have enough firepower to notch another solid win.
"There has been a lot of local chat about how difficult they want to make this game for us and we've got to meet that challenge," Rowntree said on Tuesday.
"The squad is balanced - we've got good set-piece players who can all pass, catch and defend."
While a win will be crucial to get the tour off on the right foot, Gatland has made it plain he is more concerned with the performance in the build up to the first Test, and Rowntree reinforced this.
"We are very respectful of the opposition but we are wary of getting our detail right and our structures up and running," he said.
"It's about getting those things in place," he explained.
Captain Brian O'Driscoll, who scored the 18th and final try in the thumping of Western Australia 12 years ago, said that the match was about establishing team cohesion and building towards the first Test match.
"We're in a good place, I think we've got a strong squad and there's huge competition for places so you don't want to have any individual or collective bad performances at this stage, you want to try and build towards that first Test match (on June 22)."
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