Race for Lions Test places hotting up

Tue, 11 Jun 2013 18:37
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British and Irish Lions lock Ian Evans believes the battle for Test jerseys is hotting up after the tourists trounced a Combined Country XV on Tuesday.

British and Irish Lions lock Ian Evans believes the battle for Test jerseys is hotting up after the tourists trounced a Combined Country XV on Tuesday.

Warren Gatland's men ran in 10 tries and kept their opposition to nil with a dominant performance in Newcastle, which maintained their 100 percent tour record.

And Wales second row Evans reckons the whole squad once again put their hands up to claim a starting spot against Australia.

"It was a big test and we needed to work them really hard," said Evans.

"They came at us, we had to stick to our patterns and we came through.

"It's another test that we have come through - everyone is trying to put their hands up for the Test jerseys."

While the scoreboard at Hunter Stadium reflected a handsome win for the Lions there was still plenty left to work on.

At several points the line-out misfired and a new tactic of moving the ball out of contact was clearly evident.

Evans admits the tourists are always evolving and insists mistakes are a collective responsibility.

"We will take it as a whole pack not as individuals," added Evans

"It's just little things to iron out and we will do that this week in training.

"We don't want to be a one-dimensional team. We want to keep defences as honest as possible. If we can get a pass out wide it's making them work harder.

"It's always enjoyable when you have to stay focuses on the gameplan and not get too loose. We had to stay focused on our goals and we did that."

Scotland utility back Stuart Hogg, a surprise choice at No.10, weighed in with a try and four conversions and was pleased with his first start at flyhalf since 2009.

"The last time I played at flyhalf was in 2009 for my club, Hawick. I enjoyed stepping up there though," said Hogg.

"When you've got the likes of [Brian] O'Driscoll and [Jamie] Roberts outside you it's going to make your job a lot easier.

"I was a bit nervous coming into this game having not played 10 for a long time but I settled in pretty well and enjoyed it, which is the main thing.

"As the game went on I was getting more and more relaxed and that's exactly what I want it to be like, I want to enjoy my rugby and it showed out there.

"We went out to win and try things. In the first half I thought we were clinical and ruthless, but in the second half we started to force things and the scoreboard wasn't as high.

"We're high in confidence just now, that's four wins from four, we're in a good place and now it's all about building, setting more targets and achieving them."

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