Unknown Barbarians happy to fly under radar against Lions
- Author: Julie Sanders Jun 04, 2017,
Jun 04, 2017, 3:03
Few, if any, of the New Zealand Barbarians side to face the British and Irish Lions on Saturday have any kind of profile outside their provinces but that does not mean the tourists are in for an easy ride, according to captain Sam Anderson-Heather.
Many of the Lions squad had been involved in club play-off games in the two weekends prior to their departure for New Zealand, meaning Gatland had little time to prepare his squad for their arduous 10-game tour.
Leinster pivot Sexton branded the imperious Farrell "favourite to start somewhere" when the Lions finally open the three-Test series against New Zealand on June 24.
"I hope so", said Gatland.
"I think it's a clean slate".
While a loss by 40 or 50 points might have been considered an acceptable effort, the Provincial Barbarians fully stretched the Lions, ended the match on attack and came close to pulling off a huge rugby upset.
Jones insisted the Lions' biggest responsibility in New Zealand lies not with the potent squad living up to its billing on paper - instead he believes the 2017 squad must continue to safeguard the future of the famed touring side.
The Baa-Baas boasted a 7-3 lead at the interval, Bryn Gatland converting Anderson-Heather's score, and Sexton posting a penalty as the Lions' paltry reply.
"I think they can take a few tactics from the way Ireland played against the All Blacks in Chicago", he added.
"To get the result not go our way at the end, looking at the boys, was honestly a bit disappointing, which kind of shows the way we played and the respect we got".
"Look, it was a tough hit out for us but there were some positives and things to work on for us too".
The provincial Barbarians, meanwhile, used first-five Bryn Gatland's kicking game to good effect and stuck to the invitational club's champagne-rugby tradition.
"They tested us and it's better to have that than a 50 point game".
That ended up as the half-time score as the Lions, whenever they scented a try, threw away the chance of scoring.
"With the advent of professionalism there's always going to be that question on the Lions' future, because it's businesses as well as organisations putting money into players, and they need to be represented".
"I know from the players who were involved with Graham Henry in 2001 - he lost half the team on day one because he went "you guys over here, and you guys over there".