Gatland chats selection and tactics

Gatland chats selection and tactics

As Warren Gatland rang the changes for the third and final Test on Saturday, the 57 year-old said that the goal would be to play more rugby than in the second Test which saw the Lions defeated 27-9 at the hands of the Springboks. 


Gatland made 6 changes to his squad, bringing Liam Williams into the fullback role while fellow Welshman Josh Adams is finally given a chance on the wing. Bundee Aki comes into the inside centre channel to partner Robbie Henshaw while Ali Price gets his second start of the series as he replaces Conor Murray.  


Amongst the forwards, another Welsh duo in Wyn Jones and Ken Owens are welcomed into the side to cover the loosehead and hooking berths respectively.  


The Lions employed plenty of kicking tactics last weekend but to no avail, leading them to attempt a new approach. 


“We just felt that there were certain things from the weekend in terms of, particularly the aerial battle. We just got nothing out of that. 


“That was one of the areas. 


“We were disappointed with the last 20 minutes when we gave away eight penalties, four of them we considered were pretty needless and ones that we shouldn't have given away. 


“We're not complaining about the result, in fairness to South Africa they finished strongly. It was a tight game. We were happy with the first half and where we were (leading 9-6 at half-time). At 60 minutes on the clock there's nothing in the game.” 


Gatland delved deeper into his selection decisions: 


“We just felt that Wyn Jones was very unlucky, he picked up that injury in the first Test. He's fit and it's that combination between Wyn and Ken in the front row. Ali did pretty well in the first Test so we've swapped our nines around. 


“Bundee and Robbie have a pretty familiar combination and the midfield has always been a bit of a debate for us. We looked at the physicality that Bundee brought in the (South Africa) A game and the combination of those two working together. It gives Robbie the chance to move one out. 


“We definitely want to play some more rugby and we just didn't get that opportunity in the second half. 


“The first-half we got some of the bounces we did in the first test in terms of the aerial stuff. Basically we got nothing from the air in the second half. 


“South Africa kicked the ball 22 times in the second half, we've only kicked it 10 times. We've tried to go out there, get some momentum and play some rugby, but we just never got into the game in that last 20 minutes or so. 


“That's why there have been the changes. Finn Russell comes onto the bench because he's a little bit different. The two 10s are very good at what they do but are quite similar and he offers us something different.” 




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