Gatland concerned by targeting of Lions scrum-half Murray


What do Warren Gatland's side need to improve if they are to win in Wellington next Saturday?

"They're actually diving blindly and hitting someone's leg".

At a press conference on Sunday, following the announcement of the Lions team to play the Hurricanes on Tuesday, Warren Gatland highlighted an element of the first Test which concerned him: the All Blacks' treatment of Conor Murray.

Gatland didn't name names but he felt Murray, whose box kicking was one effective weapon for the Lions, was being put at risk by All Blacks looking to charge down his punts and rough him up.

"The one concern for me was that there were a couple of times from Conor Murray where there was a charge down where someone dived at his legs", said Gatland.

He said he would also seek "clarity" over the All Blacks' sacking of the Lions lineout. And after he's kicked he's been pushed a few times, and pushed to the ground.

"We know there are a lot of players motivated to go out and get a result for the whole group".

"You have to adjust in the game, you can only assume what they're going to bring each week and it's about how we adapt on the run", he said.

The Wales global and Lions full-back, who joins European champions Saracens later this summer, left New Zealand defenders trailing in his wake as the Lions briefly stunned the world champions at Eden Park.

Ahead of the first test, Gatland asked the referees to look at what he claimed was the All Blacks using "blocking" tactics to protect kicking receivers.

However, Williams did spill two high kicks which the Lions were made to pay for by a clinical Kiwi side at Eden Park.

He chuckled at a question about the All Blacks' direct rather than expansive style.

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"But, overall, we have a game plan as a team and play to that".

"It wasn't a surprise the way they came at us, we've got to learn from that and be better and expect more of the same on Saturday".

New Zealand suffered a degree of back division disruption - full-back Ben Smith went off for a head injury assessment, while centre Ryan Crotty departed with a leg injury and Anton Lienert-Brown took over - as Farrell and Barrett exchanged penalties.

Gatland has retained the same forward pack from that game in Hamilton while Greig Laidlaw and Dan Biggar provide continuity in the halves.

Red herrings and tongue-in-cheek statements aside, the coach, however, is more likely to shift Israel Dagg back to fullback, where he has played the majority of his 63 test caps.

In midfield, Jonathan Joseph, so close to a place in the Test 23 on the weekend, has a chance to reprise his relationship with Robbie Henshaw but they will have a busy night with the explosive 'Canes duo Vince Aso and Ngani Laumape facing them.

'I've played 15 for Exeter this year, ' said Nowell, whose regular role is on the wing.

Gatland also said that Lawes "has done very well on this tour". They are available for second test selection.

"This week is really, really important for us".

Chat live with Mark Reason about the Lions tour from midday on Tuesdays and Fridays.

He has named the experienced Rory Best as his skipper and was in no doubt that the onus is on the squad to continue the momentum kick-started against the Chiefs a week ago and give the Test team an adrenalin-shot.

George North's match-up with Julian Savea and Nehe Milner-Skudder is going to be particularly interesting.