Sean O'Brien cleared to face New Zealand after citing case dismissed

Posted July 03, 2017

Gatland is expecting a furious backlash from the All Blacks, who will be without Sonny Bill Williams after he was banned for four weeks for his red card on Saturday.

Williams' act changed the nature of not only the test but also the series, and while he has the mental strength and maturity to bounce back from it, others younger and with less experience may not.

"There's always been an edge. but in tonight's game that amplified things, so heading into next week's going to be exciting".

"The All Blacks were very effective in the third quarter and squeezed penalties out of us".

"We responded to our performance from last week, and no doubt they will do the same next week. We've got to up it again next week", he said. Obviously the Sonny Bill Williams red card was significant.

Gatland said he trusted his players to not get carried away during their brief break in Queenstown.

The Lions had to overcome a lot to defeat the All Blacks on Saturday night, and in doing so managed something many in the global game have never done. Farrell, whose kicking was sharp in the first half, did not come close with the conversion.

That should have been the match over, but the hosts fought hard and were only overtaken in the final few minutes, scoring two tries to level the score before kicking a penalty in the final few minutes to snatch a 24-21 victory.

"We have some sore bodies, but nothing serious to report".

"It was just the beginning and the end which cost us".

"I thought the combination of our loose forwards was excellent and the guys coming off the bench did a good job too". We sit there and show them that we can't be doing this. It's been an incredibly united group of players.

"You've got to have priorities and, if the Lions is the priority, that's the way it has to be". "I think he has been outstanding".

That's how Lions skipper Sam Warburton sees the situation as his side heads into Saturday's series decider at Eden Park.

Sir Graham Henry has backed Warren Gatland as a future All Blacks coach.

New Zealand has already lost midfielder Ryan Crotty to a hamstring strain suffered in the first test at Auckland, which it won 30-15.

Uncompromising Leinster forward O'Brien impressed in the second Test win, and he is set to be a key part of Gatland's plans at Eden Park. I will genuinely only be happy if we get that Test series win.

"After the first Test they were down, hurting". We have to keep reiterating that point to the players.

"We improved in certain areas and will look to improve further".

"There is no genuine test match that doesn't challenge you physically and mentally and it is great for rugby".