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'Pretty tasty' - Things boiled over in heated Lions training session

By Ian Cameron

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Inevitably coming into a British & Irish Lions Test week, tensions are going to be high, and so it proved as things boiled over in a heated training session in Cape Town following the internal announcement of Warren Gatland’s Test 23.

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Gatland told the players privately that the who had made the Test team on Tuesday and it led to a tense training session in which a number of disappointed players were keen to vent their selection frustrations on those that had made the Test side.

“I expect the guys to be disappointed and that was the chat,” Gatland told media at yesterday’s press conference. “They should be disappointed in missing out on selection. We have spoken about how it is not just the 23, it’s the whole squad and everyone has been putting up their hand.

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“We are really pleased with the form of a lot of players in the squad and it’s how they respond to that, their responsibility in helping the Test side prepare for Saturday. I must say they have been absolutely brilliant.”

And sure enough, things did boil over after a player was ‘stomped’ on for being the wrong side of a ruck.

“The last couple of training sessions no one has taken a backward step and we had a pretty tasty training session yesterday, a little bit of niggle stuff that was exactly what we wanted. I take my hat off to the guys that were helping that Test team. They really fronted up and trained exceptionally well. You couldn’t ask for more from a coaching perspective.”

“Some of the training sessions have probably been tougher than some of the games,” said Gatland. “We had a bit of “bone on bone” yesterday. It was a pretty tough day with a bit of niggle, as you’d expect. The pleasing thing was that the guys who missed out just threw everything at it.”

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“There was a bit of stomping —standing on someone’s leg and stomping. The guy just had to take a few stomps and get his leg out of the way because he was slowing the ball down. I thought it was brilliant. There were a couple of pushes and shoves. Guys were not backing down.

“You get that in Test match rugby. There was nothing in terms of punches thrown. You just saw guys not being prepared to take a backwards step. It just shows what it means. You have guys who are disappointed and want to show their disappointment by making sure that they don’t go backwards. That sometimes flares up into a bit of niggle.”

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'Pretty tasty' - Things boiled over in heated Lions training session

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