Hansen says Lions counterpart Gatland "clutching at straws"

Hansen says Lions counterpart Gatland

It's one thing the coaches believing they can down the All Blacks in New Zealand, it's another the players actually doing so. To see the All Blacks come back and nearly look like they were going to steal it and then for the Irish to, in that last 10 minutes, put them under pressure.

'Okay, Finn didn't play well against England but that was a one-off game when everything that could have gone wrong for Scotland did.

The Lions absentees and possible exclusion of senior players creates the opportunity to run the rule over some of England's highly successful under-20 graduates.

"Every player from 1-23 has to contribute massively in every test match to be able to get the win".

"I grew up in New Zealand". England captain Dylan Hartley was cast aside, while the coach risked the wrath of the entire nation of Scotland by selecting just two members of Vern Cotter's side - citing their away record and, in particular, their performance in defeat to England as justification for the selection call.

Also poised to tour Argentina are prolific try-scoring rugby league convert Denny Solomona, who qualifies for England on residency grounds, and uncapped back-row prospect Sam Underhill.

In 2013, his decision to call-up Tom Court and Shane Williams - both holidaying in Australia - did not go down well.

The Lions' previous trip to New Zealand was in 2005, where they lost all three Tests under the guidance of England's 2003 World Cup-winning coach Clive Woodward.

From the appointment of Tony Blair's spin-doctor Alastair Campbell as press officer to the terrible anthem, customised iPods and Brian O'Driscoll's "tossing the grass" response to the Haka before the first Test, that tour has gone down in the annals as "How not to do the Lions".

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"There's been healthy debate about the squad and now that it's been announced we need to get it behind it 100% and get excited about travelling to New Zealand", Gatland said. He believes a failure to understand the location is a major downfall many touring teams suffer in his homeland.

"That's why we've taken a few extra players than we did in 2013, we just needed to make sure we have the depth and quality in the squad to make sure we can handle the quality of the sides we're coming up against".

"I was in a team meeting ... and at the end they switched over to the live stream and I found out alongside my teammates".

"We are very happy with the quality we have in the squad", said Gatland, who has been involved in the selection process for the past three Lions squads. They were nailed on for us.

"I would like to think (tour manager) John Spencer will speak and follow it by a song, a Welsh speaker, followed by song, someone speaking Irish, followed by song".

"I was at the Blues that day and they'd all been asking if I was going to be captain for weeks".

"They come with massive expectation", he said. However, Best replaced Hartley on the tour after the England hooker was banned for abusing referee Wayne Barnes in the Premiership final.

"But that also fires myself up and hopefully gives the players and the team the motivation to go out there and perform".

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