The Lions’ tour of New Zealand got off to a victorious, if unimpressive start, on Saturday as they made hard work of the Provincial Barbarians in a 13-7 win.
Indeed, they went in at the half-time break 7-3 down, before they finally woke up in the second and scored ten unanswered points (including a try from England’s Anthony Watson).
While some of the players can consider themselves to have had solid opening matches (and you can read our take on that here), there were moments throughout that, be it through nerves or jet lag, showed that serious improvements are going to have to be made ahead of the first All Blacks test at the end of this month.
One such example came from Greig Laidlaw. The Scotland is already in a fighting battle for the scrum-half position with Conor Murray and Rhys Webb, and while his overall performance was relatively good (especially in the second half), one incident in particular sticks out like a sore thumb.
What is Laidlaw doing here?! That prop coming across doesn’t even make the NEXT phase, could have made a break for the line… pic.twitter.com/pUxQujRenz
— RugbyInsideLine (@RugbyInsideLine) June 3, 2017
Collecting the ball from the scrum, Laidlaw decided to make the short pass to Iain Henderson, who is promptly charged down. However, had he looked up he would have seen that there was a huge gap for him to run through. Even more damningly, it looks as though Henderson was already in the process of being tackled when he was receiving the ball, while Laidlaw himself would still have been free to run through had he seen the gap.
The ball eventually came to Stuart Hogg but by then the chance was gone.
While this might seem like a relatively minor error in isolation, competition for places is so stiff that one slip can put a player even further behind others when it comes to Gatland’s calls for the test matches.
[gravityform id=”1″ title=”true” description=”true”]