The British and Irish Lions are continuing preparations for their first Test against the All Blacks on June 24 and ahead of their clash with the Maori All Blacks on Saturday, coach Warren Gatland has lifted the lid on the storm that is building between his forwards and backs.
Speaking to the media on Thursday, Gatland revealed that the backs are none too pleased with the forwards following a mischevious post-training incident perpetrated by, allegedly, England’s Mako Vunipola.
??"The backs weren't too happy coming from training this morning…" #ShoelaceGate
— British & Irish Lions (@lionsofficial) June 15, 2017
These appear to be the kind of shenanigans that make the Lions tour special, with international rivals coming together for a common purpose, bonded by mutual respect, friendship and a penchant for light-hearted juvenile antics.
It also suggests the squad are in a relaxed mood ahead of their fifth game in two weeks and are fast becoming a well-bonded unit.
Facing what is an incredibly strong Maori side on Saturday, the Lions will certainly need to be singing from the same hymn sheet or they could be facing a third tour defeat.
Gatland has named perhaps his strongest side to date, with many of those who smothered the free-scoring Crusaders last weekend getting the nod once more.
Many expected the latest teamsheet to be a hat tip towards the side that will line-out to face the All Blacks on June 24th. As such, the performance this weekend will be scrutinized far more rigorously than any of the Lions previously matches.
Hopefully, losing a few shoelaces won’t distract the Lions speedsters from the task at hand.
Gary Brennan, Pundit Arena
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