‘Murray being targeted with dangerous dives’
AUCKLAND — British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland has accused New Zealand players of “diving blindly” at the legs of Conor Murray after the scrumhalf’s box kicks during the first Test.
The All Blacks won Saturday’s match 30-15 despite Murray’s booming kicks again proving an effective weapon for the Lions and Gatland said he would be talking to the match officials about the matter ahead of next week’s second Test in Wellington.
“It’s a little bit tough when you see someone dive at someone’s leg,” he told reporters after arriving in the New Zealand capital on
It’s a little bit tough when you see someone (all Blacks players) dive at someone’s leg Warren Gatland, Lions coach
Sunday. “You feel for the player and it’s concerning that they’re not actually trying to charge the kick down, they’re nowhere near it. They’re diving blindly and hitting someone’s leg.
“For me it’s about protecting the players and making sure they’re safe. That’s my biggest concern. I’ll be asking the officials, to look at that and make sure they protect them.”
While conceding once again that the Lions had lost the battle of the collision at Eden Park, Gatland suggested that the tourists would have been criticised for using the direct approach that won the All Blacks the game.
“They didn’t really play champagne rugby did they? If we had played that way and won the game it would have been interesting to see the reaction,” said the New Zealander.
“I told the guys not to expect them to be expansive because as a Kiwi I understand what the mindset is, to stop the strength of the opposition.” —