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All Blacks coach responds to Gatland's claims

All Blacks coach responds to Gatland's claims

The Lions need to achieve something they have only done twice before - in 1899 and 1989 - by overcoming a 1-0 deficit in their quest to win a Test series.

Speaking ahead of the match, the Ulsterman said: "More than likely, for most of the players playing, it'll be the last time they pull on a jersey for this tour - potentially the last time they ever pull on a Lions jersey".

Hurricanes wing Nehe Milner-Skudder believes they have named the strongest possible squad to take on the British & Irish Lions tomorrow night at Westpac Stadium.

The Hurricanes are also boosted by the return of All Blacks Julian Savea, Ngani Laumape, Jordie Barrett, and Vaea Fifita. With the test series now underway, most eyes have turned to that contest and a midweek match is more a distraction than a supporting act to the main event.

The Lions head coach accepts his players were bettered in the collisions during a pulsating first Test in Auckland on Saturday, as New Zealand ran out 30-15 winners.

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"I thought that's a little bit unsafe, and after he's kicked he's been pushed a few times, pushed to the ground.So we'll probably just get some clarity from the ref later in the week", said Gatland.

Time will tell, with the second Test team announcement later this week.

"They're not massive issues for us". So we are just making sure he's being protected and not harassed.

If we are a bit more disciplined and we take our opportunities, and we're more alert like with their first try, we are in the game then and putting pressure on them. "When you see someone dive at someone's leg. you feel for the player, it's a little bit concerning that they're not actually trying to charge the kick down, they're nowhere near it".

All Blacks coach Hansen made a rare public reply on Monday, describing Gatland's comments as "desperate". "Last week it was blocking and now he's saying this, but it's really really disappointing to hear it". That is not the case.

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Milner-Skudder says, "I think they've sort of grown leaps and bounds from that first hit-out against the Barbarians a few weeks ago".

"We've never been like that and as a New Zealander I would expect him to know the New Zealand psyche". Hansen suggested Gatland was simply following a pattern of trying to upset the All Blacks and influence referees.

Gatland said that in attempting to negate the Irish halfback's kicking game, the All Blacks were "diving blindly" at Murray's legs with the intention of causing him injury.

"It's just disappointing after such a great Test match, two days later or whatever, he's come out and saying something like that". "We know teams are going after our key players to put them under pressure and to try to shut down our key players".

Henshaw will start at inside centre for Tuesday's Hurricanes clash in Wellington, where he will bid to force his way into Gatland's plans for Saturday's second Test.

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