British and Irish Lions: Gatland happy players kept cool

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Coach Warren Gatland was delighted that his Lions had not reacted to provocation yesterday and promised the management would not enter any war of words off the pitch in the run-up to the Test series against the Wallabies.

The Lions kept their cool despite some questionable tactics from the Waratahs, particularly targeting the Lions halfbacks.

“The big key in this game was keeping our discipline,” Gatland said. “It would have been easy for someone taken late to lose their head and throw a punch and that be picked up and you be cited… so from that point of view I think our discipline was absolutely fantastic.

“There was a little shoulders and charges and guys being taken late.

“That’s rugby, people trying to unsettle us a little bit and we have to accept that but it’s how you respond to that sort of niggle and I thought our guys were brilliant and a credit to that Lions jersey.”

British teams coming to Australia always have to contend with the tag “whinging Poms” if they raise any questions about illegal play from the opposition and Gatland, pictured, said the 2013 party had made it a policy to avoid such accusations.

“One of the things we said when we came out here was we weren’t going to bitch and moan about it,” he said.

“We were just going to take it on the chin and I think we’ve demonstrated that, I thought our discipline was very good tonight.

“We’re not going to get involved with accusations against the opposition, we just want to go out there and play some hard, physical rugby.”

The Lions were also subject to a verbal onslaught from Bob Dwyer in the media yesterday, the former Wallabies coach labelling them serial cheats. Dwyer, who guided Australia to their maiden World Cup triumph in 1991, told The Australian newspaper the Lions were cheating at the scrum, the breakdown and in loose play. “One comment I’d like to make after having seen the Lions in action on tour is that it doesn’t come as any surprise they’re coached by a New Zealander because they play outside the laws of the game as every New Zealand side does,” said the veteran.

“I think it’s a sad indictment on the media world that they’ve rolled out Bob Dwyer,” Gatland said. “I think he deserves more respect for what he has achieved in the game to be honest with you.

“I don’t think he knows much about Twitter or Facebook and stuff, so to see the tirade of abuse that he has now been subjected to on websites, I find that sad because he doesn’t deserve that for what he has achieved in the game.”

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