Warren Gatland: Understrength opposition a concern for British and Irish Lions

Last Updated: 05/06/13 11:54pm

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Warren Gatland: Disappointed by the challenge posed by Western Force

Warren Gatland: Disappointed by the challenge posed by Western Force

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British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland admits the strength of opponents is a cause for concern after they crushed Western Force by 69-17.

The Lions built on last weekend's win over the Barbarians by running in nine tries in Perth, but Gatland was disappointed that the Force fielded a weakened team.

"You always want to play against stronger sides," said Gatland. "That's a concern for us at the moment.

"If we're not getting it on the field, we've got to make sure we replicate it in training. That was the big lesson from 2009 in South Africa. We arrived at the first Test and hadn't played a strong enough side.

"These teams are without their Wallabies players so if we're not getting the required intensity in games like tonight, maybe we'll have to do some full-on stuff in training."

Gatland was pleased that his side put in an 80-minute performance against the Force and singled out Leigh Halfpenny after his 100 per cent kicking return.

"Leigh didn't get many easy ones so to hit 11 from 11 was pretty special," said Gatland. "I was pleased with the performance and the guys coming in off the bench made an impact.

"You look at the squad and the challenging thing for us is deciding who we are going to pick for that first Test. There is so much competition and that's incredibly healthy for us."

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