British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland pleased by tour start

Last Updated: 10/06/13 11:05pm

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Warren Gatland: Pleased with the start made by the Lions

Warren Gatland: Pleased with the start made by the Lions

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British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland is 'very happy' with the start his men have made to the tour of Australia.

The visitors stepped up several gears for Saturday's 22-12 win over a determined Queensland Reds outfit - sustaining a barrage from their hosts in an evenly-matched first half before battling on to record the victory.

When asked whether he was satisfied with the opening three games of the tour, the New Zealander said: "Absolutely. I'm very, very happy.

"Yesterday's game was exactly what we wanted. We would like a couple more lead-in games, and for the first two games to be a bit tougher than they were, but that's what happens on tour - you are not dealing with tough teams all the time - so we will have to see what Tuesday is like.

"The Waratahs (next Saturday's oponents) are missing a lot of players as well, so how tough are they going to be? The Brumbies are different - they will be tough before that first Test."

The Lions face a Queensland-New South Wales Country XV on Tuesday and Gatland is confident his side's set-piece will once again come to the fore, adding: "If you look at the way the Reds played - tactically, maybe Australia will do the same thing - they kept the ball in the park and only had about four lineouts.

"It was like watching Wales play against other teams. I thought our scrum was excellent and the lineout very good defensively. There needs to be a huge amount of credit placed on that part of our game."

Meanwhile, Leicester and England scrum-half Ben Youngs staked his claim for a Test start with a bustling display at Suncorp Stadium, and Gatland said of the conundrum at No. 9: "There is a subtlety Ben brings to the game.

"In the Wales-England Six Nations game (in March) he was the player who caused Wales the most problems around the fringes. He played really well that day.

"He is confident in his own ability, takes the line on and offers a different threat to the other two (Phillips and Conor Murray). It's nice to have two or three players in certain position who are putting their hands up."

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