The new additions to the British and Irish Lions squad has not disrupted the harmony among the players, despite widespread criticism of Warren Gatland’s decision to bring in reinforcements for Tuesday’s clash with the Chiefs by leading names in rugby.
The former Lions head coach Sir Ian McGeechan, who led the team in 2009 with Gatland as one of his assistants, admitted that the addition of four Welsh players and two Scots based on their location “does not quite sit right with me”, while former Lions representative Jonathan Davies labelled Joe Launchbury’s omission “a disgrace”.
Gtaland chose to bring Wales forwards Tomas Francis, Kristian Dacey and Cory Hill along with scrum-half Gareth Davies due to the fact that the national team were already in Auckland on their summer tour, while Finn Russell and Allan Dell have been brought in from the Scotland team in Australia despite the likes of Launchbury, Dylan Hartley, Devin Toner and Danny Care being more obvious call-ups from the England and Ireland squads.
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It led All Blacks head coach Steve Hansen to claim that a “split” has developed in the Lions squad, only for Gatland to completely dismiss his fellow Kiwi’s comments, and Haskell has insisted that the squad do not take notice of the things that are happening off the pitch as they have a big enough task lying ahead of them.
“When the ball is rolling and you are in the mix, you don’t really worry too much about those kind of things,” said Haskell on Monday. “You have got team-mates coming on board, who are buying into what the Lions is about. When they are asked to train, they train as hard as they can and when asked to make account of themselves and deliver a performance they do that. That’s what really matters.
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