Purring Lions leave Warren Gatland bullish before All Blacks showdown | Robert Kitson

A rampant win over the Maoris in Rotorua means the tourists head to Eden Park on Saturday with momentum, confidence and the potential to spring a surprise

In rugby, as in politics, a week can be a long time. One minute Steve Hansen is the strong and stable All Blacks guru looking down on poor Warren Gatland, the next the British & Irish Lions are emerging as increasingly serious opposition. It is beginning to feel like the oval-ball equivalent of Theresa May v Jeremy Corbyn.

There was certainly a gleam in Gatland’s eye as he held court in his home town following the Lions’ 32-10 trouncing of the Maori up the road in Rotorua on Saturday. If ever there was a forward display to impress floating voters this was it: in slippery, wet conditions the Maori pack were relentlessly squeezed until they cracked. Boring? As Gatland rightly observed: “I thought it was an outstanding display of rugby and I don’t know what more you can do in sending a message to someone in terms of how good we could be.”

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