Monday 6 February 2023 Dublin: 9°C
INPHO/Dan Sheridan Lions' Conor Murray and Simon Zebo in the dressing room.
# Lions 2013
Gatland: Test places still up for grabs after win in Melbourne
The majority of the Lions’ second-string were in action against the Rebels this morning.

BRITISH AND IRISH Lions coach Warren Gatland says there are still opportunities for his players to press their Test selection claims.

The majority of the Lions’ second-string were in action against the Rebels this morning and a 35-0 victory showed there are plenty of players ready to step in should Gatland decide to reshuffle his pack ahead of the second Test against Australia in Melbourne.

Gatland did not elaborate on whether his plans for the Wallabies had altered following the Rebels clash, but he did suggest there will be opportunities for fringe players before the end of the tour.

“We probably thought that we might make a few changes (for the second Test) so we articulated that to the squad to say ‘your tour is not over’,” Gatland said.

“The message to the players was there was opportunity to be part of the 23 for Saturday. “There is still an opportunity for people to be involved as there is still two games and if you look at the attritional rate from last Saturday. And there is bound to be a few more injuries between now and the final Test.”

Gatland was impressed with the Lions’ performance against the Rebels, particularly with the way some of his players responded to last week’s shock warm-up loss to the Brumbies. The New Zealander heaped particular praise on Richie Gray, Richard Hibbard and Manu Tuilagi for their efforts against the Rebels, although he admitted that the entire squad had impressed him while on tour.

“These guys have been fantastic ambassadors for the four home unions,” he said. “Everyone back home should be really proud of the way they have conducted themselves both on and off the field. “Tonight they kept working hard and for me the most pleasing thing was the spirit displayed.

“It really came out today how good these guys have been both on and off the field.”

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Gatland confirmed that Englishman Alex Corbisiero (calf) and Welshman Jamie Roberts (hamstring) were unlikely to feature in the second Test as they continue to recover from their respective injuries, but the duo should be available for the final match of the tour, in Sydney on 6 July.

“Both of them should be fine for the third Test, but at this stage…they are unlikely,” Gatland said.

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