Hansen expects same old Gatland

Warren Gatland (Getty)
Warren Gatland (Getty)

Cape Town - All Blacks coach Steve Hansen is not expecting British and Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland to change his team's style of play.

Hansen's side racked up 78 points against Samoa at Eden Park on Friday and face the Lions next weekend in the first of a three-match series.

The Lions clash with the Maori All Blacks on Saturday and despite Gatland hinting that he would forego with his usual direct approach and tactical kicking game, Hansen is not betting on it.

"Do I expect them to do something different tomorrow? Well, he keeps telling us he’s got something up his sleeve other than his arms. We’ll wait to see, but he’s starting to run out of time," Hansen told Wales Online.

"Once you have a style as a coach and it works for you, you stick with it. It’s going to be a big move if he changes.

"You wait 12 years for the Lions to come round, so you don’t want to miss it. We get to watch them tomorrow night play the New Zealand Maori and they will throw the kitchen sink at them, so it will be a big game for them.

"We can’t wait."

Meanwhile, Hansen believes it is likely that Gatland will deploy Owen Farrell at number 12, a position he has played for England under Eddie Jones to great success.

This, despite Gatland and his coaching staff reiterating that Farrell is on the tour to be a flyhalf as opposed to centre. 

Originally named on the bench for the Maori All Blacks clash, Farrell was pulled out due to a grade one quad strain. 

"He's injured at the moment and I think he would be a massive loss," Hansen said.

"He's a world-class player. Where do I think he will play? Probably 12. If he's [Gatland] got something else up his sleeve that might be one.

"They went to a lot of trouble when Jonathan Davies went off the other night to put him at centre.

"It doesn't matter where he plays he's a quality player."

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