“For A Man Of His Size To Move As Well As He Does Is Not Something I Have Ever Seen Before”
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Ireland’s Jack Conan made his British and Irish Lions Test debut at the weekend and it could not have gone any better for the Leinsterman.
Conan was one of the stand out players on the day as the Lions went on to claim a famous 22-17 victory to go 1-0 in their three-Test series with the world champion Springboks.
The 28-year-old partnered Courtney Lawes and Tom Curry in an interesting back-row combination that worked really well on the day and he had nothing but praise for the pair when speaking to us yesterday.
“To be fair to the two lads, they are two incredible players,” Conan said.
“Courtney is a freak athlete. For a man of his size to move as well as he does is not something I have ever seen before and his ability to beat defenders and throw passes, offloads and those little tip passes is top-notch.
“Obviously Tom is a complete freak. His work rate and his energy around the part, he’s the lad who leads the team and I know he’s excited to go again and to have another big performance at the weekend.
“So it was great to play with the two lads. I thought we all complement each other well. There were times when we were all having a sniff going at the ball and leading the defensively, and then knowing when to carry in the wide channels or a bit tighter.
“I thought we all complemented each other really well and we’re excited to have another crack at it this weekend.”
Warren Gatland said the reason Conan was picked for the first Test was because of his incredible accuracy and the fact that he just doesn’t make mistakes. He also noted how calm he was in the build-up after being so nervous for his first Lions game against Japan.
“It’s probably pretty accurate comments from Gats. I was pretty nervous in that Japan week; obviously, new combinations, first game with the lads, first game in a red jersey, first game for me since the 2019 World Cup where I had family and friends at a game so I was pretty nervous for that one,” Conan told us.
“Last week being able to prep for the whole week and not having a Wednesday-Saturday fixture with those short turnarounds, I was pretty nervous on Monday and Tuesday early on, but then we got out and trained and I trained well and I took a lot of confidence from it.
“Come Saturday, I was just ready to go. I thought to myself ‘this is it, this is going to be the moment, there’s no point being nervous. You’ve just got to go out there and be physical.’ And I loved it out there, I really did.
“It was hugely enjoyable and to come out on the right side of a performance was great and looking forward to doing the same again.”