Sean O’Brien On The Lions That Impressed Him The Most After Watching Them Train In Jersey
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Former Ireland and Leinster back-rower, Sean O’Brien paid the Lions a visit in Jersey this week and had some interesting things to say about how they were training and the players that impressed him the most.
The Lions were in Jersey for nearly two weeks ahead of their curtain-raiser against Japan this afternoon and from what we’ve been hearing all week – the camp was a massive success, both on and off the pitch.
Speaking on the brand new Lions edition of House of Rugby, alongside England international Alex Goode and former Lions prop Adam Jones, O’Brien named a few players who he thought looked particularly sharp.
“It was cool watching how the Lions might play and stuff,” O’Brien said.
“There’s a few lads on fire. I thought Dan Biggar was absolutely class in training.
“He was so sharp with handling and his kicking. Little cross fields, little grubbers – everything was just crisp and everything was a hundred miles an hour.
“Some of the Scottish lads were going really, really well too. They were really sharp in training.
“[Conor] Murray was very good, Anthony Watson – incredible in training. His feet and stuff, amazing.
“Al [Alun Wyn Jones] was running the show, leading from the front, keen as mustard.
“Another fella who I thought was very good as well was Robbie Henshaw. I’m delighted he’s training so well and I’m really looking forward to what lies ahead for him.
And while it’s “only” training at the end of the day, Adam Jones pointed out that Gats is very much the kind of coach who values training very highly.
“Gats is one of those coaches you come across who is so big on how well you train,” Jones said.
“He’ll pick people based on how well they’re training.
“If you train well he’ll pick you – or drop you if you don’t. He’s not afraid to make those calls.
In terms of how the squad was training, O’Brien interestingly noted how the Lions seem to be looking to play a more “expansive” game with a lot of unstructured training lead by Scotland head coach Gregor Townsend.
“I think the way they were trying to play is going to be a little bit more expansive definitely. The one thing I saw from training is that there’s a lot of unstructured training with Gregor [Townsend],” O’Brien added.
“I think you’re gonna see a lot of ball movement. He’s said about the squad already, like the back-rowers – he wants them be able to move their feet and be fast. So I assume the game plan is going to be very similar.
“I wouldn’t want to be there now as a player, it would be too tough. And I happily admit that the way they were training. Those boys are flying, they’re big, they’re strong, there’s competition, there’s a bit of niggle.
“You’re gonna need to hit the ground running with this team or you’ll be left behind.”
Be sure to tune in and listen to the whole show which will run for the duration of the tour.