Warren Gatland On Sexton’s Poor Performance & Owen Farrell’s Impact

A tough day at the office.

The Lions opened up their tour of New Zealand with a win over the Provincial Barbarians, but it was far from impressive.

While the players haven’t had much time to prepare and jet lag is no doubt still fresh in their bodies and minds, a lot of players will come away from Whangarei today disappointed with their performance in the famous red shirt.

One player who played particularly bad is Johnny Sexton, who couldn’t have got his tour off to a worse start. The Irish playmaker made a number of errors and was far from his best against the New Zealand side.

Warren Gatland was asked if Sexton’s difficult night leaves him trailing England’s Owen Farrell for the Lions’ Test number 10 jersey, to which he replied:

“I think that’s pretty unfair in making an assessment like that.” Gatland said.
“These guys arrived on Wednesday and are still recovering from travel, they haven’t got into regular sleep patterns yet. We knew it would be difficult in terms of that.
“Owen Farrell has a big match temperament, there’s no doubt. I would have been happier of course if he’d knocked over that one he put against the post, that might have given us an easier last 10 minutes.”
“But he’s played some pretty good rugby in the last 18 months, and he’s one of the standout performers in northern hemisphere rugby anyway.””

Sexton appeared to pick up a knock early in the second-half, but Gatland revealed that he did not remove Sexton on the 48 minute mark as a result of injury.

“No, no he wasn’t [injured] no.”

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