Warren Gatland’s Comments About Jack Conan Might Make Some People See Sense

Jason Hennessy

Jason Hennessy

Jason is the editor here at RugbyLAD and a proud Limerick man.
Jason Hennessy

Accurate.

The British and Irish Lions got their Test series against the Springboks off to the perfect start on Saturday with a 22-17 win in Cape Town.

The tourists trailed 12-3 at half-time but came out a different side in the second half, scoring an early try through Luke Cowan-Dickie before getting a real foothold in the game and going on to claim a famous victory.

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Despite this, many fans and pundits are calling for Warren Gatland to make a number of changes for the second Test, and while we agree, for the most part, one such suggested change has us scratching our heads.

A lot of people, including former Lions captain Sam Warburton, are calling for Jack Conan to be dropped in favour of Taulupe Faletau, despite the Irishman impressing on Saturday evening.

“I would put Faletau at No. 8,” Warburton said on the Sky Sports panel after the match.

You’ll find a lot of people on social calling for the same change, but Gatland’s comments about Conan after the game might make people see some sense.

“Jack did what he does well, and it was the reason we picked him – he doesn’t make mistakes,” Gatland told us.

“He’s incredibly accurate. He takes those kick-offs, he’s got some good footwork, he got us some go-forward, and he does a lot of the unspectacular stuff that you need in a forward pack to get the balance right…

“We’re really pleased with his performance; it was incredibly solid. He’s just continued to improve and improve in this environment. He’s like a sponge, in terms of gaining knowledge. He asks really good questions, he takes on information well. We’re really pleased with his development.

“I know the first game he played, he was incredibly nervous about his first hot-out. He’s one of those players that does get pretty nervy before a game but, this week, he seemed calmer and a lot more assured.

“I think it has given him a lot of confidence and self-belief in his own performances.”

Gatland literally described him as the perfect Test match player. Don’t expect to see him lose that eight jersey for the second Test.