Warren Gatland’s Lions squad has been branded a “slab of red meat” in the Australian media following the announcement of the 37-man party yesterday.
Australians woke up to the news of Gatland’s squad with their press offering an almost unanimous verdict of Gatland’s intentions – he would try to physically intimidate the Wallabies on their home soil.
The Sydney Morning Herald ran with the on-line headline: “No surprise as Gatland opts for slab of red meat”, while The Australian told fans not to expect pretty rugby under the banner: “British and Irish Lions’ candy floss rugby will be hard-coated”.
Forecasting the “Mother of all Battles” it was suggested the likes of England skipper Chris Robshaw and Joe Launchbury were left out to accommodate a bruising group.
“Coach Warren Gatland has surveyed the menu in front of him and opted for red meat – large slabs of it,” wrote Paul Cully in the Sydney Morning Herald.
“There are two ‘late’ inclusions that catch the eye: Irish second-rower Paul O’Connell and Welsh blindside breakaway Dan Lydiate. These are two of the hardest men on the northern scene.
“You suspect Gatland would have stood on front of the plane on the Heathrow tarmac to buy them enough time for them to board.”
Brisbane’s Courier Mail took a slightly different approach and started the pre-tour baiting – highlighting the tourists include “a Kiwi discard and a South African busted for cocaine. No joke”.
The Kiwi reference was to Scotland’s Sean Maitland, the cousin of Australia’s New Zealand-born fly-half Quade Cooper.
Stevens, who grew up in Durban, was given a two-year ban after testing positive for cocaine in 2008.
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