Rhys Webb believes the Lions will have to step up in class in order to shackle “monster” All Black centre Sonny Bill Williams in the upcoming Test series.
The Wales scrum-half limped out of the 22-16 loss at Eden Park with cramp having been upended in the effort with team-mate Liam Williams to stop the marauding New Zealand midfield star offloading to Ihaia West for the Blues’ winning try.
And he fully expects the former rugby league star to be facing the Lions again in the first Test against New Zealand at the same ground on June 24.
“He’s a monster, isn’t he?” Webb said of Williams. “Everyone knows what he can do; he got them over the gainline and he’s got that class about him.
“We know he’s going to be a threat in a couple of weeks’ time, so it was good to play against him now. He’s special, he’s an athlete, he’s world-class and a big-game player. He showed a couple of glimpses today of what he can do. He’s been out with injury, but he’s coming back into a bit of form now. We need to be on our money to stop him in a couple of weeks’ time.” Despite falling to defeat in the second game of the Lions 10-match 2017 tour, Webb insisted there was no need to make any knee-jerk reactions ahead of game three against the Crusaders in Christchurch this weekend.
“We’re not going to panic; we’re not going to hit the panic button, we’re going to stay positive and look forward to the challenge again on Saturday. We knew it was going to be tough coming over here. These teams are pretty special and the strength in depth they’ve got in these teams is amazing, so we knew it was going to be a challenge and credit to them on the win.
“We didn’t really perform that well last Saturday but we’re not going to chuck these excuses in with jet-lag and stuff like that; we’re professional units. “We knew it was going to be tough over here and that’s what you play rugby for. We’re not going to let our heads go down. We’re going to review the game, learn from it and move on pretty quickly, because we have to against the Crusaders next weekend.” Fellow Welshman Leigh Halfpenny, who kicked four from four off the tee to keep the Lions in the hunt against the Blues, agreed the Lions would have to rebound quickly.
“I think we feel it was an improved performance from the last game but it’s disappointing to lose,” the full-back said.
“But we’ve got to pick ourselves up quickly. We’ve got to go back to the drawing board and look at where we can get better. And get back on the training field to put those things right.”
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