At the launch of the new Lions shirt yesterday Warren Gatland fired off a few missiles ahead of the tour.
He has indicated that his coaching selections, to be revealed on December 7th, may include two attack specialists and hinted that Gregor Townsend may well be one of them.
At the same time he indicated that it was unlikely that Vern Cotter would be part of the management team.
He also underlined that how the home nations perform against the Southern Hemisphere in the autumn will be as important as the 6 Nations in forming his squad.
That is a real chance for the Irish players who take on the All Blacks twice in November.
Gatland also took the opportunity to fire off a crtiticism of the New Zealand supporters –
At Tuesday’s launch of the Lions’ kit for next summer, Gatland told the British media: “To be honest with you, and I don’t mind you printing this, I was at Eden Park watching the game a couple of weeks ago and as a Kiwi, I was embarrassed.
“There’s the clown stuff in the Herald. One of the things I’ve been proud of as a Kiwi, I always thought we showed a lot of humility.
“As a Kiwi, I was sitting in the stands watching the game and I was a little bit embarrassed.
“That’s something as New Zealanders, in the past we’ve prided ourselves on that, tried to do that, and tried to be humble about the success of the rugby team.
“It was the first time, and this is just my opinion, that I found myself saying, ‘We’re better than this’.”
I think he’s right on the money – in 2005 we were given a good stuffing by the All Blacks – the New Zealanders I sat next to in the stand and drank with in the bars were great fun and whist there was banter (on both sides) it was never derogatory or viscous.
Immediately demonstrating that Warren was right – the New Zealand Herald showed just how lacking in humility they have become – they reprised the disgraceful Michael Chieka cartoon –
The arrogance from the NZ media in particular is staggering and undermines much of the work by Steve Hansen to present the All Blacks with humility and respect.