Gatland: All Blacks won't be too big a step up

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British and Irish Lions head coach Warren Gatland believes there is no great difference between the quality of New Zealand's Super Rugby sides and that of the All Blacks.

The Lions were beaten 22-16 on Wednesday by the Blues - the team bottom of Super Rugby's New Zealand conference.

But Gatland insists there is no shame in suffering defeat in the tour matches, which he says provide the perfect preparation for the three New Zealand Tests.

"I don't think there's going to be a huge amount of difference in quality between the Super Rugby sides and the All Blacks," he told Sky Sports.

"There's so much depth in this country.

"These teams have been together for a full season.

"For us, it was an improvement [in performance compared to the victory over the Provincial Barbarians] and I think we'll see more on Saturday as well.

"I don't think it'll be a huge step up from these Super Rugby sides. It'll give us great preparation heading into the All Blacks.

"You look back at 2013, winning warm-up games by 60 or 70 points isn't preparation for a Test match.

"This is brilliant preparation for the next few weeks."

The Lions face Super Rugby leaders the Crusaders in Christchurch on Saturday.