Hansen warns Gatland is running out of time to prepare for All Blacks


Steve Hansen stepped up the war of words with Warren Gatland by stating that his compatriot is running out of time to get the British and Irish Lions in shape to face New Zealand.

The All Blacks warmed up for the first of three Tests against the Lions next Saturday by dishing out a brutal 78-0 hammering to Samoa at Eden Park on Friday.

Gatland's Lions lost to Blues and Highlanders in two of their four tour matches so far and can expect to be targeted by the Maori All Blacks on Saturday.

New Zealand head coach Hansen again called the Lions' credentials to challenge his side into question after the world champions' rout of the Pacific Islanders in Auckland.

"Like them, we have a style we like to play and we use the ball a lot," said Hansen. "We have some skilful people when we do that.

"Do I expect them to do something tomorrow [versus the Maori All Blacks]? Well, he keeps telling us he's got something up his sleeve other than his arm. We will wait and see, won't we?

"He's starting to run out of time to get it practiced, but I've always said once you have a style as a coach and it works for you, you usually stick with it. So it's going to be a big move if he changes. We will wait and see."

Hansen added: "We're sitting here, we've finished for the weekend, we've come out with no injuries, so we get to sit down and get really excited about what's ahead of us. You wait 12 years for the Lions to come around so you don't want to miss it.

"We get to watch them play the New Zealand Maori side, who will throw the kitchen sink at them, so it will be a big game for the Lions again. Then all the banter is out of the way. I can't wait.

"I've been here since 2004 and every year we get told we're going to be targeted at the set-piece. We will look forward to it, we'll get ourselves ready for it and hopefully we will match them, or be better."