'I'm a little bit anxious' - Former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick says Lions squad a formidable one

Fitzy says having watched the players consistently while living in Europe has him on edge for the All Blacks’ chances in the tour. Source: 1 NEWS

The Kiwi coach says it's important the Lions players 'get an understanding of NZ, the people, their humour'. Source: 1 NEWS

The former ABs captain doesn’t think the Lions will leave New Zealand winless. Source: Breakfast



Warren Gatland to prepare Lions players for Kiwi culture by making them watch Taika Waititi's Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Warren Gatland has said now that his Lions squad has been announced, preparations for the upcoming tour of New Zealand won't be solely on the practice field with a couple of Kiwi films needing to be watched as well. 

Gatland said that while the team is there for rugby, the Lions, who last toured here in 2005, need to earn the respect of the New Zealand public and the best way to do that would be to better understand us.

"Getting things right in terms of the community stuff, off-the-field and playing positive rugby," Gatland said today.

The Lions coach says the unique rivalry began when he took his son to the third Test at Eden Park in 2005 – with both an All Blacks and Lions jersey. Source: 1 NEWS

"A lot of teams that arrive in New Zealand, and I saw this in [the 2011 Rugby World Cup] weren't prepared for the stuff off the field. They weren't culturally and that's important."

Gatland said one key off-field area they would address would be Maori customs and powhiri procedures where a "couple of singing lessons" would probably be needed.

But the New Zealand-born Lions coach also wants his side to appreciate the broader culture in New Zealand and hopes some classic Kiwi films could be perfect case studies for the team to look at.

"I said to the staff and I'll say to the players, I think we'll watch a couple of New Zealand films," he said.

Gatland thought Taika Waititi's Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople were both top examples as well as Whale Rider.

"It kind of gives you an understanding of New Zealand, the people, the humour which is a little bit different, and if you can understand New Zealand - the intensity of the place and the opposition - I think it makes us potentially that bit better prepared."

"I'm not sure 'Once were Warriors' is the best example of New Zealand though."

The Kiwi coach says it's important the Lions players 'get an understanding of NZ, the people, their humour'. Source: 1 NEWS

TODAY'S
FEATURED STORIES

Borthwick feels Dylan Hartley's pain after Lions snub

As a previous England captain overlooked by the British and Irish Lions, Steve Borthwick can feel Dylan Hartley's pain, but he expects the hooker to get over the omission with his usual resilience.

England's NZ-born hooker Dylan Hartley Source: Photosport

Borthwick, who felt the anguish of missing out on the 2009 tour of South Africa, had a say in the decision to leave Hartley off the plane to his native New Zealand.

The Lions squad has been announced. Now it gets down to the business of preparing to face the All Blacks. Source: 1 NEWS

The Northampton player, who missed the last Lions tour to Australia in 2013 after when he was suspended after being selected, must now focus on club and country, with England's tour to Argentina overlapping with the Lions in June.

"He will be undoubtedly very, very disappointed by it but the thing about Dylan, one thing that's really struck me, is just how resilient he is," Borthwick told reporters after the 41-man squad was announced today.

"He's bounced back from a lot of things, he's a strong character. And I've no doubt that's exactly what he will do now," added the forwards coach.

Rotorua-born Hartley led England to back-to-back Six Nations titles after missing the 2015 Rugby World Cup when Stuart Lancaster dropped him following another suspension.

He has a lengthy disciplinary record, being banned in the past for a total of more than a year for offences including eye-gouging, biting and verbally abusing referees.

But Eddie Jones put his faith in him to captain England last year and Hartley played a big part in the team's resurgence after a humiliating World Cup exit.

The former ABs captain doesn’t think the Lions will leave New Zealand winless. Source: Breakfast

"He's a top quality player. We had to find what we believe are the right players to select," said Borthwick, who had a close view of him through his role as England assistant coach.

"Throughout the whole squad there are going to be top quality players who missed out on selection because talent is that great now. So we are trying to get the right blend of players for what we need.

"We believe we've got three hookers there that are the right ones that we need to play the rugby we want to in New Zealand," he added.

Hartley's understudy Jamie George, who spent most of the Six Nations coming on for Hartley around the hour mark, got the nod alongside Ireland captain Rory Best and Ken Owens of Wales.