Lions coach Neil Jenkins has called on the unfortunate players not involved in Test selection to still play their part ahead of the first clash with the Springboks.
The players were set to find out who will be in the Test team to face South Africa today, in a team meeting between their two training sessions this afternoon.
That will mean some players who suffer bitter disappointment will immediately be thrown into a training session to help prepare Warren Gatland’s chosen 23.
And they’ll then have to help prepare the side for the rest of the week ahead of the first Test in Cape Town.
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With the tour now getting into the business end, Jenkins admitted that the coaches would be gauging how the unfortunate players had reacted – but their commitment would still be required despite their disappointment.
“There’ll be some good chats with players that are not involved,” said Jenkins.
“That’ll probably be from Gats and the coaches. Of course, there’ll be coaches and staff keeping a close eye on people, there’s no doubting that.
“It’s human nature. If you’re not involved in a Test team, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s common sense.
“But on the other hand, you’re in a squad and an environment where you’ve got to pull yourself together quickly and get back on the training pitch to prepare the Test side as well as possible.
“It is a two-way thing. Some players will be involved, some won’t.
“It’s important that the training is of a high standard and high quality and we prepare the boys as best as we can.”
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While Jenkins admitted the quick turnaround wouldn’t be easy, it’s something that heavily draws from Sir Ian McGeechan’s ideals of a ‘perfect tourist’.
The former coach, who led the Lions to a series victory in South Africa in 1997, called Jason Leonard his best tourist because of how he responded to missing out on selection to help those who were picked ahead of him.
Jenkins will be hoping for similar this week.
“It’s not easy,” he added.
“I’ve been there before. You’re a regular for your country. You can come here and not play a Test match. That’s the reality of it.
“You’ve got to focus your mind and prepare the team as best as you possibly can. I think the boys will do that no matter who is in or out.”
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