Steve Hansen: Expectation will weigh heavily on the British and Irish Lions
Recap: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen talks Sam Whitelock, and the Lions.
All Blacks coach Steve Hansen believes the weight of expectation on the Lions to win could be a telling factor when the British and Irish team tours New Zealand in June and July.
Hansen fronted media on Thursday morning after the Lions squad was named overnight and said while the team looked good on paper, how they performed under pressure could be a deciding factor in the three test series.
"It's going to be a very good side and they'll come with a lot of expectation, which I think is going to be interesting to see how they cope with that. A lot more expectation than they've been used to because people expect them to win," Hansen said.
The All Blacks coach was not surprised by the squad selected by coach Warren Gatland.
* Gatland: We'll win respect back
* Lions: Old coach, captain but a new cowboy
* Reason: Scots unfairly ignored
* Pride in their Lion: Halfpenny happiness
* Beauden Barrett no liability against Lions
* O'Driscoll shock at Scotland snub
"It's pretty much what you'd expect from Warren [Gatland]," Hansen said.
"He likes his big ball carriers in the middle of the park and his big grunty forwards so that's what he's picked and I'd expect we'll get a similar game-style to whatever we've got when we've played a Warren Gatland team," Hansen said.
Hansen did not believe the Lions would bring an expansive game to New Zealand.
"I think they'll tell us they will, but I think they will want to win up front first," he said.
Hansen believed this Lions squad was the best in recent memory.
"I think this is the best British and Irish Lions that we've seen come here for a long, long time," Hansen said.
"There is depth all the way through, that's why people like [Dylan] Hartley and some of the Scottish boys have missed out because there's so much depth.
"You've only got to look at the five-eighths. A guy like Finn Russell's been playing extremely well and can't even make the team because they've got Sexton, Farrell and Biggar there, you've also got young Ford missing out."
Asked about the absence of England captain Hartley, Hansen hinted he might have opted for the New Zealand-born hooker.
"The guy who has the last say is usually the guy that is coaching them. I think (Hartley) would have been an asset but I'm not picking the team."
He hinted that Hurricanes back Jordie Barrett - brother of Beauden - was well in the reckoning for a place in the 33-man squad for the three-test Lions series.
"He's playing pretty good so ... he's thereabouts," Hansen told reporters.
"He's been playing well. We took him away on the tour last year for a reason and he's come back and shown that that's been worthwhile."
Nor did he seem overly concerned Beauden Barrett was no goalkicking for Hurricanes, provided he was practicing.