Jonathan Joseph raring to go ahead of Highlanders showdown
Last Updated: 13/06/17 7:52am
Lions centre Jonathan Joseph says Tuesday's match against Highlanders is a great chance to enhance his claims for a Test place - and pay back Warren Gatland into the bargain.
The Bath and England man was reportedly only included in the 41-man squad because head coach Gatland demanded his inclusion in last-minute selection meetings.
Joseph got the nod ahead of the likes of Ireland's Garry Ringrose and, having been hampered by jet-lag in the tour-opening win over Provincial Barbarians, he says he is now raring to go for Tuesday's Dunedin encounter.
Asked if it is time to repay Lions boss Gatland, Joseph replied: "Yeah for sure, I owe him a lot. I want to prove myself on the big stage and there's no better place to do it.
"I'm up for the challenge and I'll do everything I can to put in a good performance. If it doesn't happen, it doesn't happen, but I have to give myself the best shot."
Highlanders v Lions in focus
After a triumph in Christchurch, the Lions now head to Dunedin to face the Highlanders
Battle for the Test berth at outside centre is sure to be intense, with Wales' Jonathan Davies having already impressed.
Joseph said: "Obviously it's going to be down to Gats (Gatland) at the end of the day.
"There are people who are playing very well and that's what these games are for, to put your best foot forward.
"That's what certain individuals are doing and that's what I'm going to try to do, with the opportunity to play in this game. It gives me a great chance to try to do that.
"The first game wasn't an ideal situation, but that's part and parcel of being on this tour.
"It's going to be tough throughout but I feel fresh now and have a good two weeks under my belt, in terms of training. I'm really excited about Tuesday's challenge.
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"You are not completely ready [when jet-lagged]. We are professional players and we take our preparation very seriously.
"Usually, every single player would get a week's preparation for each game, but we were three days after a long flight going into that game. So it was tough but now there are no excuses.
"We are all fully ready, we know what to expect, and we know what we're going to bring as well."