New Zealand vs British and Irish Lions

July 07 05:03 2017

The Lions were easily beaten by the All Blacks in the first Test but claimed victory in the second.

“I am definitely expecting a reaction, similar to the one we had in the second Test after the first Test defeat”, Warburton said.

Jordie Barrett, 20, makes first start for New Zealand.

“And I think Laumape is an even bigger surprise for me because a lot of people just presumed when Fekitoa was recalled to the squad, he’d start alongside Lienert-Brown”.

However, both of those successes will be trumped if the Lions can find a way to beat the All Blacks on Saturday. Those left out have quickly got over the non-selection and are supporting the players who will take the field.

It was a straightforward decision for Gatland as he rewarded the players who dug deep to chalk up a win in the last minutes in Wellington.

Gatland’s side has been in double figures for conceding penalties in the first two tests and has to improve that.

‘Much more complicated is that if we don’t have a Lions tour, the entire reciprocal arrangement between north and south falls apart.

Explaining Smith’s absence, Hansen added: “What he does have is an inner ear malfunction, which is causing him to get a bit of vertigo and dizziness”.

Team New Zealand’s Peter Burling met the team in the Eden Park changing room, the young skipper, 26, drawing spontaneous applause from the crowd on the eve of the 31-year-old Read’s biggest test at a different sort of helm.

Gatland admitted the Lions had been exposed to a faster pace of game in New Zealand and at times struggled with the speed and skill execution of local players, but thought those lessons could only improve the game back in Europe. I suspect this series would already be over if both had played last weekend, regardless of Sonny Bill Williams’ red card. He was terse and defensive with the assembled media early on, with a series of one-word answers, quipping that after the 2019 Rugby World Cup, he may retire to an isolated beach and put his feet up.

The pack is unchanged with skipper Kieran Read set to become the seventh All Blacks centurion, while Aaron Cruden and Charlie Faumuina will win their 50th caps if introduced from the bench.

Lions: 15-Liam Williams, 14-Anthony Watson, 13-Jonathan Davies, 12-Owen Farrell, 11-Elliot Daly, 10-Jonathan Sexton, 9-Conor Murray, 8-Taulupe Faletau, 7-Sean O’Brien, 6-Sam Warburton (captain), 5-Alun Wyn Jones, 4-Maro Itoje, 3-Tadhg Furlong, 2-Jamie George, 1-Mako Vunipola. Samuel Whitelock (87) 6. A similar lack of control this week will nearly certainly cost them dear, particularly with Barrett’s younger brother, Jordie, who is making his Test debut, providing another kicking option from full-back. Reps: K Owens, J McGrath, K Sinckler, C Lawes, CJ Stander, R Webb, B Te’o, J Nowell.

And then there is Julian Savea who, until Thursday morning, had perhaps been the unluckiest All Black this series. In moving into fly-half for the closing quarter, Barrett took control of the game and helped drive the Hurricanes to the brink of victory.

British & Irish Lions coach Warren Gatland oversees training ahead of the third and final Test against New Zealand at Eden Park on Saturday. Peter Parks  AFP

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