Friday, 20 October, 2017

All Blacks' skills, set piece will challenge Lions -Rennie

Vera Richards | 21 June, 2017, 02:31

While most of the Lions starters for the Test against New Zealand will not play in this game against the Chiefs, it will be an opportunity for players in the squad to make a case for themselves and give Warren Gatland a selection headache or two ahead of the big match on Saturday.

THE 2017 British & Irish Lions tour of New Zealand has been something of a stop-start affair.

Warren Gatland's claim that New Zealand deliberately block opponents off the ball was meant to level the playing field for Saturday's first Test, but it has already had a positive impact.

"I can understand why Warren Gatland has done what he has", McGeechan said.

The Lions have been criticized on tour for a lack of attacking enterprise but they showed against the Chiefs that they have outstanding passing and running skills They first established full control up front before allowing players such as Nowell, Daly and fullback Liam Williams to show their true attacking flair. "It'll be a tough contest but we're looking forward to it".

Asked how he would feel if O'Mahony led the Lions against the All Blacks, Farrell replied: "I'd be more than comfortable".

It didn't happen, but we are pretty satisfied.

The British and Irish Lions have won their second game on the trot with a 34-6 win over the Chiefs in Hamilton this evening.

The Chiefs put the penalty to the corner, only for CJ Stander to force a choke tackle at the maul.

Sam Warburton is the tour captain, while Alun Wyn Jones was considered the most likely second option as skipper at the start of the tour if his Wales team-mate was unavailable or not selected. Meanwhile, Farrell confirmed his son Owen and Leigh Halfpenny - who is recovering from a head knock - are set to be fit for the first Test.

The All Blacks coach predicted Gatland's call for reinforcements and has also hinted at a possible fracture in the Lions. The off-the-ball stuff, it makes it hard to complete attacking opportunities and situations because there is so much happening off the ball in terms of holding players or subtly holding players.

The Lions boss has already stirred up a hornets' nest by labelling the All Blacks cheats over illegal blocking. Instead he revealed the referees had actually raised the matter first. We came here tonight to mix it up.

Gatland believes Exeter wing Nowell's upswing in performance echoed that of a number of the men who triumphed in Hamilton.

"But he is a player who is prolific in terms of getting his hands on the ball, and he showed that when he scored his tries".

"I was pleased to see him play well and I thought Elliot looked sharp and Liam".

"It was a combination that looked pretty unsafe and pretty potent".

Tuesday's match against the Chiefs will have little impact on the Lions' test preparation, unless they suffer a third midweek defeat which will affect the mood in the touring camp.

"When they settle on combinations and so on it will be an exciting series", Rennie said. That's what the All Blacks have been very good at over the last period of time. "There had been a few doubts about that recently, but I think that's gone".

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